This article originally appeared at the TampaBay.com
By Times Staff
He was fast of fist and foot — lip, too — a heavyweight champion who promised to shock the world and did. He floated. He stung. Mostly he thrilled, even after the punches had taken their toll and his voice barely rose above a whisper.
He was the Greatest.
Muhammad Ali died Friday at age 74, according to a statement from the family. He was hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier this week, and his children gathered around him.
“It’s a sad day for life, man. I loved Muhammad Ali, he was my friend. Ali will never die,” Don King, who promoted some of Mr. Ali’s biggest fights, told the Associated Press early Saturday. “Like Martin Luther King his spirit will live on, he stood for the world.”
With a wit as sharp as the punches he used to “whup” opponents, Mr. Ali dominated sports for two decades before time and Parkinson’s, triggered by thousands of blows to the head, ravaged his magnificent body, muted his majestic voice and ended his storied career in 1981.
Ali won and defended the heavyweight championship in epic fights in exotic locations, spoke loudly on behalf of blacks, and famously refused to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War because of his Muslim beliefs.
As a boxer, Ali was responsible for some of the most memorable moments in sports: from winning Olympic gold in 1960, defeating Sonny Liston, the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manilla to his surprising appearance at the torchlighting for the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Here is a look back at Ali over the past six decades.
Associated Press (1960)
A trio of U.S. boxers wear gold medals at the Olympic village in Rome, on Sept. 6, 1960. From the left are: Wilbert McClure of Toledo, Ohio, light middleweight; Cassius Clay of Louisville, KY, light heavyweight; and Edward Crook of Fort Campbell, KY, middleweight.
Associated Press (1963)
Muhammad Ali in 1963, back when he was still known as Cassius Clay.
Associated Press (1964)
Sugar Ray Robinson, left, and Cassius Clay (who would later change his name to Muhammad Ali), right, gesture like champs on the way to the dressing room after Clay’s technical knockout victory in the seventh round over heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in Miami Beach on Feb. 25, 1964 photo.
Associated Press (1965)
Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is held back by referee Joe Walcott, left, after Ali knocked out challenger Sonny Liston in the first round of their title fight May 25, 1965, in Lewiston, Maine. The bout produced one of the strangest finishes in boxing history as well as one of sports’ most iconic moments.
Associated Press (1967)
Muhammad Ali, the deposed world heavyweight boxing champion, told an anti-war rally at the University of Chicago on May 11, 1967, that there is a difference between fighting in the ring and fighting in Vietnam.
Associated Press (1972)
Muhammad Ali, former world heavyweight boxing champion, toys with the finely combed hair of television sports commentator Howard Cosell before the start of the Olympic boxing trials on Aug. 7, 1972, in West Point, N.Y.
Associated Press (1973)
Muhammad Ali, right, winces as Ken Norton hits him with a left to the head in their scheduled 12-round rematch on Sept. 10, 1973, at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Associated Press (1974)
Muhammad Ali is seen training Oct. 9, 1974, for his world championship fight against title holder George Foreman in Zaire.
Associated Press (1974)
The Rumble in the Jungle, in Kinshasa, Zaire on the night of Oct. 30, 1974, pitted the undefeated world heavyweight champion George Foreman against challenger Muhammad Ali, the former champion. Ali won.
Associated Press (1974)
Foreman goes down for a 10-count after taking a series of hits from Ali in the eighth round of the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire on Oct. 30, 1974.
Associated Press (1975)
Muhammad Ali throws a right at Joe Frazier in the 13th round in their title bout in Manila, Philippines, on Oct. 1, 1975. It was, Muhammad Ali would later say, the closest thing to death he had ever known. He and Joe Frazier had gone 14 brutal rounds in stifling heat off a Philippines morning before Frazier trainer Eddie Futch mercifully signaled things to an end, his fighter blind and battered and feeling pretty close to death himself. The Thrilla in Manilla still lives in sporting lore.
Associated Press (1978)
Muhammad Ali, a noted mouthpiece of the boxing world, has to listen here as heavyweight champion Leon Spinks has the floor for a word during their contract signing in New Orleans on April 11, 1978. The fighters would meet that Sept. 15 in the Superdome.
Associated Press (1978)
Under the eyes of his conditioner Lloyd Wells, left and his masseur Luis Sarria, Muhammad Ali endures one of the 300 daily sit-ups that are part of his exercise routine.
Associated Press (1981)
Trying to regain the spotlight as a boxer is no easy task for the 39-year-old former champion Muhammad Ali. Here, Ali works out with a heavy bag during his training session in December 1981 in preparation for a fight against Trevor Berbick.
Associated Press (1982)
Boxers Muhammad Ali, left, and Sugar Ray Leonard, right, put their arms around trainer Angelo Dundee.
Associated Press (1996)
Muhammad Ali watches as the flame climbs up to the Olympic torch during the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics on July 19, 1996, in Atlanta.
Associated Press (1996)
Muhammad Ali kisses the gold medal that replaced the 1960 gold medal he lost. The replacement was presented during ceremonies at the Centennial Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta on Aug. 3, 1996.
Associated Press (2005)
President George W. Bush presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to boxer Muhammad Ali in the East Room of the White House on Nov. 9, 2005.
Associated Press (2006)
Muhammad Ali attends the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson’s benefit gala on Nov. 11. 2006, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
Associated Press (2009)
Muhammad Ali unveils a monument on Sept. 1, 2009, in Ennis, Ireland, where his great grandfather used to live. Ali was visiting the United Kingdom and Ireland to promote his various charities.
Associated Press (2012)
Muhammad Ali, right, celebrates his 70th birthday next to his longtime trainer Angelo Dundee, at a fundraiser for the Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., on Jan. 14, 2012.
Photo by Jeff Julian (2012)
Three-time heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, center, and his wife, Lonnie Ali, left, attend Angelo Dundee’s funeral on Feb. 10, 2012, at the Countryside Christian Center in Clearwater. Dundee, who died of a heart attack at 90 years old, trained Muhammad Ali and also worked with 15 other world champions during a six-decade career.
Getty Images (2012)
Muhammad Ali attends the Sports For Peace Fundraising Ball on July 25, 2012, in London.
Associated Press (1965)
Perspiration beads the face of world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali shown in training for his May 25, 1965, fight with Sonny Liston at Lewiston, Maine.
Toward an honest commemoration of the American War in Vietnam
The Full Disclosure campaign is a Veterans For Peace effort to speak truth to power and keep alive the antiwar perspective on the American war in Viet Nam — which is being commemorated during this decade with a series of 50th anniversary events. Full Disclosure represents a clear alternative to the Pentagon’s current efforts to sanitize and mythologize that war, and to thereby legitimize further unnecessary and destructive wars.
May 1970 – A Gallup poll shows that 56% of the public believe that sending troops to Vietnam was a mistake, 61% of those over 50 expressed that belief compared to 49% of those between the ages of 21–29.
Cambodian President Lon Nol’s army and police round up and shoot thousands of Vietnamese in Cambodia; others are placed in concentration camps. Eventually Lon Nol allows for the emigration of 300,000 Vietnamese to the RVN.
The U.S. Army issues new regulations allowing mustaches and sideburns.
May 1 – A combined force of 15,000 U.S. and ARVN soldiers attack NVA (PAVN or VPA) supply bases inside neutral Cambodia. The Cambodian government was not informed in advance of the attack. Throughout this offensive, NVA and the NLF carefully avoid large-scale battles and instead withdraw westward, further into Cambodia (centered in Kratie), leaving behind their base camps containing stores of weapons and ammunition. Kissinger staffers, William Watts, Anthony Lake, Laurence Lynn, and Roger Morris, resign over the invasion. In response to Watt’s resignation, Kissinger snaps, “Your views represent the cowardice of the Eastern establishment.”
President Nixon calls anti-war students “bums blowing up campuses.”
May 2 – American college campuses erupt in protest over the invasion of Cambodia.
When the press reports the secret U.S.-led invasion of Cambodia and the subsequent massive air strikes in that country, Alexander Haig, military aide to Henry Kissinger, notes that New York Times reporter William Beecher has been asking ‘suspiciously’ well-informed questions about the operation. Beecher’s latest story also alerts Defense Secretary Melvin Laird to the bombings (Laird has been kept out of the loop on the bombings). Haig tells the FBI he suspects a “serious security violation” has taken place, and receives four new wiretaps: on Beecher; Laird’s assistant Robert Pursley; Secretary of State William Rogers’s assistant Richard Pederson; and Rogers’s deputy, William Sullivan.
A total of 470 reservists sign an antiwar petition in the New Republic.
May 4 – At Kent State University in Ohio, National Guardsmen shoot and kill four student protesters and wounded nine. The four murdered students are Jeffrey Glenn Miller, Allison B. Krause, William Knox Schroeder, and Sandra Lee Scheuer. The Kent State incident attracts national and later worldwide media attention by way of dramatic photographs published in Newsweek; Time, and Life magazines. In response to the shootings, over 450 high schools, colleges and universities across America are shut down. More than 4 million students participate in the only national student strike in U.S. history. In Washington, 100,000 protesters surround various government buildings including the White House. Police ring the White House with buses to block the demonstrators from getting too close to the executive mansion President Nixon pays a late night surprise visit to the Lincoln Memorial to speak with young protesters-to little effect.
May 5 – Speaking in support of the Kent State shootings, Governor Ronald Reagan (R-CA) says of efforts to stop student protests on university campuses, “If it takes a bloodbath, then let’s get it over with.”
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (VCP) Lê Duẩn visits Soviet leader Brezhnev in Moscow. This is part of the developing diplomatic struggle between the Soviet Union, China, the DRV, the RVN, Cambodia, and the U.S.
May 7 – The American Federation of State, City, and Municipal Employees (AFCSME) calls for immediate U.S. withdrawal. Walter Reuther, UAW President, telegrams President Nixon condemning the war.
May 8 – The Hard Hat Riot in New York City: The riot starts around noon when about 200 construction workers mobilized by the New York State AFL-CIO attack some 1,000 college and high school students and others who are protesting the May 4th Kent State shootings, the Vietnam War, and the April 30th announcement by President Richard Nixon of the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. The Hard Hat Riot, breaking out first near the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street in Lower Manhattan, soon spills into New York City Hall, and lasts approximately two hours. More than 70 people, including four policemen, are injured on what became known as “Bloody Friday.” Six people are arrested.
May 11 – Lê Duẩn visits Mao in Beijing; they had not met since the mid-1960s, where Lê Duẩn allows that the situation in Southeast Asia is “complicated and there exist some difficulties.
May 13 – Project Pursestrings organized by Sam Brown and Mike Brewer in which hundreds of student lobbyists came to Congress for the McGovern-Hatfield ‘end the war’ amendment.
May 14-15 – At Jackson State University in Mississippi a student demonstration against U.S. policies in Vietnam and Cambodia, the killings at Kent State, as well as unequal and dehumanizing treatment—particularly racial intimidation and harassment by white motorists traveling Lynch Street, a major thoroughfare that divides the campus and links West Jackson to downtown. The combined force of police and National Guardsmen fire on the protestors. Two students are killed–a junior studying pre-law– Phillip L. Gibbs and a high school senior, James Earl Green, who had stopped to view the protest on his way home from his job at a grocery store. Eleven others are seriously injured.
May 15-16 – Armed Forces’ Day demonstrations against the war are staged at 12 Army and Marine Corps installations and 5 Air Force and Navy bases, with thousands of GIs participating.
At Fort Lewis, Washington, on May 15-16, there are demonstrations outside the gates of Fort Lewis in the town of Tillicum, drawing around 60 GIs and 200 civilians.
May 16-17 – Indonesian Foreign Minister Adam Malik convenes the Asia-Pacific Conference on the Cambodian Question, which is hostile to Sihanouk and the Vietnamese Communists. While the DRV and the RVN are invited, the PRG is not.
May 18 – An estimated 150,000 pro-war protesters march without opposition through the streets of downtown Manhattan. Some workers in surrounding buildings show their support by showering the marchers with ticker tape.
A full-page ad in the San Francisco Examiner calling for immediate withdrawal is signed by 451 labor leaders.
May 19 – Operation Freedom Deal, a prolonged and extensive U.S. bombing mission against NVA (PAVN or VPA) and Khmer Rouge forces in Cambodia is launched. Some raids consist of up to 120 warplanes.
The National GI Alliance is formed.
May 21-26 – A Gallup poll shows that 56% of the public believe that sending troops to Vietnam was a mistake, 61% of those over 50 agree compared to 49% of those between the ages of 21–29.
May 26 – Destroyer USS Anderson leaving for Vietnam from San Diego breaks down and suffers over $200,000 in property damage, delaying its arrival by several weeks; later investigation finds sabotage as cause.
May 28 – The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia was incorporated in the District of Columbia on May 28, 1970. The League’s origins date to groups created by Sybil Stockdale and a group of POW/MIA wives in California, as well as POW/MIA wives in the Hampton, Virginia area led by Evelyn Grubb and Mary Crowe, in 1967.
May 29-31 – National GI antiwar conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
2016 National Book Award Finalist, Viet Thanh Nguyen:
“All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory . . . . Memory is haunted, not just by ghostly others but by the horrors we have done, seen, and condoned, or by the unspeakable things from which we have profited.”