Whenever you think of Muhammad Ali the first words that will pop into your head is, the greatest.
(Or hypocrite for a few)
He is renowned and respected as an athlete and hero to many.
Why is he the greatest though?
What is it that made him so good?
Are there no others who could box as well as him.
Yes and no.
Yes, there are other boxers who could have fought and beaten Ali.
They were some in his career who did.
Joe Frazier beat Ali.
So to proclaim that he is the greatest without a doubt is not just because of his sports achievements, because if it was we would name other boxers with better records.
Ali does not have a perfect record in the ring.
There are others who you could say were better than him and you would have a case.
Boxing experts I have heard say that Ali was great because he switched styles.
I didn’t just box one way.
He showed he had speed, power, finesse, footwork, and defense.
So he may have equals in certain areas of boxing.
Some may say that Tyson had more power than Ali, but Ali displayed more of an overall ability as a boxer than any other boxer
As great as Ali was, in my mind he was a product of his time as well.
Like any great he needed help from factors he didn’t control to help further that legacy.
Like the Vietnam War.
If that was twenty five years ago in 1944 and Ali did that for WW,2 he would not be respected like he is today.
Our disgust for the war helps Ali look like a heroic figure.
As if he was right for dodging a wrong war.
Would he have dodged war if he was fighting today?
Claiming that he was not for killing.
I don’t know.
But I do find it ironic how a boxer is telling me about morals.
No offence Ali but you fought for a living, but don’t want to die for a country.
If he was so peaceful, wouldn’t he have stopped boxing altogether?
Talking about today, it is strange for me to hear people in boxing talk of Ali and his greatness, as if it is still around today.
Yes, his off the ring stuff is legend, but boxing is still doing bad today.
People still aren’t interested in it.
In fact, people are more fascinated reminiscing about Ali and Frazier than they are in today’s matches.
It is odd that a man many in the sports world claim is the best was a part of a sport that no one watches now.
Also I put Muhammad Ali on a list of people that lucked out with history.
That are fortunate to be on the right side of history.
By which I mean history will talk of their good actions over their bad and present their overall character as a positive influence on the world.
What if he was wrong dodging the war?
What if he made a mistake?
We will never know of course.
Because you can’t argue that his legacy is heavily based on a major social event and to speculate that it would be different had the event not happened is not too far our of reach.
It is like Abe Lincoln.
Boy, history would treat him very different if the Union lost the Civil War.
One final note (I know I am really bashing Ali here)
I just saw the other day that a boxer looked foolish while promoting a fight for saying some stupid irrelevant words that made him appear desperate for attention.
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that what Ali was doing all the time while he was talking trash about how he was the greatest at the press conferences?
He was building hype for his match.
He was promoting the sport.
If he did that today, we either wouldn’t care because it is boxing or we would mock him because of how stupid he sounds trying to promote his sport.
Part of the PR behind the building of boxing at that time was Ali claiming to be the greatest ever.
So why is he the greatest?
Because he did something that no other athlete ever has done.
He was more than an athlete.
He was a civil rights activist.
He didn’t just box.
Alot of athletes today, don’t speak their minds or say how they feel about the world.
And he stuck to it.
Whether he was lucky or not, Ali certainly went down fighting.
I hope you appreciated that pun as much as I did.
A few years ago Time magazine ranked the 100 most influential people of all time.
And guess which athlete was on that list?
That is how great he was.
(Also how irrelevant sports are, but that is for another day)
Oh and get over it people, the guy had two names.
Cassius Clay and Muhammad Ali.
Calling him Cassius is not a racist insult to him.
It is identifying who he was before he changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
People do realize that he won a gold medal as Cassius Clay, right?