“I am the greatest,” Mohammad Ali said not once so many times, but then who could doubt a man who won the World Heavyweight Championship three times?
His outspoken support for civil rights endeared him to millions of people across the world.
He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, on 17 January 1942, the son of a sign painter. He was named after a prominent 19th Century abolitionist.
His father painted only signs but his son put his name, up there, as assuredly as stars come out at night to dazzle us.
Hang up your gloves with the rest,-
By Mintaka the belt ‘mong triple Orion;
You outgrew mean men and laws of the test,-
Crow has his color but you have your talon!
Evermore be at your rest from calumny of rooks.