Today Muhammad Ali would have been 80 years old.
We spend a moment to reflect on his greatness; firstly as a compassionate and giving human being, secondly an unrelentingly strong advocate of civil rights, and lastly one of the finest boxers and athletes to grace this planet.
So much has been written about the self proclaimed, but generally universally accepted ‘Greatest’, that it would be foolhardy to even attempt to do his legend further justice.
We sadly lost Muhammad on 3 June 2016 and his contribution to the sport of boxing is largely the reason it still exists in the mainstream today.
A simple summary of his ring achievements start as an amateur becoming the 1960 Olympic heavyweight champion in Rome, and after entering the professional ranks winning the Heavyweight Championship of the World in February 1964 aged 22.
Then, after an enforced layoff of three and a half years for his stance opposing American military presence in Vietnam, returning to box and narrowly lose to new champion ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier in what is regarded in sports as the fight of the twentieth century. Going on to regain his title from George Foreman in ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ in October 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire, one of the most iconic fights in boxing history. Then, later in a trilogy fight defeat his nemesis Frazier in the epic ‘Thrilla in Manila’ in October 1975.
Not done yet, he lost and regained his title from Leon Spinks in September 1978 to become the first three-time Heavyweight Champion of the World. His impact on boxing and sport in general was seismic. His impact on the human race during the 1960’s and 70’s was much more. He became arguably the most famous person on the planet.
Today, we remember the life and legacy he left, bourne of his humanity and compassion.
Sleep well ‘The Greatest’ our sport has been richer for your presence. Muhammad R.I.P.