Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.; January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American Olympic and professional boxer and activist. He was widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century.
Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial and polarizing figure both inside and outside the ring. He created ripples in the arena of professional boxing at the tender age of 22, by knocking out heavyweight champion Sonny Liston.
Throughout his career, Ali recorded 56 wins of which 37 came in knockout and 5 losses. The most historic matches were against Liston, Joe Frazier and George Foreman. He became the first and only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion.He was a great boxer and a powerful fighter.
Such was the aura of the man, even in death he was showing us he was The Greatest. This funeral was Ali’s farewell statement to the world. One he had planned meticulously for years and everyone was invited to it.
People came from every continent like pilgrims to a religious gathering to mourn the loss, but also celebrate the life of Ali, who died a week ago , aged 74, after battling Parkinson’s for more than 30 years. The cause of his death was septic shock. He converted to ISLAM.
Tyson, who had at first declined to attend because he was too grief stricken, said during the procession: “God came for his champion. So long great one.”
At the Muhammad Ali Center in a packed Downtown Louisville, the hearse carrying Ali’s burial casket paused for two minutes for silent reflection.Tens of thousands took to the sweltering streets, cheering, applauding, fist-pumping, throwing flowers at Muhammad Ali ’s hearse.
They were kissing it, touching it, shadow boxing with it, running alongside it the way the teenage boxer used to chase buses along the same stretches of tarmac, and filling the hot Kentucky air with a single chant of “Ali, Ali, Ali.”
A shrine outside had mushroomed bearing flowers, signed boxing gloves, butterflies, framed photos, balloons and messages of love from around the world. One stood out: “Farewell to the last Great American Hero.”