Muhammad Ali was the greatest. Period.
He was not only the greatest champion in boxing history, but also he was a person who was honest, sometimes to the point where he suffered consequences.
He was a revolutionary of freedom, he was an icon, and idol — a role model.
He was Muhammad Ali.
Many people are saying that he was arrogant and disrespectful, but that is something that makes Ali special compared to the others. Even today, many professional athletes like to trash talk, but nobody does it like the former heavyweight champion.
When he was ordered to go to Vietnam, he said no. When he was not allowed to enter a restaurant because of the color of his skin, he also said no.
All the hate towards him was just a motive to work even harder to become the greatest athlete of all time.
He didn’t allow for small people, as he liked to call them, to bring him down. He was fed off their hatred towards him.
When his bike was stolen when he was just a boy, young Cassius wanted to learn to fight so that he could whip the guy who took something that meant so much.
“You better learn to fight before you start fightin'”, Joe Martin, Ali’s first coach told him. He was the police officer to whom Ali reported that his bike was stolen.
After that, everything is history.
Until Muhammad Ali showed up, boxing was a second rate sport. This was because of many fixed matches and deaths in the ring — it was discredited.
And then he came and changed everything.
His moves in the ring quickly amazed all the spectators. And his press conferences were the most interesting events at that time.
After becoming a champion, he converted to Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. Although many people condemned him, he gained more fans than critics.
Muhammad Ali was enthusiastic while fighting for African-American rights in America and, because of that, he became an icon.
After he won a Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in 1960 in Rome, Italy, Ali tossed it into the Ohio river because he had experienced racial discrimination.
During his three and a half year suspension, Ali displayed extraordinary strength of will, and he came out of it stronger.
Most people would just back out and crack under these kind of circumstances, but not Muhammad Ali.
George Foreman liked to say that he wasn’t the best boxer of all time, but for sure he was the best human that he ever met.
Without him, boxing, and sports in general, would be much less popular and interesting.
Imagine boxing history without ”The Rumble in the Jungle” or ”Thrilla in Manila”.
These were historical events that will be remembered forever.
This is why Muhammad Ali, no matter what god did he prayed to, was important for us.
When he died, Mike Tyson said that, ”God came for his champ”.