Olympic gold medalist and three times World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali died yesterday from complications related to Parkinson’s and respiratory system in Arizona. Often called “The Greatest” and “The Peoples’ Champ”, Ali won the WBA world heavyweight title as many as three times. His ability and speed in the ring gave birth to the catch phrase, “Move like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Known for his ability to knockout stronger and bigger opponents, Ali won 56 of his 61 professional fights being knocked out only once.
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on 17th January, 1942, he started to box at the age of 12. When he was 18, he represented the US in the 1960 Rome Olympics and won the gold medal in the light heavyweight category. He defeated Sonny Liston at the age of 22 to become the youngest world heavyweight champion, a record that was later broken by Mike Tyson. Shortly after he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
In a career that lasted over two decades, Ali enjoyed some wonderful rivalries with the likes of Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. His unorthodox boxing style became immensely popular where he used to rely on his speed and agility to evade punches instead of covering up. He was an equally colorful persona off the ring as he was known to taunt and mock his opponents during pre-match hypes earning him the nickname, “The Louisville Lip.”
Ali developed Parkinson’s at the age of 42, a degenerative disease that slowly impacted his speech and his lifestyle. The disease confined him to his house in the later years. He also developed respiratory problems in the later stage and had to undergo treatment repeatedly in the last few years. This legendary boxer breathed his last on 3rd June, 2016 in Arizona.
After his death, Twitter exploded with wishes:
As Butterfly or as a Bee, Muhammad Ali Always Made an Impression, -RIP Ali… https://t.co/hKveYk7BPd
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) June 4, 2016
— Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) June 4, 2016
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) June 4, 2016