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Muhammad Ali, 1942 - 2016

 

A young upstart from Louisville

Won the heavyweight crown,

And in Nineteen sixty four 

 Turned boxing upside down.

He fought The Bear, Sonny Liston,

Until then an opponent of dread;

Instead of predicted defeat

The Bear was beaten instead.

 

With the face of an Adonis,

 Build  of a Greek God,

 Mind of a poet, combination 

The world found odd,

He "floated like a butterfly

Stung like bee"

And in the boxing ring

A delight to see.

 

 A man of principle

Whose beliefs were strong,

He challenged the world

Instead of quietly going along.

He refused to fight in Vietnam, 

Without any sense of shame

Though he suffered vilification, 

Disgrace poured on his name.
 

He weathered the storm

Went on the attack

And with devastating force

Won respect and title back.

A fighter for the poor, 

 Underprivileged, needy,

An example of charity in 

A world materialistic and greedy.

 

Wrecked by diseased 

He remained dignified to the last:

Today we learned this legend

Had so quietly passed.

From outcast to statesman

He worked as years slipped by,

His praise will be written

By far better men than I.

 

Overcoming discrimination to

Become a much respected man,

Showed with determination 

He who wants to do really can.

He said "I am the greatest," and,

From this man of Uncommon stuff,

Let his own words be 

Epitaph enough,



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Muhammad Ali, 1942 - 2016