*It’s been a little over a year since the boxing legend, all-time greatest Muhammad Ali departed from this world, leaving behind a legacy thousands of young athletes aspire to achieve today.
What made Muhammad Ali so influential in the history of sport wasn’t just his talent in boxing, he was a lot bigger than that.
Just in case you are unfamiliar with Ali and what makes him so great, here are some of the top timeless moments that gave us a glimpse of what he’s all about:
1. Unmatched speed
Muhammad Ali has been the quickest heavyweight boxer to ever step into the boxing ring. During the 60s, no one had ever seen heavyweights move with such agility and speed. Not only were his jabs lightening quick, but so were his reflexes, allowing him to be gracefully elusive against his opponents.
2. A never seen before return
It is next to impossible for elite level athletes to spring back into their sport after a long time of being out of the sport but Ali showed he wasn’t your usual athlete. No one would expect Tom Brady or Lebron James to be the best of the best once again after sitting out three and a half seasons. Ali however, returned to boxing after a lengthy lay off to face two of the top contenders at the time. He won against Oscar Bonavena and Jerry Quarry. He also fought the champion at the time Joe Frazier and gave him one hell of a fight.
3. Ali shows his fierce side
One of Ali’s opponents, Patterson told sports centre that it was a disgrace for sport and the nation for a black Muslim to be the word heavyweight champion. Ali brushed off Patterson’s trash talk with some of his own until he tortured Patterson, making him pay for excruciating 12 rounds.
Another opponent, Ernie Terrell would refer to Ali in the press as his previous name Cassius Clay. Ali hit him on the way to a decision and demanded “What’s my name?” repeatedly. Ali was always known for intimidating his opponents by getting under their skin.
4. Man of his words
Unlike the contemporary trash talking regimen surrounding the sport of boxing, Ali actually lived up to his words. When facing Henry Cooper, Ali predicted that he will knock him down in the fifth round. In the fourth round, Ali was caught by a big left hook and he fell flushed on the floor. He got right back up as the bell was sounded but still disoriented. But as predicted, in the fifth round, Ali unleashed a powerful blitz onto Cooper’s face and the fight was stopped.