ABC Wide World of Sports, Atlanta, boxing, Cassius Clay, George Foreman, Howard Cosell, Jim McKay, Joe Frazier, link, Muhammad Ali, Olympics, Parkinson's, Sonny Liston, Summer games, torch, USA Today, Vietnam war, YouTube
Greetings, readers. Last Friday, June 3, 2016, we lost my all time favorite boxer, the Great Muhammad Ali. Although I am not a huge fan of boxing, I did watch a lot of his fights on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. With Howard Cosell and later Jim McKay at the announcer’s table, it was a pleasure to watch the boxer work his magic. I watched many fights against George Foreman and Joe Frazier, and enjoyed all of them. When Muhammad Ali entered the ring, you knew he was the center of attention. The ring came to life. I’m sure most of his opponents knew that they didn’t stand a chance of victory.
I have an option, readers: to give you a biographical rundown of his career, or to tell you what he meant to me. I chose the latter, with a smattering of the former.
Muhammad Ali won his first heavyweight title under his given name Cassius Clay on February 25, 1964 over then champ Sonny Liston. It was considered an upset. 1964 was one year before I was born. I really didn’t know of Muhammad Ali until I was the age of 8 or so. His career was past its prime, though I was still able to enjoy a good number of his fights. Now with YouTube, I can find any one of them if I look hard enough.
Cassius Clay Jr., for religious reasons, changed his name to Cassius X, and soon after that became Muhammad Ali. After finding Islam, he decided that fighting in the Vietnam War was wrong and he wouldn’t do it. We are linking the article from the USA Today where we confirmed the facts for this blog entry so you can dig deeper if you wish to.
A sad moment for me, I must admit, was at the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in 1994 in Atlanta, when he was handed the torch to light the Olympic flame. Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, the mighty boxer struggled with his hands but lit the torch. He was too proud to quit. I almost cried because I could see how much effort it took for him to accomplish his task. Whether that disease ran in his family or was the result of too many blows to the head, I do not know.
Muhammad Ali, you made me enjoy boxing, you gave it style and class, and you stood up for what you believed in. You will be missed by millions. Rest in peace.
Until next Wednesday, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.