The Greatest

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade November 2001

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The Greatest When you think of Muhammad Ali, what is the first thing to pop into your head? For me it is undeniable "Greatness"; he defines the sport of boxing. After I found Ali's biography and a couple of internet sites on him, I went to the Cameron Park library to take notes and do a little more research. On my quest I discovered a great deal about the research process such as its a good idea to take notes on many different resources like biographies, the internet, and magazines. This way I can get all my ideas and factual information all organized. From all this new information I just received I had everything I needed to write a great research paper. I gained an abundance of helpful facts and info about Muhammad Ali's life and history as a boxer.

Muhammad Ali started his boxing career at a very young age and dedicated most of his life to be the Greatest boxer of all time.

During the research portion of this paper I learned that Muhammad Ali was not always his real name it was Cassius Clay from Louisville, Kentucky. Ali was also a very vocal man, he knew he was a very talented boxer and made sure everyone else knew it as well. Ali had a lot of support from his family and friends, his trainer and good friend said to him "Not only are you going to take the Golden Gloves, you'll take the Olympic gold medal in Rome". Muhammad didn't lose often but when he would lose it was a huge deal. The spiritual part of his life was very important to him and he took it very seriously. Muhammad Ali is without a doubt the Greatest boxer of all time and always be the greatest in my mind.

Cassius Clay (a.k.a. Muhammad Ali) was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He started his boxing career at a very young age. Clay fought as an amateur from 1956-1960 and won 100 matches before he was named the light-heavyweight gold medalist in the 1960 Olympics. He turned pro and by 1963 he won his first 19 fights with no defeats. In 1964 he won world heavyweight championship with a stunning defeat of Sonny Liston one of the most respected boxers during that time period. After the Sonny Liston fight Cassius Clay announced that he was a Muslim and his name had been changed to Muhammad Ali by the honorable Elija Muhammad. After defending the championship nine times within two years, Ali was stripped of his title for refusal into the U.S. Army based on religious beliefs. This event earned Muhammad Ali lots of respect and anger from all types of different people. Ali didn't fight again for three and a half years until a devastating loss to Joe Frazier. Not until 1974 did Muhammad Ali regain the title with a George Foreman defeat in Africa. He defended his title for another 10 times before loosing to Leon Spinks in 1978. Later that year he defeated Spinks and became the first boxer to ever regain the championship twice. Muhammad Ali had a monumental boxing career that could never be toped.

One aspect of Muhammad Ali's life that contributes to his outstanding boxing career is he was a very dedicated and a well-trained boxer. This gave him the edge that he needed to become the most profound boxer of all time. Ali had many trainers that worked round the clock to make sure he was in his absolute perfect fighting condition for each fight. Ali and his trainers focused on his speed and agility more than anything. Instead of working so much on Ali's strength training they worked more on his foot work and quickness, they thought that if he was more graceful and quicker in the boxing ring that he would be unstoppable. This new approach at Ali's boxing style paid off immensely, no one could land a punch on Muhammad Ali. This lead to the famous saying by Muhammad Ali "float like a butterfly sting like a bee." I interpret this saying as he is graceful like a butterfly with his footwork and yet his is quick with his punches just like a bee is quick when it stings you. Ali's new style of boxing and outstanding results changed the way boxing was looked at forever.

Some people could argue that Muhammad Ali had a very arrogant and flamboyant manner about him. These people say this is a weakness I say it is one of his strengths. He is just very confident at what his does, he believes in his heart that he is unbeatable and wants the whole world to know as well. I think this gives him the edge he needs over all his opponents to defeat them and become the greatest boxer of all time. Being confident is an important quality for a boxer. It shows that you are fearless and are willing to bring everything you have to each fight. In Ali's case he made his confidence known by all his opponents and the public. Once in after a fight he said, "I'm the greatest!""¦"I'm the prettiest!""¦"I can't be beat!" This quote says a lot about Muhammad Ali. It says he is a very confident, prideful, and overall a man that should not be taken lightly.

God and religion played a big role in Muhammad Ali's life. He followed the religion of Muslim. This is actually where the name Muhammad Ali came from. His birth name was Cassius Clay and he was given the name Muhammad Ali by the honerable Elija Muhammad. Ali was now a true Muslim and began to change the way he lived so it was the way of a real Muslim. Muhammad Ali went to prison for three and a half because he refused to enter the war. He refused to enter the war because the religion was focused on peace instead of violence and prohibited him from entering. This caused a big upset with the public, some people thought that Ali was afraid to enter the war because it might jeopardize his boxing career instead of his religious believes. I totally disagree with this opinion because Muhammad Ali was a prideful man and took pride in what he did. He wouldn't be frightened by a war if he could he would jump in there and fight them all one handed. Muhammad Ali was a strong and faithful believer to his Muslim religion.

Muhammad Ali was talented in more than just boxing he was also a tremendous poet and writer. He wrote many poems about his life and what he believes in. I respect him very much for going beyond the boxing stereotype of being a big dumb boxer and being a talented artist. The way I look at Muhammad Ali is he has two sides to him, on the one hand he's a big macho, flamboyant boxer and on the other hand he is this deep creative poet and writer. He was more than just a boxer. No matter how busy Ali was with his boxing career and economic status he always found time to sit down and unleash his feelings into his hand and on to his paper. There wasn't another boxer during this time that could say that they were half the artist Ali was. Ali looked beyond the fortune and fame and saw the real fruits of life and he took advantage of them and lived his life to the fullest. Muhammad Ali was a great boxer and an equally great artist.