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DAR Legends: Muhammad Ali

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-There are some legends in the world that make their presence felt in a number of ways. Some legends are made through their accomplishments. Some legends are made through their fight for what they believe in. Some legends are made through the power of their words and what weight they hold. Some legends are made through all of these means. Muhammad Ali is one of them. Over the years, we saw him as a champion. A fighter. A true hero for many in the black community and worldwide. Through his illustrious boxing career, activism work, and his faith, we witnessed Ali in his prime and at his best. He would take the world by storm through his gift of gab and ability to talk the talk and walk the walk. Today, we are here to reflect on the legend that is Muhammad Ali. Let's take a look at The Greatest.

Growing up, I heard all the talk about Sugar Ray, Holyfield, and of course Tyson, who was the man during my adolescence that everyone referenced and wanted to fight like. Of course, I had heard about Muhammad Ali's infamous matches with George Foreman and his epic battles including the Thrilla in Manila and the entire trilogy vs Joe Frazier (some say The Thrilla should have been his last fight due to the physical toll it took on him to get that victory). However, we were never taught about Ali's life outside of the squared circle (at least in my school). It wasn't until I saw a special on TV during black history month (in the late 90s) that I was really impressed by Ali. A few of my childhood heroes were Bruce Lee, Ultimate Warrior, and now Ali was on that list. With him being against the Vietnam War and standing up for what he believed in, it was enough to earn my respect immensely.

To stick to his morals while his own country was calling him unpatriotic, disgusting, boycotting his fights, and using the media to sabotage his career (sounds familiar) was noble and even brave. He refused to go to war after being drafted, got his titles took, banned from boxing for almost 4 years, but his principles wouldn't let him go kill innocent people from another nation who hadn't treated him and his fellow black people as horrible as white america has.
I have nothing but admiration for Ali being outspoken and fearless in a high tension racist America that absolutely does not not give a fuck about us or even care about us being proud of our blackness. 

Ali was hated by a lot of white people so they always wanted him to be defeated by not only a boxer but a "great white hope" boxer (sort of very reminiscent of the underlining racist tone behind the Mayweather/McGregor fight). This brings me to the Ali vs Wepner fight. Just as McGregor was rabbit punching and illegally hitting Mayweather in the back of the head... Wepner was doing the exact same to Ali decades ago, which is hilarious to think about now. McGregor went 10 rounds and they called it a moral victory. Wepner went 15 rounds and they called that a moral victory as well, but in the end they both took losses clearly. This fight inspired Sylvester Stallone to write "Rocky", which says a lot.

In every era, in every industry, there's always someone special that's one of a kind to make a mark in history. This man was the original showman inside and outside of the ring, getting his opponents riled up being sharp with the tongue. He was confident in everything he spoke, quick on his feet, quick with his hands, a powerful punch, and a great strategic defensive fighter. Ali is the hero, the legend, and the greatest.

Muhammad Ali is the one athlete where you can grab so many quotes from him and relate them to today or your personal life. Back then, Ali was an athlete who was never afraid to speak his mind and back it up in the ring. For as good of a fighter he was, he wasn't well liked by the masses for his outspokenness. One thing that really got heat was him refusing to go to war during the Vietnam war after being drafted and for a rightful reason. Ali refused to go fight a war in Vietnam when America won't stand up for his rights as a black man. This caused Ali to lose his boxing license.

Out of the ring, Ali was very outspoken and in the ring, he was almost untouchable. Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. In my opinion, he is the greatest fighter of all time for his abilities and accomplishments. In addition to this, Ali is a man who also delivered some great and clever quotes.

If you could build the perfect boxer, Muhammad Ali would be the prototype. Power, agility, hand speed, footwork, boxing IQ, ring generalship, and more. Whatever you needed, Muhammad Ali had it. Muhammad Ali was an athlete that was one of the ultimate “Once In A Lifetime” superstars. You have Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson as well as Shaq and LeBron to name a few. What made me a huge fan was how he carried himself in the ring and out. Ali was the real originator of “promos”. Before the likes of Ric Flair, Macho Man, Stone Cold and The Rock, Ali was cutting promos on his opponents. He would also back up what he said. His rhymes were ahead of their time. He had a rhyme for each round that he was going to knock his opponent out in. Ali was larger than life as his presence carried beyond the boxing ring. His stance when it came to race and politics was very firm. Ali even sacrificed his boxing license because of what he stood for and I admire that. He refused to go to war for a country that refused to fight for him.

What we see Colin Kaepernick do today, Muhammad Ali did that 50 years ago. The only difference is that Ali was more vocal about his stand, but it was still the same thing. His contributions to society, especially in the black community speak for themselves. Muhammad Ali would not bow to society and he would not conform to their standards. I greatly respect his courage. Ali was also great because of how impressive he was against the greatest fighters not only of his generation but in boxing history. From Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ernie Shavers, etc. You name the boxer, Ali has beaten him at some point. Muhammad Ali was pop culture. He was to boxing what Michael Jordan was to basketball and what Michael Jackson was to music. Like those athletes, Ali was and still is the gold standard by which others are measured by. He was a pioneer, world beater, and game changer. 

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-Ali was once talked about at length on this site following his untimely passing, and it was only right we discuss him again. With the climate of today's world, one can only wonder what he would have said in this trying time. Ali in his prime would likely have been on the side of Colin Kaepernick and would have definitely been anti-police brutality. That's not to make the comparison between Kaep and Ali, because Kaep isn't half the outspoken and real activist that Ali was. During the height of his popularity, Ali offended many white people (and black people....), as he spoke the truth at various times about his gifts, his talents, and the state of America. It was honestly the greatest attribute about Ali. Through his celebrity, he used it to help motivate people in a way, as well as showcase how an athlete can dominate his sport and still have a voice.

In a time when athletes were looked at in a much different light than today, Ali would rise to be one of the biggest faces of black athlete activism and make his presence felt. Many have tried to duplicate the style of Ali, from his outspoken "promo" ability, to his confidence, to his footwork in the ring, but he was one of a kind. Period. Muhammad Ali was the consummate boxer and the greatest of all time, with an impact that will be felt forever in and out of the boxing world.


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