The Louisville Lip…The People’s Champion is gone.
Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr-Muhammad Ali-died June 3 due to complications with Parkinson’s disease. He was 74.
“Somebody as awesome as he was, it’s always hard to see him fall like that,” said Danny Bazarek, a local boxer at No Joke Inc.
Ali’s charisma and speed helped him dominate for over a decade, holding the title of World Heavyweight Champion for 2,636 days. Ali was much more than just a boxer, having an impact on the Muslim community as well.
“He was a part of building the first mosque that I regularly went to. Al Fateh on 47 and Woodlawn in Chicago. He put a lot of his own money into that building and we needed that at that time so it’s very appreciated,” said Shafeeq Rafeequllah, PR for the Muslim Association of Greater Rockford.
He demonstrated his passion in many other ways, like getting suspended and fined for refusing to serve in the Vietnam War.
“A man that takes a stand and throws his hand against the government and says ‘no, I’m not killing people for your agenda’. Most athletes nowadays would’ve worked something out and that’s the most profound effect he had on my life,” Rafeequllah.
Ali once said “Hating people because of their color is wrong. It doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s wrong.”
“He knew that then when his people-the African American people-where they needed to go at that time….where they needed better unification between all races and all people,” said Rafeequllah.
“He’s a great example of believing in yourself beyond anything else,” said President of No Joke Inc Rich Whitenack.