Muhammad Ali Center
Русская версия On June 3, 2016, Muhammad Ali, the famous athlete and a person of difficult fate died. Many of us have probably heard about Ali, but not so many heard about his life. Two years ago, Victor visited the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville (Kentucky), where one of the greatest boxer Cassius Marcellus Clay was born. Why he became Ali, what difficulties this famous person experienced, what was he doing when his career ended? Today we pay a tribute to this great Champion and try to answer these questions through a description of his museum.
144 North Sixth Street | Louisville, KY 40202 | tel. 502.584.9254.
Operation hours: Sunday 12 noon – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Price 4-9 euros
Сreative works of Ali.
First of all, you can watch a movie about the famous boxer; while waiting for the movie to start, you can get acquainted with the creative works of Ali.
After the movie, you enter into the museum, which introduces you into the detailed biography of the boxer. I will mention a few interesting facts.
The future nightmare and icon of many boxers was born at January 17, 1942 in Louisville. Cassius Jr. came to boxing by accident. In October 1954, his new bicycle had been stolen. The officer who investigated the case, Joe Martin, who was at the same time a director of the boxing section. Furious Cassius threatened to beat up the thief, and when Joe Martin asked, “And do you know how to do it?” he replied, “No, but I’d fight anyway!” Joe Martin invited Cassius to the gym. After six weeks in boxing, Cassius appeared on TV in the “Future Champions” show.
His career started to rise rapidly and, as a result, Cassius won Olympic champion title in 1960. He was so proud of the medal and always carried it around. But even this medal could not help him to receive service in a bar once in Louisville – they refused because he was black. After that, Champion threw his medal into the river, but did not stop to work hard. You can find the replica of the bar and the text of his dialog with the bartender in Ali Center too.
Countless victories in professional boxing came, which allowed him to hold the title of absolute champion for seven years (1964-1966, 1974-1978). Cassius was bold in the ring, he often defied the opponents and did a lot of loud statements in public about his greatness. Nevertheless, there were difficult moments and controversial decisions in his own life. For example, in 1964, Cassius joined the “Nation of Islam” organization and changed his name to Cassius X and then to Muhammad Ali, causing a bunch of rumors, the proposals to deprive him of championships, etc. All of this did not prevent Muhammad Ali from staying in the ring and winning.
Ali and Vietnam.
Another barrier appeared for his career when Ali was called to serve in Vietnam. Ali refused to serve and, as a result, the Boxing Association banned Ali and deprived him of his Champion title. Then new hearings and appeals began and got to the Supreme Court of the United States. During this time, Ali was making money as he could – mostly he lectured at colleges, where he found support among the students, who were also against the war. By the way, in the center there is an exhibition dedicated to the Vietnam campaign, which I found surprising. After all, Ali was against it…
In 1971, the US Supreme Court satisfied the Ali’s appeal and brought him back to the ring. The second part of the career included new challenges and new fights for the championship, which got loud titles like “Fight of the Century” “Super Fight II” with Frazier, “The Rumble in the Jungle” with Foreman or “The Thrilla in Manila” with Frazier again. You can watch these and others fights from the screens in Ali Center.
After that, you will obviously want to box too. Moreover, you have a unique opportunity to step into the ring, and get some video lesson from the Champion’s daughter – Leyla Ali Amariah. She is an undefeated champion in women’s professional boxing.
Then you are ready to work with a punch ball or even to fight a shadow.
Also, the museum is filled with a variety of artifacts
and boards quoting both Ali and his contemporaries, like this
The career of the greatest boxer ended in 1980, and four years later he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome. However, Ali continued to fight outside of the ring. He has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for 10 years, visited Iraq and Afghanistan. In 1996, he lighted the Olympic flame in Atlanta – I clearly remember this moment. If you know what kind of illness he had, you will realize how hard it was for the athlete.
For me, the most touching and astonishing artefact was a picture painted by Ali in 2010. He donated it to a charity auction to raise funds for the United Nations World Food Programme.
10.06.2016 Muhammad Ali’s funeral took a place in his hometown of Louisville.
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