Muhammad Ali, the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who helped define his turbulent times as the most charismatic and controversial sports figure of the 20th century, died on Friday. He was 74.
His death was confirmed by Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman.
Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.
But he was more than the sum of his athletic gifts. An agile mind, a buoyant personality, a brash self-confidence and an evolving set of personal convictions fostered a magnetism that the ring alone could not contain. He entertained as much with his mouth as with his fists, narrating his life with a patter of inventive doggerel. (“Me! Wheeeeee!”)
Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition.
Loved or hated, he remained for 50 years one of the most recognizable people on the planet.
LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. used his speed and accuracy to win a unanimous decision Saturday night over a game Miguel Cotto in one of his toughest fights ever. Mayweather dominated late, rocking Cotto in the 12th round to pull out a win and remain unbeaten in 43 fights. But it wasn’t easy, with Mayweather getting his nose bloodied and Cotto fighting until the final bell. Two judges scored the fight 117-111 and the third had it 118-110. The Associated Press had Mayweather winning 116-112. “You’re a hell of a champion,” Mayweather told Cotto in the ring afterward. “You’re the toughest guy I ever fought.” Fighting just a few weeks before he enters a county jail to serve a three-month sentence for domestic abuse, Mayweather found himself in a tough fight against a game opponent who never stopped moving forward. But he was faster and more accurate than Cotto and seemed to wear him down in the final rounds. In the last round, Mayweather landed his best punch of the night, a left uppercut that seemed to hurt Cotto. He followed that with several flurries to the head to wrap up a decision that until the later rounds had been in doubt. The decision was roundly booed by the crowd at the MGM Grand arena, which cheered wildly every time Cotto landed a punch. “He’s a tough competitor,” Mayweather said. “He came to fight, he didn’t just come to survive. I dug down and fought him back.” Mayweather, who was guaranteed $32 million, was forced to fight every minute of all 12 rounds against the Puerto Rican champion. He did it after weighing in at 151 pounds, the heaviest he has ever been for a fight.
Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/06/floyd-mayweather-jr-vs-miguel-cotto-fight-decision_n_1487087.html