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"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Muhammad Ali and "the unbeatable Sonny Liston" are in the ring on February 25, 1964. The crowd is on their feet as 22 year old Muhammad Ali defeats Sonny Liston in Miami to become the World heavyweight Champion ("Muhammad Ali" Notable Sports Figures). Muhammad Ali, considered one of the greatest boxers in the world, suffered a poor childhood. An event that occurred when he was young led him to a gym where he started training to begin his boxing career where he faced many strong competitors in competitions that led him to his harsh disability.
Although he had this spectacular life, does the disability overshadow his greatness?
In Louisville, Kentucky on January 17, 1942, Cassius and Odessa Clay have their first of two sons Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior (Kehoe 112). Their second son's name was Rudolph Valentino Clay, but he later changed it to Rahaman Ali. Cassius Clay Junior's father was a painter, and his mother was a stay at home mother ("Muhammad Ali" Contemporary Heroes and Heroines).
On Sunday's the family attended Mount Zion Baptists Church, and as far as school Cassius and Rudolph went to Du Valle Junior High School and Central High school. Cassius Clay had never been a good student at school, and it was shown when he graduated 376" in a class of 391 students (Kehoe 112).
When Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior was twelve he was going to the Columbia Auditorium, and when he returned his bike was gone ("Muhammad Ali" Notable Sports Figures). Clay went to the basement of the auditorium to find a police officer, and met Officer Joe Martin.
Martin was a young children's boxing trainer, and after he saw the anger of Clay, he asked Clay if he wanted to train with him ("Muhammad Ali" Contemporary Heroes and Heroines).
While Cassius Clay Junior was in high school his outstanding boxing talent was relevant when he won 100 of the 108 matches he took part in ("Muhammad Ali" Notable Sports Figures). Clay Junior won six state championships in Kentucky and two national championships during his high school boxing career. When Clay was 18 he competed in the 1960 Rome Olympics and won the gold medal. When he returned to Kentucky he signed a contract with Louisville Sponsor Group, where he would receive 50% of his earnings ("Muhammad Ali" Contemporary Heroes and Heroines).
Cassius Clay, who by now has become a public favorite, is 22 and fighting for a World heavyweight championship against Sonny Liston, and he wins ("Muhammad Ali" Contemporary Heroes and Heroines). In Miami, after Clay won his heavyweight championship, he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Betrayal was felt from many Americans (Newfield 25- 30). Although this event upset many Americans, what Muhammad Ali believes is his own opinion not the worlds.
On August 14, 1964 Muhammad Ali and Sonji Roi get married, and she states that she will make a good Muslim wife (Remnick 232). Soon after Ali became a Muslim he was drafted into the war, but Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted, and therefore he was banned from the WBA (World Boxing Association). Also, Ali lost his title and was sentenced to 5 years of jail, but was released on repeal. The response from Ali was telling Sports Illustrated, "I'm giving up my title, my wealth, maybe my future. Many great men have been tested for their religious beliefs. If I pass this test, I'll come out stronger than ever" ("Muhammad Ali" Notable Sports Figures).
Three and a half years later Ali returned to the ring after his conviction was overturned. While Muhammad Ali was banned from boxing he divorced Sonji Roi and then married Belinda Boyd in 1967 ("Muhammad Ali" Notable Sports Figures). Ali would climb back to the top after he beat Jerry Quarry in round 3. A tough loss to Joe Frazier in 15 rounds gives Muhammad Ali his first loss as a professional boxer. After this loss the rematch came on January 28, 1974. Ali was not losing to Frazier twice, and after harsh strikes from each opponent, Ali got the win ("Muhammad Ali" Notable Sports Figures). In Kinshasa, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Muhammad Ali is now facing George Foreman for the world heavyweight title. After a knockout at the end of round 8 Ali becomes the Heavyweight champion again ("Muhammad Ali" Contemporary Heroes and Heroines).
In September 1975 Joe Frazier and Muhammad All meet for the third time, and yet again Ali got the victory. By now, Muhammad Ali and Belinda Boyd have divorced, and in 1977 Ali married Veronica Proche. A year after Ali was remarried he defeated Leon Spinks in a rematch to be crowned Heavyweight Champion for the third time ("Muhammad Ali" Contemporary Heroes and Heroines).
Muhammad Ali had a long and successful boxing career, and on June 26, 1979, he retired at age 37. This retirement didn't last long because a year later he was facing Larry Holmes for the World Boxing Council but was defeated. Then in 1982 he was up against Trevor Burdick for the same title, and lost again. Now Ali officially retired at 40 years old ("Muhammad Ali' Notable Sports Figures). Muhammad Ali has become weak, and his health is declining quickly. He was diagnosed with a thyroid condition, but it was misdiagnosed ("Muhammad Ali" Contemporary Heroes and Heroines).
In 1980 adversity affected Muhammad Ali when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Doctor's say he had received repetitive trauma to the head while boxing ("Muhammad Ali" Notable Sports Figures). Parkinson's disease is a brain disorder that causes one to lose control of their muscles ("Parkinson's Disease"). Ali now is continually having issues speaking and controlling the quiver of his body but he would like to be remembered: "As a man who never looked down on those who looked up at him and who helped as many people as he could in the fight for freedom, justice and equality" (Kehoe 112).
Although Muhammad Ali is now facing Parkinson's disease, I don't feel like the disease affected his greatness. I feel like Muhammad Ali is even greater now that he is facing Parkinson's disease because the speech impediment and continual body tremble has not stopped him from achieving greatness. Since he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's he has traveled to Iraq in 1985 to help rescue U.S hostages and lit the torch at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 ("Muhammad Ali" Notable Sports Figures). As you can see Muhammad Ali has continued to achieve amazing actions while being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which is why I feel he has become an even better man now that adversity has played a roll in his life.
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