Archives pour la catégorie Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali : More than a hero

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In 1981 Muhammad Ali saved a suicidal man who was threatening to jump out to kill hilself of a ninth-floor window in Los Angeles.

The situation was looking pretty grim, police officers couldn’t talk him down, and the crowd was chanting for the man to jump. Things could’ve taken a grisly turn if Muhammad Ali hadn’t come running up. He was across the street when he was told about the jumper. Without a moment’s hesitation, Ali hurried to the building and offered his assistance. Desperate, the police were willing to give anything a try, but they warned Ali that the young man might have a gun. The champ just shrugged. It was a risk he was willing to take.

Ali got as close as possible to the jumper, sticking his head out of a nearby window. The young man was shocked to see the world’s most famous athlete show up out of nowhere. “It’s really you!” he shouted. Over the next 30 minutes, Ali talked to the young man about his difficult home life and struggles to find a job. “You’re my brother,” Ali responded. “I love you, and I wouldn’t lie to you.”

Ali convinced the youth to unlock the door leading to the fire escape and finally led the young man safely down the stairs and into his Rolls-Royce limo. The boxer then escorted the man to a hospital and promised to help him build a better future. “Saving a life is more important to me than winning a world championship,” Ali said afterward. Then he got the man a job and an apartment and stayed in touch with him for years.

 

 

11 things that you may not know about Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

f8fa0fea81dc68ef13829996865a794a1) Muhammad Ali was originally named Cassius Clay in honor of a nineteenth-century white farmer and abolitionist who emancipated the forty slaves he inherited from his father.

2) The thing that motivated him to become a boxer was his beloved bicycle. When it got stolen in 1954,  12 year old Ali reported the theft to a policeman who gave boxing lessons at a local community center. The officer, who was also a boxing trainer, suggested that Ali learn how to fight, and six weeks later Ali won his first amateur boxing match by a split decision.

3) He never turns down an autograph request.As a young boy, Cassius Clay asked his idol, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson for an autograph. Robinson rudely told the boy « I don’t got time. » Young Cassius never forgot how hurt he was by Robinson’s rejection.

4) Demonstrating his newfound conversion to the Nation of Islam and friendship with Malcolm X in February of 1964, Cassius Clay announced that he was revoking his “slave” surname and dubbed himself “Cassius X before becoming Muhammad Ali.

5) In 1967, during the Vietnam War, the heavyweight champion was not only arrested, but in addition the New York State Athletic Commission immediately suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. Ali was convicted of draft evasion, fined $10,000 and sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison. He remained free though while the conviction was appealed. In 1970 the New York State Supreme Court ordered his boxing license reinstated, and after 3 years Ali returned to the ring by knocking out Jerry Quarry in October 1970.

6) It was learned, many years after the fact, that there was also a secret war against Ali taking place behind the scenes. Declassified National Security Agency files showed that Ali was one of several individuals spied on during what was called “Operation Minaret.”
7) Ali was known for talking trash. He even composed his own verses in which he taunted his opponents and praised himself. People at Columbia Records were so impressed by his taunts that they decided to release a 1963 spoken-word album called I Am the Greatest, in which the twenty-one-year-old performed his “trash talking,” backed my musical accompaniment.
8) In 1975, Ali was watching the news on TV and a story came on about an elderly community that was closing because it didn’t have enough money. The next day the boxing champ went to the center and wrote a $100,000 check to keep the community center from closing. He also secretly gave a diamond ring worth thousands of dollars to a little girl in a wheelchair and routinely gave $100 bills to impoverished people he met on the streets.

9) He was  involved in charitable work and philanthropy around the world, he also fought multiple times abroad. Ali fought 15 of his 56 professional bouts outside the United States, including his famous 1974 « Rumble in the Jungle » match against George Foreman in Zaire.

10) He Saved 15 Hostages From Saddam Hussein in 1990. After Hussein invaded Kuwait, he took 15 public hostages as a human shield against what he thought would be an inevitable United States invasion. Against the public attacks of the George H.W. Bush administration, Muhammad Ali flew into Iraq in an attempt to free the hostages. Hussein made Ali wait a week before even meeting with him, but eventually the leader spoke to the humanitarian boxer and allowed him to bring the 15 hostages home not because  Hussein was such a big boxing fan, but because he respected that Ali had spoken out against the oppression and hypocrisies of the American government in the 1960s.

11) Since 2013, the Muhammad Ali Center in Ali’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, honors him with the “Three Days of Greatness.

 

 

10 Things that you may not know about Muhammad Ali

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1. A red-and-white Schwinn bicycle launched his boxing career.
When the 12-year-old Clay’s beloved bicycle was stolen in October 1954, he reported the theft to Louisville, Kentucky, police officer Joe Martin and vowed to pummel the culprit. Martin, who was also a boxing trainer, suggested that the upset youngster first learn how to fight, and he took Clay under his wing. Six weeks later, Clay won his first bout in a split decision.

2. He was originally named in honor of a white abolitionist.
The fighter, like his father, was named for Cassius Marcellus Clay, a 19th-century farmer and anti-slavery crusader who emancipated the 40 slaves he inherited from his father. The abolitionist, a second cousin of Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, edited an anti-slavery newspaper, commanded troops in the Mexican-American War and served as minister to Russia under President Abraham Lincoln. In defying Southern conventions of the time, Clay faced more than death threats. He was beaten, stabbed and shot by political opponents but lived to the age of 92.

3. Before becoming known as Muhammad Ali, he changed his name to Cassius X.
The morning after defeating Liston, the new heavyweight champion confirmed reports that he had become a member of the Nation of Islam. With Malcolm X at his side, the champ told reporters that he had renounced his surname, which he called his “slave name,” and would be known as “Cassius X” until Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad gave the name of Muhammad Ali on March 6, 1964.

4. Ali was banned from boxing for three years.
As the Vietnam War raged in 1967, Ali refused to serve in the U.S. military for religious reasons. The heavyweight champion was arrested, and the New York State Athletic Commission immediately suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. Ali was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison and fined $10,000, although he remained free while the conviction was appealed. In 1970 the New York State Supreme Court ordered his boxing license reinstated, and he returned to the ring by knocking out Jerry Quarry in October 1970. The following year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali’s conviction in a unanimous decision.

5. He never turns down an autograph request
As a young boy, Cassius Clay asked his idol, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson for an autograph. Robinson rudely told the boy « I don’t got time. » Young Cassius never forgot how hurt he was by Robinson’s rejection. To this day, he has never once turned down a request for an autograph. He even has a special P.O. box for anyone who wants his autograph

6. Ali helped give us Rocky.
In 1975, Ali fought a little-known boxer named Chuck Wepner (« The Bayonne Bleeder »). Ali was a heavy favorite, and he did win, but it took him the full 15 rounds to get the decision. Wepner’s courage in going the full distance with the famous world champion inspired a young, unknown writer/actor named Sylvester Stallone to write the screenplay for his classic film Rocky. Rocky’s opponent in the film, Apollo Creed, was based on Ali.

7. He recorded an album of spoken verse.
Muhammad Ali recorded an album for Epic Records in 1964 titled « I Am The Greatest. » The track, « The Gang’s All Here » was produced by Sam Cooke.

8. Ali was the first man to knock down Sonny Liston, George Foreman, and Chuck Wepner.

9. Aside from being a boxer and a singer, Ali also starred himself in a four motion pictures in December 1969 which he took the lead in a Broadway called Buck White.

10. The city of Louisville dedicated Muhammad Ali Boulevard in 1978. Shortly thereafter, twelve of the 70 street signs related to it were stolen, presumably by memorabilia collectors.