Boxing legend, icon and global superstar Muhammad Ali today celebrates his 74th birthday. And, judging by the numerous photos his daughters – May May amongst them – put up on FaceBook, the living legend had a great time celebrating last night.
Without doubt the single most important and influential athlete of the 20th Century, Ali has been battling Parkinson’s disease for over thirty years now, yet he has managed to keep going, even out-living a number of his former opponents: Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Jimmy Ellis, Ron Lyle and Sir Henry Cooper among them.
Of course, no-one really knows the true condition of Ali’s health today, yet it was written yesterday on the social media site how Ali did 30-minutes of exercise on his stationary bicycle. The amount of fight the great man retains was also applauded in the birthday piece. And, as we all know, “The Greatest” always could fight!
Ali’s Greatest Wins:
1: KO8 George Foreman, 1974.
“The Rumble in The Jungle.”
“I’ve always said he’s the greatest heavyweight ever,” Angelo Dundee said of his fighter before this momentous, unforgettable battle. “He has to lick Foreman to make the press admit this.”
Ali sure licked Foreman, and the press dutifully and correctly did as Dundee had predicted.
2: WRTD6 Charles “Sonny” Liston, 1964.
Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, makes his first challenge for the world title; winning via massive upset when Liston quits on the stool after being outboxed for all six completed rounds.
“Oh, God, yes – that was his best-ever fight,” Dundee said when looking back at this fight. “No-one gave my guy a chance.”
Ali, as he would do so again many times, had began “shocking the world!”
3: WRTD 14 Joe Frazier, 1975.
“As close as I’ve ever been to death,” Ali said when describing what he went through in winning the rubber-match with bitter rival Frazier.
Will we ever see heavyweight action as great and as spellbinding – not to mention admirable – ever again? I think not.
Happy Birthday, Champ!!