January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, was born the great Cassius Marcellus Clay. Who would have thought that this boy is destined to change the world of Boxing.
The family of Cassius was representative of the black middle class: Adhesives lived much poorer than white families of the middle class, but were not needy. Cassius Sr. was painted the signs, trying to become a professional artist, and his wife Odessa sometimes to cook and clean in the homes of wealthy white people. Over time their savings was enough to purchase over 4500 dollars a small cottage in a comfortable “black” quarter. Unlike many black peers who had to provide for their families from an early age, Cassius in childhood did not work. He only occasionally worked in the University of Louisville (washed desks and chalkboards) to have pocket money. According to the recollections of the mother, while walking passers-by often asked her, noting that her son could be the next Joe Louis.
In the early 1950-ies in Louisville there was an atmosphere of racial inequality, which greatly influenced the formation of personality 10-year-old Cassius. He later recalled that before going to sleep, cry when I didn’t understand why black people in society believe second-class citizens. His mother told me that one hot day they Cassius was waiting for the bus at the bus stop and she knocked on the door to the nearest cafe to ask for a glass of water for her son, but she refused and closed the door. Perhaps the decisive moment in the formation of the world Cassius was the story of his father about a black teenager Emmett till, who was brutally murdered on the grounds of racial hatred, and boy murderers is justified. Cassius-the senior showed a photo of the mutilated body of Tilla’s sons to explain to them what “white justice”.
The mother of Cassius traced their ancestry back to grandfather-an Irishman Abe Grady. The fact that in her veins flows the blood of the whites, was a source of pride for Odessa, but it was unpleasant for her son, who all his life criticized the racial inequality in the United States. During public speeches, he argued that the white blood in his veins is the blood of rapists, slave owners”, although in fact his Irish ancestor was combined with his black wife in lawful wedlock.
“When I looked at myself in the mirror, I was proud that I see, but there were many black people who didn’t want them to be. Little black boys had no role models. We didn’t have any heroes who looked like us. Even Jesus was always white in the pictures. Then I noticed that all the angels in pictures were white. So one day I asked my mother: “What happens when we die? We get to heaven?”
Glue started Boxing at the age of 12, after he stole a red bike company Schwinn Bicycle Company, which he bought with the money. The next day after the purchase of the Cassius together with a friend went to the fair, where children were treated to free ice cream. Going home, he found that he stole the bike. The glue was very upset and at this point met a white police officer Joe Martin, telling him that beat up whoever stole his bike, Martin said, “Before someone beat, you first need to learn this”. He invited Cassius to the gym, where he trained young boxers, many of whom participated in Amateur tournaments Golden gloves
Young Glue didn’t come to training, but two weeks later he saw Martin and his boxers on TV in the program “Future Champions”. He was attracted by the idea that if he starts to train, your friends can see it on TV, and the next day with his brother Cassius came in the Boxing gym. From the beginning it was difficult to train, Glue constantly bullied with the other kids, announcing to the whole room that he is the best boxer and become world champion. Because of this, Martin had a short time to expel him from the hall. Coaches, with the exception of Fred Stoner, who taught a young boxer to properly perform the jab, I did not see much potential in Cassius.
Six weeks after the first visit to the hall had his debut Amateur fight Cassius. As had hoped Adhesive, the fight was broadcast on television in the program “Future Champions”. His opponent was a white teenager Ronnie O’keefe, both fighters acted in a weight category up to 89 pounds (40,389 kg). Cassius was younger and less experienced, in spite of this, he won by decision. After the announcement of the result, the Adhesive began to shout into the camera that he would become the greatest boxer. From this moment on, every day he was working on Boxing technique and stamina. Most often, instead of a bus trip Cassius preferred a jog to school. He never drank, smoke or did drugs, becoming a fan of healthy eating.
Over the next two years the Glue held for about one fight every three weeks, gaining victory after victory. In 1956 he won the first of his career in the Golden gloves tournament. In 1957 he had to abandon training for four months due to the fact that doctors discovered he had a heart murmur (later it turned out that the heart is in order). At the age of 15 years the Glue has transferred to Central high school of Louisville, the largest school for African Americans in the city. The progress of Cassius was so bad that one day he had to stay for a second year, but thanks to the support of the school Director Atwood Wilson, he was able to finish school. Wilson was impressed by the dedication and hard training of the Glue, and he wanted promising boxer graduated and brought fame to the school. Cassius graduated from school in June 1960, receiving only a certificate of attendance, but no diploma, which is issued upon successful completion of their studies. He will forever remain problems with reading, and the people around him often had him read. By the end of school Glue won 100 wins in the Amateur ring with only 8 defeats. Its main successes are the victory in the “Golden gloves” and in two tournaments Amateur Athletic Union 1959 and 1960. At this time, Cassius began to invent his own unique style of combat. He “danced” around the enemy on his toes with his hands down, causing the opponent to sweeping strike, which steadily declined. This manner caused a lot of negative reviews among coaches and boxers-veterans.
Cassius wanted to become a professional boxer immediately after high school, but the coach persuaded him to wait and take part in the Olympic games of 1960. Thanks to the victory in the competitions of the Amateur Athletic Union, 1960, clay received an invitation to the qualifying tournament for the Olympic games, which took place in San Francisco. Cassius suffered from fear of flying, and the way to the venue of the competition was a real test for him. At age 18 he was the youngest of the participants in the first heavy weight, and perhaps in the entire tournament. Before the competition, the local press wrote several scathing articles on the glue, largely for his boastful manner of communicating, because of this the audience booed him during the second battle in the tournament. Despite this, Cassius confidently defeated all of his opponents before met in the final against boxer Alan Hudson, representing the U.S. army. During the first round of Glue missed the exact shot and fell to the floor, but managed to rise and continue the fight. After an even second round Cassius upped the tempo in the third round and after a clean hit to the head of the enemy conducted the attack, after which the referee stopped the fight. After the competition the Glue threw back the plane ticket, borrowed money from one of the judges of the tournament and went to Louisville on the train.
To participate in the Olympic games Cassius was necessary again to make a flight. When it became clear that it is impossible to sail a ship, he told his coach that refuses to participate in the Olympic games. For Muhammad Ali and convinced him that if he will not fly, it’ll ruin his career. In the end Cassius has agreed to fly, but took precautions — bought a parachute from a military surplus store and flew straight to him. After arriving in Rome the Glue has settled into the Olympic village and immediately became the protagonist of among athletes. He got acquainted with foreigners, told everyone that to win the gold medal, exchanging badges with other Olympians. Many joked that if I had to choose the mayor of the Olympic village, it would become Glue.
Good mood did not leave Cassius and during the competition, he easily defeated his first opponent in the Olympic tournament of the Belgian Yvon BEKO, defeating him by TKO in the second round. In the quarterfinals, clay had met with Soviet boxer Gennady Shadowym. The fight was held under the dictation of Cassius, and the judges unanimously recognized the winner. In the semi-finals the Glue was opposed by a familiar opponent — Australian Tony Madigan (Cassius beat him in 1959). After a tense match Madigan believed himself the winner, but the judges unanimously gave the victory to clay. In the final, was waiting for him experienced fighter Petrikowski Zbigniew from Poland, he was nine years older than Cassius had in his record of 230 fights. Petrikowski started the fight aggressively, trying quickly to finish the fight. In the second round of Glue had to abandon their usual “easy” manner and cause several severe blows to the pole. He didn’t slow down in the final round, spending a quick series of blows, to the end of the match, Zbigniew was backed up against the ropes and close to defeat early, but managed to survive until the final bell. By unanimous decision defeated Cassius clay, a few minutes later he put his neck on the Olympic gold medal.
Before departure in the United States, wherever he went, Cassius appeared everywhere with a medal, he wore it even while sleeping. The mayor of Louisville Bruce Hoblitzell, cheerleaders and hundreds of fans met at the airport Glue. Cassius in a festive motorcade drove to his school, where he would have more fans and a huge banner that says “Welcome home, Champ”. The mayor made a speech, in which he led Adhesive to the example of the youth of the city. When Cassius arrived home, he saw that his father had painted the steps on the front porch in red, white and blue — the colors of the American flag. Cassius Sr. embraced his son and said, “God bless America”. The glue continued to proudly wear his medal, he once went to a restaurant in Louisville — it was a school, which does not serve “coloreds.” He asked for a menu, but he refused and asked to leave, what Cassius pointed his finger at his medal and said that he is the Olympic champion, but he again refused to serve. According to his brother Rahman, the Glue was so upset that he went to the bridge over the Ohio river and threw his medal into the water. At the summer Olympic games of 1996, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, during a break of the basketball match between USA and Yugoslavia, held a presentation ceremony, handing the champion a duplicate lost them medals.
World is a better place thanks to Mohammed Ali. His fame he used to good purpose: helping to secure the release of hostages from Iraq, went to Afghanistan to help the schools. And he often met with sick children around the world, inspiring them to recovery.
At the beginning of the professional career, Cassius had to decide with their Manager. He wanted that to be one of his idols sugar ray Robinson or Joe Louis, but they refused. Robinson was just not interested, but Louis, by nature modest and quiet man, did not want to work with Glue. In the end, managers Cassius were 11 partners who have invested in 2800 dollars each. Glue received 10 000 dollars immediately after signing the contract, the managers also took care of all expenses for flights and athlete training.
Glue debut in professional Boxing took place on 29 October 1960, his opponent was Tunney Hunsaker. Before the fight, Cassius called him a “bum” and said that “it will easily lick”. The glue was prepared for this fight, running two miles every morning and sparring with his brother Rudolf. These exercises helped him to win a landslide victory, but he was never able to finish ahead of 6-round bout. Tunney said after the fight that the Glue will become world champion and that was an honor to fight him in the ring. After this fight Cassius took part in a training camp Archie Moore. The famous champion was training in the hall called “Bucket of blood” on the lawn near which stood several stones, each of which were written the names of the great Champions of the past: Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, ray Robinson and others. Moore could not find the approach to the young athlete, and the Glue did not listen to advice and often teased him, calling him for sparring reigning world champion in the first heavy weight. In the end, Kassius went back to Louisville without waiting for the end of the camp. Meanwhile, his team is looking for an experienced coach, their choice fell on Angelo Dundee. He had the reputation of a good specialist and one of the best treatment of the injuries during the fight. Dundee has agreed to be a mentor to Glue, his salary was $ 125 a week, plus various bonuses. For training with a new coach Cassius moved to Miami. Angelo knew how to behave with Glue, he respected him and didn’t try to control it, but only guided in the right direction. He also didn’t try to silence Cassius mouth, realizing that this part of the show, which attracts spectators.
After a career Mohammed Ali was asked an interesting question during a television show. So he chose in life besides Boxing?
I’ve spent my entire life devoted to Boxing, but I’ll answer: I wanted to be the first black on the moon
Between February and July 1962, the Glue won five times, all the fights ended by knockout no later than the sixth round. In September, he called for the duel for the title of world champion in heavy weight between Sonny Liston and Floyd Patterson. To fight with Patterson in the battle for the title was a childhood dream of Cassius, however, Liston knocked out his opponent in the first round. After the duel, Sonny noticed the Glue and shouted to him: “You’re next, loudmouth!” Another rival of Cassius was Archie Moore, his former mentor. The press and the experts did not give Moore the chance to win, he admitted that he agreed to the fight because of lack of money. Tickets for Boxing night didn’t sell well, and it was decided to be postponed for three weeks. Cassius predicted his victory in fourth round and did everything to the prediction: Moore has fallen into the “right” round, after a few missed blows to the head. After the battle, Archie said, “Clay would beat Joe Louis in four of five fights”
After the fight against Liston Glue has officially announced about its entering the “Nation of Islam”. From now on everyone had to call him Cassius X (the members of the organization refused his name, because he thought that she got them from white slave owners). Malcolm X announced that Cassius will be the most important athlete for black Americans. At a meeting in Chicago Elijah Muhammad, who had conflicting feelings about relations to the “Nation of Islam” with professional athletes, was greeted with joy by the young champion. Two weeks after his joining Cassius X was given a new name, Elijah was awarded champion full Muslim name, which was reserved for the permanent members of the organization. Muhammad accepted the athlete, calling him Muhammad Ali.
Rumble in the jungle
The most famous and important confrontation in world Boxing – fight George foreman with Muhammad Ali. The match was truly in the jungle – the capital of the former Belgian colony of Congo, which was proud to wear the title of native Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), Kinshasa.
This fight was the first for don king as a promoter. No, of course he was not on last roles, but it was the Rumble in the jungle was fully organized them. What king has offered to host the fight in Africa. He agreed with the Zairian dictator Mobutu, and was persuaded to devote to the fight unprecedented at the time $ 12 million (each boxer got $ 5 million). Don also actively talked about the battle in the heart of Africa as if it desire for roots has defined the venue of the fight. Still not appeased Ali. He announced that a fight – the fight for the “big black thing”. Forman only said, “Yes, I’m blacker than him two times”.
Actually it looked pretty funny. Metis (Ali was and Irish blood) from a wealthy family of the Middle West – a black radical. And really black is a black man from the most southern state (George was originally from Texas) from single-parent families with children besides the hooligan past – a patriot of the American dream.
Due to the severe tropical climate, the boxers arrived in Zaire beforehand and spent the whole summer of 1974. Both were actively preparing to fight. Ali but even in the open workouts more stood at the ropes and bravely defended themselves. Then this few people paid attention, but that’s the way it will behave during combat. “George foreman never trying – he just doesn’t know how to do. Instead, he bluntly ground, there is strength,” say Ali before the fight. He obviously was not afraid that his foreman will count. Big George was really only two advantages – the left punch and right punch. But to think in the ring or playing some games there, he could not. This Mohammed did. He gave George plenty of wamahinso, and then said its weighty word.
Tactic that Ali used in this battle, later called rope-a-dope – literally, rope a dope. Mohammed was actually hanging on the ropes, pulling as far as possible in the ring when blows to the head. In this case, when the opponent got tired, Ali spent sharp counterattacks. The same tactics he used in the third fight against Frazier – Thriller in Manila. And exactly this tactic, according to some, was the cause of the development of Mohammed Parkinsonian syndrome. However, doctors say that this syndrome is hereditary, and that not soccerbase never father Ali Cassius Marcellus Glue also after 35 years suffered from this disease. Whatever it was, but to the rope a dope Ali was forced to resort primarily due to the fall speed of the legs. After all the years and the downtime was affected.
Before the fight Ali said: “in a few years when George retires, he will bite his elbows, knocking on the forehead and saying: “Well, a fool I am! Why I contacted this guy?” It seems that here, Mohammed counted George – defeat really broke it. After 3 years the foreman actually retires. However, temporary.
Because of the cut obtained by the foreman in sparring, the fight had to be postponed from September to October 30. But in tropical conditions this means the period of rains and high humidity. Besides, for the convenience of American viewers, the battle took place at 8 o’clock in the morning. Therefore, both fighters are pretty hard to pass the first rounds.
From the second round, Ali hangs on the ropes, and numerous attempts by the judges to hold the ropes together with him without success. While Mohammed holds a very powerful counterattack, especially focusing on the right cross to the head. After the fifth round, foreman’s corner requests to pull the ropes. Angelo Dundee is the idea why you don’t like it, and he starts violently protest. The fight continues on. Foreman after five rounds have been really tired. Ali, by contrast, begins increasingly to attack. After the sixth round, Joe Frazier, commenting on this battle, States that the foreman fights stupid, and Ali – wise. But it is already clear without it.
By the eighth round George had finally vymahal, and, having taken a breather in the seventh round, Ali squeezes out the last juices. Forman, like a machine without a gear box, not able to slow the momentum or to take back. Apparently it did not teach. Ali at the end of the round strikes on the weakened foreman series of blows, the final of which was a powerful right cross. George is on the floor. He manages to get on the score 9, but the judge decides to stop the fight.
Foreman would later say that he had not risen before because of the angle he suggested that the time to recover is still there. Commentators and Boxing will draw attention to the fact that the referee had 9 seconds to count 10. Anyway, George is shaken thoroughly and the victory of Ali is beyond doubt. This is confirmed by the staggering gait of foreman, which he sent to his corner.
After the fight, Ali declared himself the Greatest and said it to 50 years, no one to beat. And the foreman said that he had lost the greatest talker in the world and began in every way to make excuses for this defeat. Ropes, he said, the seconds Ali specially weakened before the fight that Mohammed was easier for them to hang. And in his memoirs, George agreed to the fact that his own corner put something in the water – she’s supposedly a medicinal taste was. However, the aged foreman in a moment of honesty admitted: “Yes he gave me a carved”. Well to lose you should be able, and foreman long studied this art.
But the relationship they have with Ali at the same time, it is not strange, normal. And foreman support Ali’s hands when receiving an Oscar. And the Oscar was for the documentary “When we were kings” about the game. Why that’s only “were”? Kings because the former does not happen.
Muhammad Ali will forever remain in our memory, he changed the world, he changed people in this world. I think many of you in childhood or adolescence created a look that any of us Muhammad Ali shouting into a fighting stance, “I’m Muhammad Ali, I Mohammed Ali”.
The hands work, eyes see. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Thank you Mohammed Ali, and rest in peace Great champion!….