On January 17th in 1942, the greatest boxing champion in history was born. Cassius Clay who would later be known as Muhammad Ali became a trailblazer in not just sports, but in civil rights movement in the 1960’s.
He had extraordinary athleticism and overcame odds when he became a young world champion defeating the unstoppable Sonny Liston. Ali would become a role model for young black women and young women for his time as blacks were starting to become pop cultural icons through the medium of television and radio.
One skill that sometimes gets overlooked by Ali was his wordplay and poetry he would demonstrate before his big fights. The iconic star would also use his platform to be a voice for the people who did not have one. Some would consider Ali to be one of the first stars to use rap to get across his messages.
Ali died on June 3, 2016, in Phoenix, Arizona, after being hospitalized for what was reportedly a respiratory issue. He was 74 years old. The boxing legend had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease and spinal stenosis.
“Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it,” said US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
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