Saturday, 4 June 2016

Dies at age 74 Muhammad Ali

The legendary Muhammad Ali , former boxer and heavyweight former champion, died on Friday (3), after 74 years in Phoenix, Arizona, United States, said a family spokesman. Considered one of the greatest fighters of all time, he had been admitted on Thursday (2), respiratory problems

"After 32 years of struggle against Parkinson's disease, Muhammad Ali died at age 74," said his spokesman, Bob Gunnell. "The Ali family would like to thank everyone for your thoughts, prayers and asks for privacy at this time," says a statement.

Gunnell said the funeral will be held in the hometown boxer, Louisville, Kentucky, on a date yet to be set.

Former champion leaves his wife, Lonnie Williams, and nine children.

The boxing legend - whose Parkinson's disease some attributed to the blows received during his career - was hospitalized in late 2014 and early 2015, pneumonia and urinary tract infection, and his public appearances became increasingly rare.

When he was active, Ali proclaimed himself "the biggest, boldest and most beautiful" fighter in the world. In career heyday as boxer, he said that "could float like a butterfly, but sting like a bee."

Ali was the first boxer to win the world heavyweight three times. In the ring were 57 wins, 37 of them by knockout, and 5 losses.

As an amateur, he won the Olympic gold medal at 18, the Tokyo Olympics, but a victim of racism in a restaurant in the US, threw the medal in the Ohio River ..

Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 17, 1942, as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. He later changed his name to Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam.

In the '60s, he spoke out against racism and against the Vietnam War. In 1967, he refused to serve in the US Army in the Vietnam War and criticized the sending of troops to the conflict. He lost his world title and got away from boxing for three years.

With only 22 years old and still as Cassius Clay, won his first heavyweight title by defeating Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964 in Miami, Florida. Clay used his speed and footwork - that marked his career - to defeat the slow Liston, who abandoned the fight in the sixth round.

On May 25, 1965, already as Muhammed Ali, he returned to face Liston in Lewiston, Maine, to bring down the challenger in the first round.

Ali faced Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden. On March 8, 1971, with 50 countries broadcasting the fight in New York, Ali began dominating the first three rounds, but Frazier took control from the fourth round - with a series of hooks - and cornered the opponent at the end. Frazier retained the title by unanimous decision, imposing Ali his first professional defeat.

There just was again world champion in October 1974, after winning the great rival George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire, now called Congo, in a fight that many consider the greatest of all time.

Another anthological fight took place in Manila, the Philippines, the third against Frazier, who has trained intensely for the fight held in October 1975.

Coach Frazier, Eddie Futch, threw in the towel in the 15th round, despite his objections, and Ali won another epic battle.

The title was lost in February 1978, with defeat to Leon Spins, and reconquered in the rematch in September of the same year.

The professional career of Ali ended in defeat by Trevor Berbick points for, on December 11, 1981, at Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre in Nassau.

In 1996, Ali moved the world by lighting the cauldron of the Atlanta Games, already trembling because of Parkinson's disease.

He was crowned "Sportsman of the Century" by Sports Illustrated and "Sports Personality of the Century" by the BBC.

Besides the reputation for skill in the ring, he was known for his activism in the civil rights area and the poetry he wrote - something that transcended the boundaries of sport, race and nationality.

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