Dear Ali - May You Forever Rest in Peace

Steve Kinsman By Steve Kinsman, 4th Jun 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Death>Celebration

" I am the greatest," he stridently announced to the world at the age of twenty-two. And indeed he was....

I remember well...

...the brash young fighter out of Louisville, named Cassius Clay, who burst upon the national stage after annihilating a favored Sonny Liston, who could not answer the bell, and then beat him in a rematch in the first round. I remember when he became a Muslim, joining forces with Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X, and renouncing his 'slave name' to become Muhammad Ali. I remember when he refused to be drafted to go to Vietnam, saying - heroically - "I ain't got nothin' against them Viet Cong." Indeed, when it came to standing up to the American war machine, Ali had few equals - "My conscience won't let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn't put no dogs on me, they didn't rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father... Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail."

He stood proudly upon his beliefs. They belittled him, called him unpatriotic, a traitor. But he became a hero to the counter-culture, and as we burned our draft cards to protest the war, we honored the man who bravely showed us the way.

I remember when he fought Floyd Patterson, an Uncle Tom if ever there was one, who continued to call him Cassius. For that indignity, Ali dispatched poor Floyd halfway through the first round.

Then they stripped him of his title, and he couldn't fight for three years, but he became the first heavyweight in history to win back the title after losing it, a feat he accomplished not once, but three times.

The press castigated him, and called him a traitor, but instead of driving him down in the eyes of the public, the people embraced him, not only here but all over the world, and he became the most admired and beloved man on the entire planet.

"Down goes Frazier!" Down goes Frazier!"
screamed Howard Cosell into the microphone on that hot and insufferably humid night in the tropics. The "thrilla in Manilla" was arguably the most brutal battle in the history of the sport, and it landed both combatants in the hospital.

Oh, the memories. It seems like only yesterday...."Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." This man made us all feel good to be members of the human race.

God, the world will miss him.

Link: The Life and Times of Muhammad Ali

Preview photo from Wikimedia Commons


Boxing, Heavyweight Champions, Heroes, Muhammed Ali, Steve Kinsman, The Greatest

Meet the author

author avatar Steve Kinsman
I live in California with my wife Carol, where I have been practicing professional astrology for 35 years. I write articles on astrology, but I enjoy writing on a variety of other subjects as well..

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
6th Jun 2016 (#)

Going to jail against the American war machine was one of the greatest things anyone could do in opposition to the Vietnam war.

I remember Ali being interviewed by Parkinson on Saturday night on the BBC when he was preparing to fight Smokin' Joe Frazier he was quite an entertainer, predicting that he would knock Fraizer into orbit.

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author avatar spirited
6th Jun 2016 (#)

I am not sure about Ali being the first heavyweight in history to win back the title after losing it.

Some claim Patterson did this.

"Patterson knocked out Johansson in the fifth round of their rematch on June 20, 1960, to become the first man in history to regain the Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship."

from Wikipedia, if that source can be trusted.

Ali certainly was a standout in everything that he did. His rope a dope method, although not pretty, was effective for him, or was it, he certainly took a lot of punishment.

Thanks for this tribute Steve.

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author avatar Phyllis
6th Jun 2016 (#)

Very nice piece which in my view captures the man as I remember him. As an Afro- Caribbean child growing up in England in the 60's he gave me a huge sense of pride in my blackness and we all loved for that. May he rest in peace.

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author avatar Shamarie
6th Jun 2016 (#)

Great tribute to "The Greatest", Steve! I was writing one about him too. It was a sad weekend!

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
7th Jun 2016 (#)

I'm looking forward to your tribute Shamarie.

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author avatar Retired
7th Jun 2016 (#)

May Ali R.I.P.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
7th Jun 2016 (#)

Yes indeed. Thanks tootsieharveynovels.

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
8th Jun 2016 (#)

Nice share on the legend.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
9th Jun 2016 (#)

Thank you Randhir.

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