We all know the legend under the name Muhammad Ali, but his real name is Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky on January 17, 1942. His father, Cassius Clay Sr., worked as a painter and his mother, Odessa. , was a maid. They weren't a wealthy family, but they weren't completely poor either. At this time, southern states like Kentucky had divisions marked by racism, which means that there were schools, restaurants, restrooms and other public facilities for black and white people respectively. Everything was endorsed by the Jim Crow Laws and made life very difficult for African Americans like Cassius.
Becoming a boxer
When he turned 12, someone stole his bike. He was too upset, so he told a police officer that he was planning to hit the person who stole it from him, and it happens that this officer named Joe Martin was also a boxing coach. Joe told him that he should learn to fight before he wants to hit someone, so he offered him a boxing class.
Cassius was discovering that he had a great talent for this sport, because he was much faster than other fighters of his size. He could throw quick punches and get away from the area before his opponent could react. He was in 105 fights as an amateur fighter, winning 100 and losing 5. He also won several Gold Glove championships and was considered one of the best in the light heavyweight category in the world.
In 1960 Cassius traveled to Rome, Italy to participate in the Olympic Games. He beat all of his opponents and won a gold medal. When he returned to the United States, he was quite a hero. That maximized his desire to continue in the professional boxing.
What was your style?
Like few light heavyweight boxers, Ali's style was based on speed and agile movements rather than strength. He sought to evade any blow rather than absorb it. The stance he held was the common one, but sometimes he kept both hands down tempting the opponent to hit him straight, depending on where the impact was, Ali had a counterattack prepared.
He also threw fast punches and danced away from his opponent before he could attack him. He was an impressive athlete and his superior speed allowed him to demonstrate these incredible skills throughout the 15 rounds.
Becoming a champion
He had great success in professional boxing, with long streaks of knockout victories. In 1964 he fought for the title and knocked out Sonny Liston, who threw in the towel in the seventh round. Cassius Clay became the world champion. After this, he decided to convert to Islam, that's how he changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
A few years ago (2016) this legend ceased to be among us. Muhammad Ali was fighting against Parkinson's Disease for many years, until last June 3 at a medical center in Scottsdale, Arizona showed a respiratory failure that ended the life of this athlete who has left a mark that will remain for generations.