Mohammad Ali fka Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr, aka The People's Champion, aka The Greatest aka The Louisville Lip - January 17, 1942 - June 3, 2016 - As part of the "Baby Boomer" generation ( persons born in the years following World War II) I am proud to be one, of many, who witnessed the birth of Mr. Ali's career.
|The Greatest Of All Time Record: 56 Wins, 5 Loss, 37 KOs|
1. I was not and am not a fan of boxing. I felt then, as I do now, that the sport is barbaric. Whatever my feelings toward the art of pugilism I willingly admit that Mohammad Ali was its maestro.
2. In the 1960s I was a Black, troubled, brooding, hormonal Army brat, living at USAG Stuttgart Army Base in Stuttgart, Germany. Totally oblivious that I was about to participate in a generational battle that would change the world.
Technology was in its infancy and what we did have was censured and scarce, but our only lifeline to the United States. Needless to say, with our limited access to media what I was allowed to hear and see did not sit well with me in regards to Mr. Cassius Clay. Along with my pre-teen angst I suffered ancestral fear of “the man”. Even though, my mother was very vocal about inequality in America, in our home, it was unheard of for a man of color to vocalize our unified emotions to the world.
|The Louisville Lip|
Clay vs Liston - 1965
The world was shocked at the outcome, my tiny world was rocked to the point where I suspected the fight had been thrown by Liston.
In 1966, upon returning to the United States, my family and I discovered a change had erupted in our absence. Freedom was in the air spurred on by a young man who was born to make a difference. Never politically correct (PC) Ali spoke his mind, regardless of the consequences. Unashamed, unabashed and unapologetic Mohammad Ali exercised the hell out of Amendment 1 of the Constitution.
As a conscientious objector Mr. Ali refused compulsory enlistment into the military due to his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. Convicted of draft evasion and sentenced to five years, later overturned, fined and banned from the boxing ring for three years.
At the age of forty-two, in 1984, Mohammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. This is a bout he had to fight daily for the rest of his life. He never let the disease get him down, never allowed it to dampened his infectious spirit.
Gone, but never forgotten. I salute Mohammad Ali; sports legacy, cultural icon, son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and activist.
Rest In Peace Champ - The Greatest Warrior of All Time!