In 1964, Muhammad Ali still Cassius Clay, had just turned 22 and had accomplished the impossible. He beat the unbeatable Sonny Liston, a man who hadn’t lost a fight in ten years. The odds against him were 7 to 1. One New York Times sports writer was ordered by his editor to drive back and forth between the arena where the match was held and the nearest emergency room– because they were sure that Liston would put Ali in the hospital.
Instead, the young Ali put Sonny Liston on the ground. Perhaps the most iconic image of this most-photographed-man-on-the-planet is that of him, “Roaring like a lion over Sonny Liston,” says President Barack Obama, who shared in a public statement upon Ali’s passing.
He lived the rest of his life doing the impossible, saying the unthinkable, and accomplishing the unbelievable. The most famous Muslim on the planet that became exactly who he said he was – The Greatest.