Muhammad Ali turns 65

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Legendary boxer and rated as among the best sportspersons ever Muhammad Ali celebrated his 65th birthday on Wednesday.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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New Delhi:

Legendary boxer and rated as among the best sportspersons ever Muhammad Ali celebrated his 65th birthday on Wednesday. Two-and-a-half decades since his last fight, the fans still agree that he was the best. Ali of course was also one of the few sportspersons who thought so about himself and openly said so as well. Five years after he was declared the BBC Sports Personality of the Century, Ali islooking to cash in on his image as the Greatest of All Time, endorsing a snack called exactly that. Ali became the first man to win the world heavyweight title three times. He also won the north American championship besides the gold in the 1960 Rome Olympics, retiring with a 56-5 career win-loss record. Mummad Ali’s famous quotes "What makes him the greatest fighter is that he simply had skills that exceeded anyone's expectations - the fastest, the best, the most positive and they'll never see the likes of him ever again, maybe the world's greatest athlete of all time," said film star Sylvester Stallone. However's Ali's activities outside the ring attracted as much attention. He was jailed for three years after refusing to serve in Vietnam. "I don't remember anybody, except maybe (war hero) Nathan Hale who stood up one man against an entire goverment. Hale was hanged, Ali was acquitted by the Supreme Court," said boxing writer Bert Sugar. Life though was less forgiving. In the early-eighties the Louisville Lip as he was called was diagnosed with Pugilist's Parkinson's Syndrome and now struggles to speak properly. But he still does a lot of for charitable work, especially from the Muhammad Ali Centre in Kentucky. "I received my fame from being controversial. All my life, growing up as a little boy, I always said, if I could get famous, I would do things to help my people that other people won't do," said Ali. His legacy is now carried on by daughter Laila, who is herself a middleweight boxer. The six-foot-three-inch tall Ali had the stature of a giant not just due to his bouts, but also his humanitarian endeavours. He lit the 1996 Atlanta Olympics torch, and at the same Games he was presented with a gold medal to replace the one he had thrown into the Ohio River after being turned away from an all-white restaurant.

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