Muhammad Ali In Hospital As Reports Of Grave Condition Abound
By: Sean Crose
The Greatest is in the hospital. That much is certain. Indeed, Muhammad Ali, who for years has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, has been hospitalized for respiratory issues. Although rumors of the former heavyweight champion’s eminent demise are emerging online, nothing can be confirmed or denied as of this writing – other than the fact there is cause for concern among Ali’s loved ones and fans. While there’s little doubt that Ali’s health has declined progressively over the years, the news of the man’s hospitalization has been major news. And for good reason, for – honestly – Ali may not only be the most famous boxer in history, but the most famous athlete, as well.
Still, rumor can quickly be taken as fact where the famous are concerned. Therefore, it’s advisable to simply stick to the facts as they are known at the moment:
•· Ali is reportedly being treated in a hospital around Phoenix for respiratory issues
•· According to the AP, Ali’s spokesman, Bob Gunnel, originally claimed that Ali’s condition was “fair,” and that the hospital stay would be brief.
•· However, unknown sources have told the AP Ali’s condition is of a grave nature
•· Communicating with the AP on Friday, Gunnel declared there were no further developments to pass along
•· Still, English tabloid The Mirror reported Friday that Ali is on life support and that his family is gathering
•· Several outlets also reported Friday that Ali’s respiratory issues are being aggravated by Parkinson’s.
Ali shot to fame in the early 1960s as Cassius Clay. He won the heavyweight title by beating the frightening Sonny Liston, who quit on his stool, and then won their rematch the follow year via a stunning – and controversial – first round knockout. By that time Clay had converted to Islam and had changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
Controversial to begin with, Ali solidified his reputation as either a rogue or a hero (depending on one’s opinion) by refusing – on ethical grounds – to enter the military. This decision cost Ali his title and possibly his prime. Upon his return to the ring, however, the man grew in fame and stature, battling such formidable opposition as George Foreman and arch foe Joe Frazier, and recapturing the heavyweight crown not once, but twice.
By the 80s, Ali had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and his slow decline was in progress. Yet he was also now universally recognized and respected as an iconic athlete, personality and civil rights activist. Although few If any would call the man perfect, his reputation had grown to the point where he was now endeared rather than loathed. His battle with Parkinson’s, which he went on to publicly wage for decades, further garnered Ali admiration, both at home and abroad.
Boxing Insider will continue to update this story.