Sad news that Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer the world will ever know has died of respiratory illness.
Ali was more than just an astonishing sportsman, he was a man of considerable spirit and conviction. In the mid sixties, he turned his back on riches and fame on principle. Refusing to go fight in Vietnam, he was threatened with jail and stripped of his world heavyweight title. He also abandoned his birth name, Cassius Clay, referring to it as his slave name. He embraced Islam and rebuilt his boxing career, going on to win the title again in 1974.
The Rumble in the Jungle and The Thriller in Manila will live forever in sporting history as boxing matches that became events bigger than the sum of their parts. He helped make televised sport a global phenomenon.
Ali was probably the first modern athlete who took on the media and forced them to write about him in his own terms. He was social media before there was social media. He was fast, funny and clever. A poet, a comic, a politician and a pariah with pride.
Speaking of social media, America’s most famous anti-Muslim bigot has been quick to respond to the news:
“Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all! ”
Yeah, thanks Donald. You’d have happily locked him up, you tool.
RIP Muhammad Ali, America’s favourite Muslim, the Greatest Boxer Of All Time.