Special Tribute: Mohammed Ali (1942-2016)
Staff Writer, Halal Incorp
Mohammed Ali was born on the 17th of January, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. He was born with the name Cassius Clay. Joe Martin a police officer in Ali’s town inspired him to join a boxing gym at the age of 12 after his bike was stolen. The Champ came to the forefront of boxing when he won a gold medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics. He famously threw the medal into the Ohio River after being refused service at an ‘all white restaurant’. This period in American history was rife with turmoil and saw the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement led by leaders such as Martin Luther King.
Mohammed Ali: The Greatest of All Time (Boxing Documentary)
Ali took his first world title and shot to global fame when he beat Sonny Liston in 1964. Mohammed Ali had a one of the finest careers in sporting history fighting 61 times and winning 56 of these fights. He eventually retired from his beloved sport of boxing in 1981.
The BBC crowned Mohammed Ali the ‘Sports Personality of the Century’. Mohammed Ali joined the non orthodox Nation of Islam Movement, where he met & befriended the great civil rights champion Malcolm X. Both men later in life left the Black Nationalist Movement and converted to mainstream Islam as known by the majority of Muslims worldwide. Mohammed Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam War in 1967 and was stripped of his titles. In 1971 Mohammed Ali was again granted his boxing licence which led him to renter the world of Heavyweight boxing. He later fought some of the best known boxing battles in history with George Foreman & Joe Frazier known as the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ in Congo & ‘The Thrilla in Manila’ held in the Philippines.
The Champ was more than an iconic boxer and legendary sports personality. Ali was a highly gifted oral communicator showcased through his famous poetry, often humorous and full of deep meaning. Ali stood for the black community and civil rights campaigning for justice and equality in a divided America. Ali sadly developed Parkinson’s disease later in life and died following respiratory problems on the 4th June, 2016.
Mohammed Ali was a role model for millions of young people all over the world and his legacy lives on.