Muhammad Ali – One Of A Kind
By: Oz Ozkaya
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what their eyes don’t see” – A quote from one of the world’s most famous sportsman, Muhammad Ali. “I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and got into bed before the room was dark.”- A quote from the one of the world’s most famous sportsman, Muhammad Ali. “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.” – AGAIN another brilliant poetic line from Muhammad Ali. The guy was practically a modern day, African-American, William Shakespeare.
Today we say goodbye to, arguably, the greatest boxer that has ever lived. He had the skill, passion, determination, finesse, likability, humour, cheekiness and sometimes even belligerence. Ali was a legend well before his death.
After being crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC, ‘The Greatest’ was notorious for his trash talking, pre and post fight-nights especially. His verbal gift was just as heralded as his in-ring abilities and many have come out today and spoke of the inspiration Ali had on them.
To name a few; Frank Bruno simply added – “The man… #MuhummadAli #TheGreatest #BoxingLegend” – with an old picture of Bruno jokingly giving Ali a right hand. Another former World Heavyweight champion, Lennon Lewis gave his tribute: “A giant among men, Ali displayed a greatness in talent, courage & conviction, that most of us will [N]EVER be able to truly comprehend. #RIPAli”. Barry McGuigan, former World Featherweight Champion and Irish boxing icon also gave a fitting tribute: “Today we lost the Greatest Sportsman that’s ever lived #RIPMuhammadAli”.
Some people today, who are old enough to remember, will be thinking back to the day the 22-year-old Ali conquered Sonny Liston in what was, at the time, a remarkable victory and upset. Others, an almost decade later, will be thinking of the famous ‘Fight Of The Century’ in New York, NY as Ali lost on a unanimous decision, in was the first of three epic showdowns, with Joe Frazier. And some of us will be thinking about the night that Ali managed to turn over, at the age of 36, young whiz kid Leon Spinks after Ali had previously lost the title some 7 months earlier in what was an almost de-ja-vu of the scenario with him and Sonny Liston 13 years earlier.
The thing with Ali is, though, in addition to having to write an article like this, I could be here all day writing and talking about all the famous quotes, memories, good deeds, triumphs, and of course, all the tributes from all the people that had loved and adored him through his rise to prominence and thereafter. It really is one of those famous sporting deaths, the kind that we all should just stop and go: “Wow, what a showman, performer, fighter, boxer, activist, and inspiration that man really was”.
Kanye West once referred to himself as the “The No1 rock star on the planet”, and he might just well be able to have that title now because the actual biggest No1 rock star, Muhammad Ali, A.KA Cassius Clay, has forever left our earthly stage.