Muhammad Ali was an extraordinary human being who has always evoked the most extreme reactions—-ranging from love and adulation to vitriolic hate. When he spoke, the whole world listened. As he said: “Where do you think I’d be next week if I didn’t know how to shout and holler? I’d probably be down in my hometown washing windows and saying yassuh and nossuh and knowing my place!”
Ali had the most unique boxing style, self-publicizing skills, hip-hop poems, bravura stunts, ring-craft, ability to tame opponents such as Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, Archie Moore, Floyd Patterson, Jerry Quarry, Ken Norton, Cleveland Williams and George Foreman.
But “The Greatest” was not simply an unforgettable boxer. He was also an amazing political force in his own right.
“There are so many things come to mind when I think of Muhammad Ali. The heart he used to fight. The heart he used to help and care for people. Someone with common sense. Very intelligent. A beautiful athlete. The most important boxer ever. I don’t know if there was an athlete ever more copied than Muhammad Ali,” said Claudio Reilsono, head baseball coach CMU and boxing historian. “I remember I cried when he lost to Spinks. I was 13. And I remember how bad I felt when he lost fights at the end of his career. I remember how he made me laugh when he was with Howard Cosell. I remember how he made me think whenever he would talk about the injustices of the world. So here’s a guy who made me appreciate his athleticism. Made me think. Made me cry and made me laugh. Jim Valvano used to say if you can laugh, cry and think everyday you’ve lived a full day. Muhammad Ali made you live a full day.”