A man that took command of a room without saying a word, even if the US did not like what he said or did, some still cheered him on despite the controversy. Some gave up on him early on, but he proved them all wrong. He was the greatest the world had seen. He was always going against the norm, and silenced his critics by proving them wrong time and again in the ring. Even now at a time when being muslim is a word that brings on fear and hate in the US, they will still honor his memory and life.
ttp://www.cbc.ca/sportslongform/entry/muhamma ... nst-racism
With blistering hand speed and dancer's feet, Clay turned boxing orthodoxy on its ear. He held his hands at his waist, pulled straight back from punches, and rarely hit his opponent to the midsection.
He penned rhyming poems with boastful predictions about his eventual victory, making sure to remark on his ‘pretty’ face after his wins. He riffed on a nonsensical directive, the beginning of which is now part of the lexicon: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee ."
The anchor punch, the Rope-a-Dope. The Rabbit, The Big Ugly Bear, The Washer Woman. He nicknamed tactics and opponents. But something serious was stirring inside for Clay. He was a national figure, but without the same rights as the average white man. Reporters were barely over the shock of 7-to-1 underdog forcing Liston to quit in their 1964 bout when the winner was confirming the next day that he was a Muslim. He regaled the press while walking in Harlem with Malcolm X, the charismatic minister of the Nation of Islam.
Ali didn't seek pity in his later years. He spoke of his illness as a trial from Allah, and an example of the type of spiritual journey everyone must undertake.
"Someone wrote that I stayed in the game too long and what I loved ended up destroying me," he said. "But if I could do it all again, I would do it exactly the same. Whatever I suffered physically was worth what I have accomplished in life.”
As for his legacy?
"I'd settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and a champion of his people. And I wouldn't even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was."