Muhammad Ali, dead at 74. Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest of all time. I can remember growing up as a teenager, I was watching one of his clips against Sonny Listen. Boxing. However, a young boxer coming into the game and coming with a mouth on him: “if you want to lose your money, go ahead and bet on Sonny.”

Well, that night, February 26, 1964, there was an upset. Cassius Clay knocked out Sonny Listen. A whole lot of people lost their money.

The thing I liked about The Champ, is how he would get into his opponent’s head, and then knock ’em out. For example, the fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, The Rumble in the Jungle, which aired on ABC’s Wide World of sports. If you watch the fight, you watch how he strategized by using the “rope-a-dope” and tiring out his opponent. The way he knocked Foreman out was so beautiful. It lived up to his later saying “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee … How can you hit something that you cannot see?!”

His resistance of the Vietnam War made a statement. Ali said, and I quote: “No Viet Cong never called me a N*****.” He said that the real war was here in the United States. He said that it was against his religion to fight someone in another country.

There were certain places where African Americans were not allowed to go, such as restaurants, movie theaters or stores. After that, they stripped Ali of his title, stripped him of everything. But I remember the Champ standing up for what he believed in as far as humanity. And, he was the only heavyweight champion to reclaimed his title three times.

He had confidence in himself and was a positive influence in my life as an African American male. That’s what I remember about Muhammad Ali.