Muhammad Ali: Winner Strategy
The 1960’s was a time of change. There was the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, and then there was the anti-vietnam war movement. That was where the U.S. drafted youth men and forced them to go to war. One of those men was Cassius Clay. When I say the name Cassius Clay, you probably don’t recognize it. Well what if I told you he was a olympic gold medalist, won the heavyweight title three times, and is recognised as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Born Cassius Clay Jr., in 1942, he would soon change his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964. But let’s backtrack a little bit. Muhammad Ali was born and raised in the heart of the south, Louisville, Kentucky. So how did Muhammad get into his passion of boxing? His bicycle. Yes, just a plain old red and white bicycle. When his bicycle was stolen, he reported it to a police officer who also happened to be a boxing trainer. Muhammad was only 12 years old then. Either way, that police officer took him under his wing and what do you know-six weeks later, Muhammad had one his first fight in a split decision. According to history.com, “By age 18, Muhammad had captured two national Golden Gloves titles, two Amateur Athletic Union national titles and 100 victories against eight losses.
After graduating high school, he traveled to Rome and won the light heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics”. On October 29th, 1960, he won his first professional boxing match. That was the start of a long journey ahead of him. He finally got his chance to claim the heavyweight title on February 25, 1964 against the heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston. But one of Muhammad’s best tactics was to taunt his opponents before and during the fight. When it came to facing Sonny Liston, he said he would win in a knockout before the fight and used his famous quote “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. Muhammad won and was crowned the new champion. Now the reason why Ali changed his name in 1964, was because of his conversion to Islam. Here comes the part that drastically changed his career and peoples view of him. After being drafted to go to Vietnam and serve, Ali refused to go claiming it was against his religion and that he was a conscientious objector. He quote on quote said “I am a member of the Muslims and we don’t go to no wars unless they are declared by Allah himself.” He did not win and was stripped of his heavyweight title and and was not allowed to box professionally for three years, which was right during the prime of his career. After 43 months of no boxing, Ali finally returned and knocked out Jerry Quarry. He then experienced his first professional lost in 1961 in what was called “The fight of the century” against Joe Frazier. When he was 32, he was given an opportunity to reclaim the heavyweight title against George Foreman who was 25.
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Ali decided to go to Africa and come up with a strategy to beat Foreman. It was called the “rope-a-dope” strategy. The strategy was for him to lean against the ropes and have Forman continue to throw big pouches at him so he would eventually tire out. It payed off as Ali won in an 8th round knockout. Muhammad Ali is one of the most influential athletes of all time because he stood up for what he believed in even when it took away the things he loved. He never gave up.