have you ever heard of the term the G.O.A.T? … as in the greatest of all time? this is a term that should not be given out easily. you all might have your own opinion of who this is but today i am going to educate you about somebody who in my eyes deserves to own this title. this title isn’t just given to a sportsman or woman because they are “the greatest at what they do” its given to somebody that has not only revolutionized their sport but society inside and outside the sport. that is why i am going to be talking about Cassius Marcellus Clay as some of you may know as Muhammad Ali, somebody who i believe has had a large impact on his sports as well as people and society
Cassius Clay born January 17th 1942 in Louisville Kentucky was not only a champion boxer but a philanthropist and social activist regarded by the whole world as one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. he became a Olympic gold medalist in 1960 and the world heavyweight boxing champion in 1964. at an early age Clay showed that he did not shy away from any fight in or out of the ring, growing up in a segregated environment Clay experienced racial prejudice and discrimination which lead him to become mentally stronger being a big factor contributing to his achievements. at the age of 12 was when Clay’s boxing talent was first discovered by random coincidence when his bike was stolen, Clay told a police officer, Joe Martin that he wanted to beat up the thief, the police officer advised Clay by saying “you’d better learn how to fight before you start challenging people” Joe Martin was a trainer for young boxers at a local gym. Clay started to learn how to spar with Joe Martin, shortly leading on to the start of his boxing career. Clay won his first ever amateur bout by split decision in 1954, then going on to win the 1956 golden gloves tournament. three years later in 1959 he then won the national golden gloves tournament of champions. in 1964 he went up against the favored Sonny Liston, before the fight Clay was taunting Liston with one of his now famous quotes promising to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” in which he lived up to knocking Liston out cold in the 7th round. This triumph inspired him to invent the iconic phrase “i am the greatest”. in 1964 Cassius Clay joined the black Muslim group called the Nation of Islam. born Cassius Marcellus Clay, then decided he wanted to change his name to Muhammad Ali. Ali started a different kind of fight with his controversial and outspoken views against the Vietnam War when he refused to serve the US military, this came with major consequences and threatened his boxing career.
i believe that Muhammad Ali has had a huge impact and influence on his society and culture, by stepping out of his comfort zone to achieve something significant to himself which he strongly values. Ali forced society to confront feelings about civil rights, race, religion and war, even for people who didn’t care about boxing one bit. he set an example of racial pride for African Americans and resistance to white domination during the civil rights movement in 1964 when he changed his name after converting to the religion of Islam, at first he called himself “Cassius X” before settling on the name “Muhammad Ali”. Ali’s motivation to change his name came from his belief that he was no longer a free man being called Cassius Clay, as he quotes “Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name, it means beloved of God, and I insist people use it when people speak to me.”
Muhammad Ali stepped out of his comfort zone once again by starting a different kind of fight to one with his fists with his controversial views against the Vietnam War. in April 1967 Muhammad Ali was classed as eligible for military service and was drafted into the us military. upon his name being called he refused to respond to his name being called Ali was stripped of his champion heavyweight title and fined 10,000 us dollars, now worth 80,000 when drafted into the military in April 1967, but refused to serve on terms that he was a practicing Muslim minister with religious beliefs that prevented him from fighting. he quoted “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong, “They never called me nigger.” according to the Islam religion you are not supposed to take part in war unless declared by Allah the Islamic god. He was then arrested for committing a felony and stripped of his world title and his boxing license was suspended for three years. this demonstrates Ali’s strong beliefs and values by making such a sacrifice and potentially ruin his promising boxing career in order to stay loyal and truthful to his belief and religion, by having this strong willed mind is what made him have such a powerful impact on not only his society but on the generations to come.
after a long legal trial and his appeal against his original conviction Ali’s boxing license was restored. this allowed him to make a return to the boxing world and show everyone that he really is the greatest of all time. ali came back to the world of boxing ready to reclaim his title. off to a bad start, he lost his first fight back, “The Fight of the Century” which took place between Ali and Joe Frazier. Frazier won by a unanimous decision after 15 rounds. this bout was Ali’s first ever defeat of his pro career. not ready to give up Ali and Frazier have a rematch, this time through Ali’s determination he won in 12 rounds. ready to assert his dominance Ali took on Frazier for a third and time, beating Frazier by TKO in the 14th round in what is known as “The Thrilla in Manila”. from there the victory’s kept coming, in the famed “Rumble in the Jungle” when Ali knocks out the two time heavyweight champion George Foreman in the eighth round. in 1978 after defeating Micheal Spinks Ali had not only reclaimed his title but become the first ever three time world heavyweight champion. this is a true example of Ali’s hard work and determination shown by his will to never give up and always fight to be where he belongs.
from my speech i hope for you to have gained not only an understanding of the term G.O.A.T and why Muhammad Ali deserves to own this title, but have learnt that possessing such strong morals and values as well as characteristics such a mental strength, will power and determination like Muhammad Ali did you really can have an impact on the people and society around you, and hopefully encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and stand up for special something you believe in. whether it have a big or small impact is irrelevant because at the end of the day your doing it for greater good of yourself.