R.I.P. Muhammad Ali (January 17th, 1942 – June 3rd, 2016)

R.I.P. Muhammad Ali – This Saturday, June 4th the boxing world awakens for the first time without the great Muhammad Ali. Ali had been hospitalized near his home in Phoenix, Arizona with difficulties breathing on Thursday, June 2nd and he passed away late on Friday evening June 3rd.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on January 17th, 1942 he went on to win the gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics as a light heavyweight. He first won the heavyweight championship of the world on February 25th, 1964 when he upset feared champion Sonny Liston. After the win Clay formally changed his name to Muhammad Ali, setting off a chain of events that saw him go from being the heavyweight champion of the world to one of the iconic figures of the 20th century.

Ali defended the belt nine times before he was stripped of the title for his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War. Ali never wavered from his stance on the war and his conviction and strength of character inspired millions around the world.

Ali returned to boxing after a hiatius of three and a half years and it was in the 1970’s that Ali fought his titanic battles with rivals George Foreman and Joe Frazier, among others. Ali re-captured the world heavyweight title on October 30th, 1974 when he defeated Foreman in a fight that took place in Kinsasha, Zaire (now the Congo) with the eyes of the entire world watching. Ali did the impossible, defeating the dominant Foreman with his now famous “rope-a-dope” strategy. Ten more title defenses followed, and when he lost the belt to Leon Spinks in February of 1978, he would return to take it back after seven short months. That win makes Ali the only three time lineal heavyweight champion in boxing history.

Through it all, Ali carried himself with a confidence that had never been seen before. He will be remembered as “The Greatest,” a nickname he gave himself, famously saying “I said I was the greatest even before I knew I was.” That the nickname, born of bombast when he was at the peak of his boxing powers, stuck, is a testament to the man and his enduring legacy.

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Syndrome in 1984, three years after his final bout. He would live the rest of his life as a beloved public figure while battling the deterioration that comes with the disease. 

Muhammad Ali is survived by his nine children and Lonnie, his fourth wife. Today, the entire world will reflect on the life that just passed. We here at The Sweet Science want to say “Thank You, Muhammad” on this sad day.

Read author Thomas Hauser’s poem paying homage to the legendary Ali.

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COMMENTS

-Kid Blast :

May his God grant him the eternal rest and peace he so richly deserves.


-teaser :

" I SHOOK UP THE WORLD " and peacefully at that RIP Champ


-teaser :

[URL="https://youtu.be/HsDH9SXKZtI">https://youtu.be/HsDH9SXKZtI[/URL] puts it all in perspective


-vjoe :

always knew this day was coming, but it doesn't make it any easier. in our thoughts and prayers....perhaps the greatest sports figure of all time. Ali, may you rest in eternal peace.


-oubobcat :

I am too young to have seen Ali fight live but relived many many fights on ESPN classic. My favorite that I have watched time and time again is the victory over Sonny Liston to win the heavyweight championship. In so many ways, he was the Greatest. RIP Champ.


-KO Digest :

Proud to have shared the planet with him for 46 years.


-ArneK. :

On the story we published Friday Night -- "Muhammad Ali is in Grave Condition" -- regular contributor brownsugar replied with an interesting observation. He wrote: "I have a ton of his documentaries, I've never seen a man with more film stock, it's like he was under constant surveillance......." All very true, but there was obviously a private side to Ali, even in his prime, to which reporters, photographers, and documentarians were not privy. Of the few white men in Ali's inner circle, none were closer to him than his former business manager Gene Kilroy who transitioned into a career as a Las Vegas casino host. Playing devil's advocate, I used to get Kilroy's dander up by dredging up an opinion once commonly heard that Muhammad Ali was a racist. Kilroy's angry retort was that he had witnessed many acts of kindness by Ali that proved otherwise -- acts of kindness that were outside the gaze of the media. When Ali was inspired to visit a hospital, said Kilroy, he did it on the sly, taking with him only a few close confidantes. At a hospital, said Kilroy, Ali's compassion was color-blind. He was kind to everyone. He had a special place in his heart for those that were hurting. I plan to catch up with Kilroy in a few hours and extract more of his memories.


-ForumAdmin :

My first recollection of Ali was his loss to Spinks, which came when I was 8 years old. I do remember the D-Con roach commercials. It makes it very hard to write about Arnie, so those very personal stories you are reaching for are like gold!


-KO Digest :

Because of Rocky, Ali would sometimes come to my hometown of Brockton. He'd be at George's Restaurant and I'd always try to go see him there.


-Domenic :

On the story we published Friday Night -- "Muhammad Ali is in Grave Condition" -- regular contributor brownsugar replied with an interesting observation. He wrote: "I have a ton of his documentaries, I've never seen a man with more film stock, it's like he was under constant surveillance......." All very true, but there was obviously a private side to Ali, even in his prime, to which reporters, photographers, and documentarians were not privy. Of the few white men in Ali's inner circle, none were closer to him than his former business manager Gene Kilroy who transitioned into a career as a Las Vegas casino host. Playing devil's advocate, I used to get Kilroy's dander up by dredging up an opinion once commonly heard that Muhammad Ali was a racist. Kilroy's angry retort was that he had witnessed many acts of kindness by Ali that proved otherwise -- acts of kindness that were outside the gaze of the media. When Ali was inspired to visit a hospital, said Kilroy, he did it on the sly, taking with him only a few close confidantes. At a hospital, said Kilroy, Ali's compassion was color-blind. He was kind to everyone. He had a special place in his heart for those that were hurting. I plan to catch up with Kilroy in a few hours and extract more of his memories.
I just heard Gene Kilroy in an interview while driving (it was foxsports, I think). Ali sacrificed his PRIME years, after Cleveland Williams, for a cause he believed in. And he did it at a time when that decision was extremely unpopular (understatement). I wasn't alive then but imagine if he'd been active those years?


-Kid Blast :

Hero's tend to sacrifice for the sake of others. There are not that many hero's. Ali was a hero IMO


-KO Digest :

Memorial Day 2016 gave me time to pause and consider what the Civil War really meant. I re-watched Glory. I read some books. I thought about what Union soldiers fought and died for. As an Army Vet who always fully supported Ali's right to have refused induction, I gained a new perspective on the ultimate sacrifice that was paid in blood so that a young Cassius Clay could be born in freedom, free to become the great Muhammad Ali. I can now better understand why some Americans were VERY UPSET with Ali for refusing "to do his duty" for America, especially considering how much had truly been done for him and his freedom. Bostonian Civil War soldier Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, writing home to his mother: "We fight for men and women whose poetry is not yet written but which will presently be as enviable and as renowned as any." One of those men was Muhammad Ali. The great American poet of pugilism. Shaw fell in battle so that Ali could live in freedom.


-SouthPawFlo :

The Greatest and Most Influential Athlete of all times.... He is one of the rare Athletes who made a bigger impact for what he did/said outside of sports....


-King Beef :

One of the Greatest inside and outside that ring!


-Kid Blast :

He was the quintessential "Peck's Bad Boy." There was no way you could not like him. He was, as Brown Sugar says, "FUN." But then, when you peeled the onion, the complexity revealed itself on so many levels.


-Shoulder Roll Defense :

The greatest athlete of the modern era. Will there ever be another Ali inside or outside of the ring? Inside of the ring, he had all the physical tools and more importantly the intangibles (heart, intelligence, etc.) that made him great. Outside of the ring he was a champion of social justice and equality. He wasn't afraid to die for what he believed in and for that the world fell in love with him. My heart is heavy right now, but I find comfort in the fact that his spirit lives on in everyone that he touched. RIP champ, one love!


-Chris L :

The greatest athlete of the modern era. Will there ever be another Ali inside or outside of the ring? Inside of the ring, he had all the physical tools and more importantly the intangibles (heart, intelligence, etc.) that made him great. Outside of the ring he was a champion of social justice and equality. He wasn't afraid to die for what he believed in and for that the world fell in love with him. My heart is heavy right now, but I find comfort in the fact that his spirit lives on in everyone that he touched. RIP champ, one love!
Saw a great quote earlier; something along the lines of 'Ali isn't once in a lifetime sort of character, he's a once in a history', couldn't agree with it more.


-Yogo :

We were all very fortunate to live at the same time as the man. He'll never die as long as humans are here. RIP GOAT xxx


-Kid Blast :

Muhammad Ali, Shortest Poem Ever Written, "Me? Whee!"


-Kid Blast :

Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. From NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY — by Robert Frost


-Radam G :

A wonderful friendship between two of the GOATS in the last 50 years of pugilism. Maybe one and two among heavyweights.
->https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj3IdV_KELU. Holla!


-deepwater2 :

A wonderful friendship between two of the GOATS in the last 50 years of pugilism. Maybe one and two among heavyweights.
->https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj3IdV_KELU. Holla!
Too bad Ali didn't make a friendship with smoking Joe. Poor Joe turned biter after all the Uncle Tom stuff.


-Radam G :

Too bad Ali didn't make a friendship with smoking Joe. Poor Joe turned biter after all the Uncle Tom stuff.
Maybe they are hookin' up in heaven. And that terrible past of theirs is now squashed. The late, great Smoke misinterpreted what the late, great Butterfly was calling him. Poppa Smoke thought that Pops Butterfly was calling him "a peeping tom." Legend says that during the period that the GOAT was not allowed to scrap, he and the Smoke would meet up and driving around. And they both had the quick eyes for the fast women. But the Butterfly would sneak a peep while the Smoke would stare as if it were his last time seeing that eye candy. When GOAT Ali finally made a comeback and started talking ish to the Smoke, the Smoke -- in his own words -- was pi$$ed off more because of being thought of as a perverted peeping tom because he knew that he was not an Uncle Tom and had spoke up for "Ali's religious rights." "I just wanted to get him back in that ring so I could whup his butt," the late great Poppa Smoke said. "I got peeping tom and Uncle Tom mixed up...." Holla!


-amayseng :

I am still at a loss, though I did find comfort in what his daughter said about being free from his disease. There is peace in the next life, in that aspect I am happy for him. Though wow, watching many videos this past week really refreshed what an absolute powerhouse he was out of the ring, such charisma and charm, no one did it better. Hopefully Joe Frazier welcomes him with a left hook, then a hug.


-Radam G :

I am still at a loss, though I did find comfort in what his daughter said about being free from his disease. There is peace in the next life, in that aspect I am happy for him. Though wow, watching many videos this past week really refreshed what an absolute powerhouse he was out of the ring, such charisma and charm, no one did it better. Hopefully Joe Frazier welcomes him with a left hook, then a hug.
Hehehe! You got jokes! But I can definitely picture Poppa Smoke welcoming Pops Butterfly through those Pearly Gates with "a left (and) then a hug" and a long song. In their heydays, "the Smoke and the Butterfly," as the late, great "Smokin' Joe Frazier used to refer to himself and his boksing adversary, the late, great GOAT Muhammad Ali, sang their arses off. They even cut records that did aight on the song charts. Holla!


-Radam G :

And no doubt that Unkee Howard Cosell is going to be announcing to all the angels and saints and those that have departed from this realm that the champ has arrived. Holla!


-Radam G :

Maybe they are hookin' up in heaven. And that terrible past of theirs is now squashed. The late, great Smoke misinterpreted what the late, great Butterfly was calling him. Poppa Smoke thought that Pops Butterfly was calling him "a peeping tom." Legend says that during the period that the GOAT was not allowed to scrap, he and the Smoke would meet up and driving around. And they both had the quick eyes for the fast women. But the Butterfly would sneak a peep while the Smoke would stare as if it were his last time seeing that eye candy. When GOAT Ali finally made a comeback and started talking ish to the Smoke, the Smoke -- in his own words -- was pi$$ed off more because of being thought of as a perverted peeping tom because he knew that he was not an Uncle Tom and had spoke up for "Ali's religious rights." "I just wanted to get him back in that ring so I could whup his butt," the late great Poppa Smoke said. "I got peeping tom and Uncle Tom mixed up...." Holla!
At the end of this link, Poppa Smoke tells how he thought that Pops Butterfly was calling him a peeping tom.
->https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6igy7hmildM. Holla!