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Lord of the Ring
Muhammad Ali is the greatest boxer of all time -- perhaps the greatest sportsman of his time.
When Ali spoke, people sat up and listened (though he later admitted that half the things he said was only for promotion's sake).
He taunted opponents, chanted rhymes, made up poems while on the hop.
When he 'danced under the light', people sat up and believed.
His lightening speed and strength inside the boxing ring was other-worldly. And it was he who brought out the sport from a mob-run enterprise, relayed the beauty of boxing's violence, to capture the imagination of sporting fans throughout the world.
He was also a black champion, a religious convert, an anti-war symbol, a defiant hero and, as he proclaimed, 'the onliest of boxing's poet laureates.'
On his 65th birthday today, January 17, we salute this most incredible man.
Text: Deepti Patwardhan and Ivan Crasto
Photographs: Getty Images
Design: Imran Shaikh