Posted By: Michael Cecchin

Muhammad Ali is looked upon as arguably the greatest Heavyweight Champion in Boxing history, and the most iconic figure in American sports history. He overcame odds and battles that most athletes wouldn’t dare to challenge with a voice of opinion that had sports analysts in frenzy and his fans always at the edge of their seats. He held the Heavyweight Title three different times, all with a different story and feel, with a fighting style never before seen. However, it was what he did and said outside of the ring and his bouts that pushed his heroic status through the roof.

From the beginning of his career Ali was never afraid to speak his mind when it came to his religion and beliefs.  A proud member of the Muslim community, he was proud of his people and was a key role in the Black Movement in the mid to late 1960’s. His most infamous moment outside of the ring came during the Vietnam War when he declined his role in the American Military and request to be sent over seas into battle. Ali’s act of courage in denying such a role had many Americans change their outlook and views of the war and support the champ.

Ali had a historic boxing career and since his retirement has had a historic role as a humanitarian and devout Muslim. Just like the many monsters he met in the ring, he has never backed down when it comes to lending his name and presence to poverty relief and education opportunities for those who seek it the most. A proud promoter of adoption and respect amongst one another, Ali has helped provide over 22 million meals to feed the hungry.

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984 the world has watched this once magnificent athlete deteriorate in health and become a shell of his former self. He however has never let this slow him down as a public figure and humanitarian as he recently paid a visit to the Chicago White Sox with his wife, Yolanda Ali, to stress the importance of athletes giving back to their communities. Ali who had appeared on behalf of Athletes for Hope, was presented with a White Sox jersey reading “Champ” along with the number 40, commemorating the 40th anniversary of Ali’s fight with rival Joe Frazier. White Sox manager and personal friend, Kenny Williams, presented the jersey.

Muhammad Ali was and always will be a true champion in and outside the ring. He has used his name to the advantage, more than any other athlete, to help those in need and at times have no one to look up to. He was the people’s champion, a voice for anyone who couldn’t be heard, he was the voice of reason and touched anyone who crossed his path or saw him through their TV sets across the world.

To learn more about what Muhammad Ali is doing or has done in the community, visit http://www.alicenter.org/Pages/default.aspx

To learn more about Parkinson’s disease, visit http://parkinsoninfo.org/?gclid=CMr0otDrl6gCFYje4AodDWpmCw

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