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Float like Butterfly - Sting like Bee

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Float like Butterfly, Sting like Bee

When one thinks about an African American figure that stand out among almost all other African American figures, Muhammad Ali comes directly to my mind. Muhammad Ali was the first boxer to win three heavy weight championships in the world, and sat a high bar for all African American people with his leadership skills, and his strong determination on what he believed religiously and politically.

The Birth of a Legend:

On January 17, 1952 in Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. and Odessa Grady Clay had a child, who they called Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. who later took the name Muhammad Ali. His family was struggling to have a sustained income and to feed their two sons. Ali`s father was a painter, who also loved and enjoyed acting, singing, and dancing. His mother was a housewife, but sometimes, she would work as a housekeeper and a cleaning lady to help her family when times were hard.

At the age of twelve, a small incident ignited the fuse of boxing in Clay`s young soul. His bicycle was stolen, which he reported to a policeman named Joe Martin. Clay was boiling with rage as he described to Martin what he would do to the culprit. Martin responded by advising him to learn boxing before fighting with anybody for revenge. Clay took the advice seriously and started training with Fred Stoner at a local gym (Edwonds 22). Clay`s talent was put on display when after a couple months he already won six Kentucky Golden Gloves and many more medals. When Clay was convinced that he his talent was extraordinary, his hunger for success grew bigger and bigger and started dreaming about being a heavyweight champion of the world.

At that time of his life, Clay had dedicated himself completely to boxing. He practiced restlessly which set him off other boys, and helped him win many more medals. Before he turned 18, he already has won more than a 100 matches in his amateur career. Upon returning to his home city, Louisville, he was shocked by unfair treatment and plain discrimination when he was refused service at a local restaurant despite all of his extraordinary feats. He felt the painful racism that he tried so long to avoid for so long and decided that he had to take a stand against it.

Going Professional:

At the age of 18, Clay had won a spot in the US boxing team and completed in the 1960 Olympic Games held in Rome, Italy, where he won the gold medal in the light heavyweight division. During the competition, Clay has become a boxing figure, "standing 6 feet 3, having great footwork, and amazing punching power" (Edmonds 41). Soon enough he turned professional. His success in the Olympic Games had made me an American hero and led to a contract with a group of millionaire called Louisville Sponsors Group, and it was the biggest contract ever signed by a professional boxer (Edownds 42).

In the 1960`s, Clay seemed to be unstoppable, taking out every opponent that stand on his way, and majority of the time it was by a knock out. He worked his way through many professional matches and seemed to almost have reached his dream. A boxer by the name of Sonny Liston was the only gap that stood between him and the world heavyweight championship.

Clay was known to write small poems describing the fights and predicting the outcome. He seemed as if he was able to predict the results of any given fight he had, and he was given a nickname of: The Louisville Lip. His talent, poems, and high confidence of himself have drowned the media to him. Thus, the night before the fight, Clay wrote:

Clay comes out to meet Liston and Liston starts to retreat,

If Liston goes back an inch farther he'll end up in a ringside seat.

Clay swings with a left,

Clay swings with a right,

Just look at young Cassius carry the fight.

Liston keeps backing but there's not enough room,

It's a matter of time until Clay lowers the boom.

Then Clay lands with a right, what a beautiful swing,

And the punch raised the bear clear out of the ring.

Liston still rising and the ref wears a frown,

But he can't start counting until Sonny comes down.

Now Liston disappears from view, the crowd is getting frantic

But our radar stations have picked him up somewhere over the Atlantic.

Who on Earth thought, when they came to the fight,

That they would witness the launching of a human satellite.

Hence the crowd did not dream, when they laid down their money,

That they would see a total eclipse of Sonny (Rosenberg).

Clay seemed to be right on the spot, as he described the sequence of the fight, and at the age of 22, Clay has beaten the 33 years old and former heavyweight champion, and became the world heavyweight champion of the world. He had finally done it.

Conversion to Islam:

After winning the championship, Clay had revealed that he was a member of the Nation

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