World pays tribute to “The Greatest of all Times”

World pays tribute to “The Greatest of all Times”

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CNN wrote: His hands and his mouth were furiously fast. His skill as a boxer made him “The Greatest” in his mind and in the minds of many others.
He antagonized opponents with his taunts, amused reporters with his boasts and angered government officials with his anti-war speeches. At the same time, he goaded a stubborn, hard-nosed society with his stinging jabs against pervasive racism.
Since the mid-1960s, he was one of the most famous faces on Earth, and even though his appearances in recent years were few, the name Muhammad Ali still sparked smiles all around the globe.

Ali knocked down George Foreman in 1974

Ali knocked down George Foreman in 1974

His death Friday at age 74 came after a lengthy battle against Parkinson’s disease. Ali was diagnosed with the disease in 1984, three years after he retired from a boxing career that began when a skinny 12-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, amateur put on the gloves.
He is survived by his nine children, including daughter Laila, who, like her father, became a world champion boxer; and his fourth wife, Lonnie.
Ali was known in the ring for his lightning hand speed — unusual for a heavyweight — for his showmanship and for his brashness and braggadocio when a microphone was put before him. He taunted opponents before matches, trash-talked them during and proclaimed his greatness to reporters afterward.
He stayed on his toes, literally, during a bout, sometimes quickly moving his feet forward and backward while his upper body stayed in place. The mesmerizing move became known as the “Ali Shuffle.”
Fans on every continent adored him, and at one point he was the probably the most-recognizable man on the planet.
But he also was a controversial figure at home, announcing his conversion to Islam and name-change after an upset title win over Sonny Liston, then refusing to enter the draft for the Vietnam War and publicly speaking about racism in the United States.
al-Jazeera reported: Muhammad Ali, the silver-tongued boxer and civil rights champion who famously proclaimed himself “The Greatest” and then spent a lifetime living up to the billing, is dead.
Ali died Friday at a Phoenix-area hospital, where he had spent the past few days being treated for respiratory complications, a family spokesman confirmed to NBC News. He was 74.
“After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening,” Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman, told NBC News.
Ali had suffered for three decades from Parkinson’s, a progressive neurological condition that slowly robbed him of both his verbal grace and his physical dexterity. A funeral service is planned in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
His daughter Rasheda said early Saturday that the legend was “no longer suffering,” describing him as “daddy, my best friend and hero” as well as “the greatest man that ever lived.”
Photos: Float Like a Butterfly: Muhammad Ali’s Life in Pictures
Even as his health declined, Ali did not shy from politics or controversy, releasing a statement in December criticizing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States. “We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda,” he said.
The remark bookended the life of a man who burst into the national consciousness in the early 1960s, when as a young heavyweight champion he converted to Islam and refused to serve in the Vietnam War, and became an emblem of strength, eloquence, conscience and courage. Ali was an anti-establishment showman who transcended borders and barriers, race and religion. His fights against other men became spectacles, but he embodied much greater battles.
The Telegraph of London reported: Politicians, athletes and celebrities immediately flooded to social media to pay tribute to “The Greatest”. Ali was also described as a “humble mountain” and “the biggest and the best”.
Respect for Ali went far beyond the sphere of boxing. Pelé, the Brazilian footballer who is one of the few sportsmen to match Ali’s global dominance, posted on Instagram in honour of “my friend, my idol, my hero.”
If a visitor from outer space came to Earth and we wanted to put forth one of our own to show our species at its best, we would choose Muhammad Ali. He was known the world over.
This is an excerpt from the tribute written by Thomas Hauser, Ali’s official biographer.
President Barack Obama who kept with him a picture of Ali knowcking down Sony Liston said, ‘He shook up the world, and the world’s better for it. Rest in peace, Champ.’
The mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, led local tributes to the town’s favourite son. Mayor Greg Fischer spoke with flags raised at half-mast as Louisville united in mourning. “Muhammad Ali belonged to the world,” he said, “but he only had one hometown.”
Another brilliant Ali quote, this one was more recent, specifically in relation to Donald Trump’s attempts to exploit Islam for political points.
“We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anyone.”
Foreman, beaten by Ali in the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974, has paid tribute to a boxer he calls a ‘phenomenon’.
He is one of those special people. He was one of those things you see maybe only once in a lifetime.
Like a total eclipse. You are not going to see anything like that again. Boxing doesn’t do enough to define what he was.
He was the greatest personality that sports has ever seen, or ever will see. He was the greatest personality ever.
President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins joined thousands as he paid tribute to the boxer.
He said Ali’s passing will have been heard with the “greatest sadness” by residents in Ireland.
“Many will remember the wit, grace and beauty he brought to boxing and some will recall his visits to Ireland,” he said. “All over the world people also flocked to hear him offer his view on the achievement of democracy and particularly equal rights when they were so strikingly missing in some of the richest countries of the world.”
Mr Higgins also praised Ali for offering “courage in the face of great difficulties”, as he added: “He was intent on going on communicating right to the very end.
“He will be missed not only by his close friends and family but by those who heard him and were influenced by him, all over the world.”
Fellow boxers also spoke of their respect for the man considered the greatest of their, perhaps any, sport.
WBC world champion Tony Bellew called Ali “the greatest sporting icon of all time” and said he “transcended boxing and put our sport on the map”.
IBF super-middleweight champion James DeGale added: “A very sad day for my sport. There are few real heroes left in this world. Today we lost ‘The Greatest of All Time’.”
IBF super-middleweight champion James DeGale added: “A very sad day for my sport. There are few real heroes left in this world. Today we lost ‘The Greatest of All Time’.”
Meanwhile, in a long statement, Bill and Hillary Clinton said they were “saddened” by the boxer’s death.
Foreman also spoke about the pair’s fight in October 1974, admitting he initially thought he would knock Ali out in one or two rounds.
We never had any arguments. We never had anything until we met in a ring that night. I thought I’d knock him out in one or two rounds. All he would say is, “is that all you’ve got George?” I’ll remember that with the most fond memories. I was in the ring with one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever met in my life.
British Prime Minister David Cameron twitted, “Muhammad Ali was not just a champion in the ring – he was a champion of civil rights, and a role model for so many people.”

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