The greatest athlete of the 20th century!
12/02/2018 | Gianluca Di Franco
I want to start this adventure, talking about the greatest athlete of the twentieth century .... many will think ... okay!!.. Gianluca has always loved basketball...he will talk about Jordan...for sure...!!
And instead, no...!, objectively analyzing the entire sports landscape, there are other people who have left a deep mark in civil society as well as in the world of sport ...
I'm talking about him....Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. aka Muhammad Alì born in Louisville Kentucky on January 17, 1942, the most famous boxer on the planet, and named Athlete of the Century by the most authoritative American sports magazine Sports Illustrated, and by the Hall of Fame committee.
And to think that Cassius Clay knew boxing by chance, in fact he was still a child of 11 years when they stole his bicycle, he went in search of the thief and his bike ... and entered by chance in a gym, where he threw boxing .... from there began his first steps in the world of boxing, his first coach was a policeman of Irish origin, who guided him throughout the amateur path.
At the age of 18 he became Olympic champion in Rome in 1960, then soon after he found in his country of origin, the United States of America, an opponent far more fearsome than anyone he could meet in the ring: racial segregation.
Already as a child he was upset when his brother was denied a drink in a shop because of its color, and over time he decided to join characters like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King in the fight against racism.
At the age of 22 he became world heavyweight champion beating one of the strongest boxers of all time, a certain Sonny Liston, and immediately after the match he declared that he had embraced the Islamic religion and assumed the name of Muammad Ali.
Three years later he was arrested because he refused to leave for the Vietnam War, his response to a journalist who asked him why he chose to leave was famous... "No Vietnamese has ever called me a nigger...".
They stopped him for 5 long years, but Alì's charisma increased enormously, he managed to catalyze the attention of the whole world.... talking to newspapers and on TV, on his return he loses an important meeting with another great Joe Frazier, but he manages to have his revenge from there shortly, but the most important meeting Alì fights him in Africa, October 30, 1974, in Kinshasa was disputed a meeting that remained in the history of sport managing to recover the throne beating George Foreman for KO in the eighth round.
From then on Alì, played several matches and managed to close his career with an impressive record of 56 victories out of 61 matches of which 37 for KO, a record made even harder by the obstacles he had for having embraced the Muslim religion and having fought for the rights of African Americans, to raise the dose at the time came out boxers, also remained in history, as the mentioned Sonnie Liston, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Floyd Patterson, Leon Spinks and Larry Holmes.
Alì's last meeting was on December 11, 1981 in the Bahamas against Trevor Berbick and he lost the match in ten rounds, but during the meeting Ali appeared very slow in his movements and his coach Angelo Dundee noticed that he spoke more slowly than usual: they were the first symptoms of Parkinson's syndrome.
He received many awards, and honours, he received the presidential medal of freedom, the medal for peace, as well as moving the world by acting as torchbearer at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
There, destroyed by Parkinson's, he died in Scottsdale on June 3, 2016.
Some of his sentences remain indelible:
"Inside a ring or outside, there's nothing wrong with falling. It's wrong to be on the ground."
"Dance like a butterfly, prick like a bee."
"A man who, at fifty, sees the world as he saw it at twenty, has wasted thirty years of his life.
"I hated every minute of training, but I said to myself, "Don't stop. Suffer now and live the rest of your life like a champion.
"It's the lack of faith that makes people afraid to take on a challenge, and I've always had faith: in fact, I believe in me.
"My hardest encounter was with my first wife."
"They tell the children that Jesus was white, as were the apostles and angels. The place where the president lives is called the White House. Even Tarzan is white. But how? white a man born and raised in the jungle?"
"The man who has no imagination has no wings to fly."