To me Muhammad Ali was not only the most recognized athlete in the history of sports but one of the most recognized people in the world during his fighting days.
Boxing people would recognize Floyd Mayweather, Jr., but on a world scale? I don’t think so.
Ali was a trash talker that for the most part backed it up. Calling the round when his opponent would fall was just a part of what Ali was all about. He was an entertainer besides being a boxer. He would pull off magic tricks being a lover of magic at his camp. I would know, for I was at Deer Lake when he did it!
One story has it that Ali’s limo pulled up in Newark, NJ, after seeing 2 gangs fighting one another. When they saw Ali they stopped fighting and ran over to him.
Super star baseball player Joe “The Yankee Clipper” DiMaggio was at a signing show and when Ali entered the room the line ran over to meet him which prompted DiMaggio to leave the room in a huff.
Ali had more of a following in Philly than “Smokin” Joe Frazier did. Prior to their first fight Ali would come in to where Frazier was training with a large crowd following him as Ali reached the gym taunting Frazier to come outside.
During a hostage crisis Ali went to the Middle East and brought back hostages due to his popularity even in the Middle East.
He did many things for many people.
There was and will only be one Muhammad Ali. Few people are known by their first or last name unlike Ali!