The legend of the Louisville Slugger, who floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee, continues to live on.
Today [Sunday, January 17 2016] boxing’s greatest of all time celebrates his 74th birthday. Born Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali transcends the way the world views boxing forever. Many point to Ali as the pioneer of fighters styling and profiling in and outside the ring. Ali was always controversial, yet could back up his trash talk with his hands. His accomplishments are the reason he’s the self-proclaimed “greatest” and most have no choice but to agree.
As an amateur, Ali’s record was 100-5. He was a six-time Kentucky Golden Gloves winner and boxing gold medalist in the 1960 Olympics. Ali’s success in the amateur field carried over professionally, where he became one of boxing’s immortals. At 22, Ali upset Sonny Liston to win his first heavyweight title. He went on to have a record of 56-5 while becoming boxing’s only three-time lineal heavyweight champion. His classic bouts against legends such as “Smokin” Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Liston are arguably the most important fights in boxing history.
Ali’s legacy outside the ring is a major reason why he’ll forever be the people’s champion. He became the voice of a generation who was afraid to stand up and speak out. His revolutionary tactics such as resisting to join the Army (which led to him being stripped of his world title and doing jail time) are eye opening moments that provide a huge amount of strength and inspiration to the African-American community to keep fighting for change. Becoming an outspoken advocate of Islam, Ali tackled issues such as racial inequality, politics and social injustice. A revolutionary figure, Ali’s impact on American society both personally and professionally is the reason he’s regarded Sportsman Of The Century by Sports Illustrated.