Saying Goodbye to “The Greatest”


Saying Goodbye to “The Greatest”

by Amy Lignor


Tributes came pouring in from all around the world these past few days, as the United States hung their heads to say so long to Muhammed Ali, a man who was most assuredly, “The Greatest.”


Muhammed Ali, greatest boxer, touching tributes, RIP, legend, strength and courage, Parkinson's diseaseName one. From leaders all over the free world to a wealth of athletes – some who were lucky enough to be in Ali’s circle of friends while he was alive; others who looked up to him as a goal to be reached in the boxing world – said their goodbyes. And then…those “regular” folk, who went from Twitter to Facebook and beyond, remembering the greatest boxer to have lived thus far, offering touching tributes as they gave their condolences to Ali’s family and told the man to rest in peace.


Even President Obama spoke about Ali’s passing. He and his wife stated how sorry they were and how much Ali will be missed, but went on to say that they were also “grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that ‘The Greatest’ chose to grace our time.” The President is certainly a huge fan of Ali’s; he even displays a pair of Ali’s gloves in his private study off the Oval Office, sitting beneath a photo of the legend.


But Obama was not the only one who stated this weekend that Ali “fought for us.” Ali was known far and wide for his level of strength and courage. Like King and Mandela, Ali was a man who spoke out when others were too scared to speak. His battle outside the ring was on a level much more difficult than when he fought inside it. His fight for justice and civil rights cost him his title and his public standing, the latter only for a time.


Ali’s was a large life. He was bold, and made sure that when he said he would do something, he came through. Don King, the boxing promoter, was another who had something to say. Going on CNN, King said that Ali will never die; not in his mind, anyway. “His spirit will go on forever,” King reflected. “He’s just a great human being, a champion of the people, the greatest of all time.”


Watching Ali battle Parkinson’s disease was difficult for his fans, yet it never seemed that Ali lost his sass, intellect or smile for one single second. He remained the most significant heavyweight in the history of the sport of boxing. Anyone who loves the sport, or the man, will remember his most controversial moments, and smile to themselves at the promises he made…and kept.


Granted the title “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC, Ali also wrote bestsellers about his time and career, including one of the most famous, “The Greatest: My Own Story and The Soul of a Butterfly.”


From the age of twelve, Ali wanted to be a boxer and began his training to earn the championship. And at only 22, he claimed that world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in 1964, in the most stunning boxing upset ever to be witnessed.


It was three years later that Ali refused to become part of the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Eventually arrested and found guilty for draft evasion, he was stripped of his hard-earned boxing title. Almost four years went by before Ali’s appeal made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in 1971, his conviction was overturned. Not only was he free to fight once again in the ring, but his battle and eventual victory made him one of the largest icons for a generation that could not stand the idea of America at war.


Now, at the time of his death, Ali remains the one and only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion, winning the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Earning the nickname, “The Greatest,” Ali will always be remembered, in particular, for four stellar, amazing matches. The Liston fight, three versus Joe Frazier, and that “Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman.


Thus, millions say goodbye to Ali this weekend. Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016, rest in peace.


You will be missed.

Source:  Baret News


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