Muhammad Ali was a heavyweight boxing champion with an impressive 56-win record. He was a philanthropist and a social activist, best known for his brave public stance against the Vietnam War.He is a universally acclaimed one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century.
Welcome to A-classes Motivational Monday, a video series where we learn from the brightest minds who can inspire us through their actions. Our main focus throughout this month is Life Purpose and the bright mind we are going to learn from today is Muhammad Ali.
He became an Olympic gold medallist in 1960 and the world heavyweight boxing champion in 1964. Up until 2005 when he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Ali devoted much of his time to philanthropy and he helped to inspire people both within and beyond the borders of the United States.
Now, who really was Muhammad Ali and how did he become such a phenomena icon and one of the best athletes who defined the 20 century? Let’s get to know him better and let’s get some inspirations from his actions.
Childhood Background Of Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali was actually born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky.
At an early age, young Ali was just like another kid of his time growing up in the South, which at the time was highly segregated, characterised with racial prejudice, discrimination and other vices that history has rewarded the United States.
At 12 years of age, Ali discovered a talent he would later use to fulfil his life mission. It was through an uncommon twist of fate. His bicycle was stolen, which was then reported to the local police. And to the police officer, by the name Joe Martin, Ali said he wanted to beat up the thief. Yes, that is it. In the beginning was the word, the utterance of his mouth. If that sound like the biblical genesis, then let it be. My friend, there is power in your tongue, so learn to use that power well.
Now that you can picture the character, then the whole story will make even more sense to you because that same attitude and determination of a champion, which was first spotted at his 12 years of age will follow him to his professional life as an adult. You will find that out yourself later in the story.
The Start Of His Boxing Career
Following that incident at his 12 years of age, Ali started working with Martin to develop his ability and he soon began his boxing career. His first amateur bout was in 1954 and he won the fight by split decision.
Ali went on to win the 1956 Golden Gloves tournament for novices in the light heavyweight class. Three years later, he won the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions, as well as the Amateur Athletic Union’s national title for the light heavyweight division.
Now Ali is ready even for bigger wins in his career. In 1960, Ali won a spot on the U.S. Olympic boxing team, and travelled to Rome, Italy, to compete at the 1960 Summer Olympics. That was his time to shine at the international spotlight and he claimed it. He defeated the Polish champion, Zbigniew Pietrzkowski and won the light heavyweight Olympic gold medal.
Ali is now celebrated as an American hero and he soon turned professional with the backing of the Louisville Sponsoring Group and he continued to devastate all opponents in the ring. This is your Ali, the man with a bull’s heart.
Things Turned Much Challenging For Muhammad Ali
Things will not always be rosy. The reality on the ground, the imperfect societal structure, the discrimination and mass injustices against the minority groups still continued, plus the occasional medial and political situations, things became more challenging even for giants like Ali.
Ali has now converted to Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. He would not serve in the military draft to Vietnam, on the ground that he was a practising Muslim; instead, he continued to amplify his voice against the war. Now, his social activism has taken a centre stage, even at the cost of his hard-earned boxing titles and participations in fights as a boxer that he was.
Hey, has it ever occurred to you that you were in a tight corner and still stood your ground? How did you feel? Let me know in the comment section below. I’m sure other people want to hear about your experience too. Allow them to be inspired by you.
Muhammad Ali Singing His Own Praises
Yes, there is something really important to note about Ali: he was often referring to himself as “The Greatest”. He was not afraid to sing his own praises. He was known for boasting about his skills before a fight and for his colourful descriptions and more. Do you remember this character at his 12 years of age, the utterances and the power of his spoken words to his advantage? I think you do and you want to emulate that too.
What I am here saying is that you too need to have the courage to sing your own praises, because if you expect others to do it for you, it might never happen. So learn to reward yourself along the way. You brain needs it to perform better. Have you ever heard of such a thing as positive affirmations? It’s not just a play on nice words for your ears. It has an impact on your mind, so you need to give it a consideration.
Few More Things About Ali
Another important thing to note about Ali is his attitude in the ring. He was a very skilful man, fast and determined to fight on even when he got a hit. This is life, you know. It will keep hitting you again, again and again, but if you refuse to give in, you will certainly pull through the broken glasses and only then you will be free.
Becoming The Heavyweight Champion Of The World
After winning the Olympic gold at the 1960 competition in Rome, Ali took out the British heavyweight champion, Henry Cooper in 1963. However, Ali will only become the heavyweight champion of the world one year later, after knocking out Sonny Liston in 1964.
In 1971, Ali took on Joe Frazier in what has been called the “Fight of the Century.” Frazier and Ali went toe-to-toe for 14 rounds before Frazier dropped Ali with a vicious left hook in the 15th round. Ali recovered quickly, but the judges awarded the decision to Frazier, handing Ali his first professional loss after 31 wins.
It would take another 4 years, in 1975, before Ali and Frazier would once again lock horns and this time, in the Philippines or what is popularly referred to as the “Thrilla in Manila”. The fight like that of 1971 was equally fierce to say the least and both of them got the best hit from the other. It was Frazier’s trainer that eventually threw in the towel after the 14th round, giving the hard-fought victory to Ali.
A year earlier, Ali had another of his legendary fight against the undefeated heavyweight champion, George Foreman. The “Rumble in the Jungle,” as the fight came to be known was organized by Don King and held in Congo in 1974.
What Is Your Take Away From This Story?
You see, whether it is in the ring as a boxer or in the open society as a social activist, Muhammad Ali was a fighter and he was not afraid to show it. So many were the fights of the legend of the 20 century and many were his victories, all started from his 12-year-old decision to pursue a dream, a purpose for his life. So, what is your own life purpose? What are you fighting to achieve in your life?
That is all we can take from this article. If you are ready and willing to challenge yourself, click on this link below to get started free with A-classes.
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