Nécrologie. Mohamed Ali: The Fallen Monument

  • Fred VUBEM TOH | Cameroon-tribune |
  • Publié : Lundi le 06 Juin 2016 14:20:25 |
  • 15641 hits |
  • Sport |

The three times world heavy weight champion died of respiratory illness aged 74.

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The three times world heavy weight champion, Mohamed Ali finally lost a three-decade-old battle with Parkinson disease and died of respiratory illness on Friday June 4th at the Scottsdale hospital in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona. The man who lifted boxing from a back street sport to international acclamation died having lost his physical dexterity and oratory as his health took a final downward turn since 2013.

Mohamed Ali born as Cassius Marcellus Clay will be remembered for his achievements both on and off the boxing ring. He had 61 fights in a professional career that spanned 21 years winning 56 of them, 37 by knock outs. He was three time world champion, one time gold medalist at the Olympic Games and won 31 straight fights before being beaten by Joe Frazer. However the most memorable of his fights to African is the epic fight for the world title against George Foreman which took place in Kinshasa, former Zaire known as “the rumble in the jungle”.

Mohamed will be remembered for his stance against the Vietnam War, speaking out against racial discrimination and his conversion to Islam as well as his participation in the civil rights movement in America notably through the nations of Islam by the side of Malcolm X. Crowned "Sportsman of the Century" by Sports Illustrated and "Sports Personality of the Century" by the BBC, Ali was noted for his pre- and post-fight talk and bold fight predictions just as much as his boxing skills inside the ring.

But he was also a civil rights campaigner and poet who transcended the bounds of sport, race and nationality. Asked how he would like to be remembered, he once said: "As a man who never sold out his people,” he said adding in his characteristic manners that “If that's too much, then just a good boxer. "I won't even mind if you don't mention how pretty I was," he added.

Tributes have been pouring in from all over the world. "Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it," said US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. Former President Bill Clinton - husband of Democratic frontrunner Hillary - said the boxer had been "courageous in the ring, inspiring to the young, compassionate to those in need, and strong and good-humoured in bearing the burden of his own health challenges".

Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that Ali was "truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all!" George Foreman, who lost his world title to Ali in the famous "Rumble in the Jungle" fight in Kinshasa in 1974, called him one of the greatest human beings he had ever met.

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