08
Dec
2019

‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali: A legacy like no other

Ringside 07/08/2019
Muhammad Ali

The question has been raised on many occasions as Muhammad Ali continues to be recognized as the ‘Greatest of all Times’ by the sport of boxing.

Here are just a few arguments as to why Ali was so revered.

Was Muhammad Ali really the greatest boxer ever?  

The question of which boxer is the best of all time has been argued over by fans and pundits for years. It’s not so easy when you consider different weight divisions and different eras.

Can ‘Iron’ heavyweight Mike Tyson really be compared fairly to the bamboo-thin featherweight Sandy Saddler?

And what about Sugar Ray Leonard’s nearly perfect record versus Rocky Marciano’s unblemished, undefeated one when we consider the very different fighters each had to battle?

Yet, despite these obstacles to declaring the best boxer of all time, there are two that get mentioned more than any others. One is Sugar Ray Robinson, and the other is, of course, Muhammad Ali.

Why was Muhammad Ali such a star?

Muhammad Ali’s status as “The Greatest” is not just down to his stellar record. He was a showman. A prominent anti-war campaigner, and an iconic philanthropist.

His persona was one of charm and sincerity, a man who publicly battled inequality. He even endured a prison sentence over his stance against the Vietnam War when he famously declared: “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them.”

Emerging as a prominent figure in the civil rights movement, he was a poster boy for activists. He spoke at colleges up and down the country. Using the Vietnam War as an example of hypocrisy at the highest level, Ali was not only turning heads within the boxing ring but making his name as a populist agitator for many who felt disillusioned, disenfranchised and second rate.

Why should “The Greatest” be considered the best of all time?

When it comes to records, there are fighters out there with better numbers than Ali. But not many had his flair. And few, if any, would have been able to win ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ against the mighty George Foreman.

Just ask yourself: if the fight happened today, would you hit the betting site and put your money on the 4 to 1 outsider against the seemingly unbeatable Big George knowing that even Ali’s friend and supporter Howard Cosell gave him no chance?

Yet, Ali defied the odds, like he did so many times inside and outside the ring.

It was one of the stand-out victories of his stellar career following his Olympic gold medal in 1960 before becoming the first man to hold the heavyweight title three times.

We mustn’t forget his trio of fights against Joe Frazier (which included the Thrilla in Manila) on his way to a career 56-5 record with 37 wins coming by way of knockout.


A legacy like no other

Muhammad Ali’s legacy is like no other boxer in history. That’s why he’s rightly regarded as the best to ever enter the ring.

Spanning decades, his notoriety was not just constrained to his years in the ring. Those infamous bouts with Joe Frazier and George Foreman.

But in the decades since as an inspirational social activist, prominent Muslim celebrity, and pop culture icon.

The focus of countless documentaries, films and TV specials, Ali’s life has been celebrated inside and outside of boxing.

He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There’s no one comparable; he really is “The Greatest”. 

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