English 9H- Period 3
22 April 2011
How would you classify a legend? Can it be one of true power and ability? Greatness can be deemed to those who own a true ability that makes them superior to others. Greatness was a young Cassius Clay who took a path of disciplined violence at an early age. Greatness is a man that dares to carry the name of famed, inspirational figure. Greatness is a soul whose potent actions leave a mark in the hearts of a growing generation. This man's bold, fearless nature has allowed him to shape his legacy through a fighting career and impact the feuding issues of our modern society. Greatness is all of these things. Greatness is Muhammad Ali.
Before his remarkable career, the man we know today was first known as Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior. Clay had the desire to fight at such a young age which ultimately allowed him to step foot in the fast-paced world of boxing. Ali had stated that his initial motivation to fight was when someone had stolen his bicycle (Myers 5). Enraged, the young fighter vowed to punish the thief. The officer who he had reported the incident to led him to boxing trainer, Joe Martin. The amateur slugger wasted no time jumpstarting his career. Clay had taken the gold medal in the light heavyweight division of the 1960 Summer Olympics in Italy's capital (Hauser, "Muhammad Ali"). As more victories had stacked, the up and coming fighter took on more serious matters and entered a professional boxing career.
The professional world that the boxer dove into seemed to adapt to him, rather than he adapting to it. A streak of W's lit up his global profile and he became an eye-catcher in every moment he had stridden into the ring. Every great man has his influence, and Cassius had a few. Clay was strongly influenced by Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad (Hauser, "Muhammad Ali"). These men helped to sculpt a man of violence into a tamed beast. Their teachings helped the boxer to maintain the attitude and soulful insight that he portrays in life. Clay's role models aided and guided him through an imperfect world. Adversities, that were a daily hassle, were eased as the man named Cassius Clay Jr. remembered the words of his mentors. Malcolm X once said, "We declare our right on this earth...to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary." Elijah Muhammad was an equal contributor to Clay, as he taught him the importance of self-preservation. As Cassius absorbed all these philosophies, he was moved. His heart desired a metamorphosis. (Hamid, "The Dancing Master").
His surprises were not a surprise to the cheering crowds, but a shocking revelation was of the name Muhammad Ali. The announcement from the prized fighter rattled in the nations' heads. He had converted to an Islamic religion and from now, until his death, be known as a Black...