Behind The Booth: Muhammad Ali & Booth 7

Behind The Booth: Muhammad Ali & Booth 7
Muhammad Ali (1942 – 2016), born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky, was more than just a boxer; he was a global icon, an activist, and a symbol of resilience and courage. His life journey, both inside and outside the ring, continues to inspire millions around the world.

Ali burst onto the boxing scene in the 1960s with his lightning speed, dazzling footwork, and unparalleled charisma. He won the Olympic gold medal in boxing at the age of 18 in 1960, foreshadowing the greatness that was to come. Rising through the ranks of professional boxing, he became the heavyweight champion of the world in 1964 after defeating Sonny Liston in a stunning upset. It was after this victory that he famously declared, "I am the greatest!"

Beyond his athletic prowess, Ali was known for his outspokenness and unwavering commitment to his beliefs. He converted to Islam in 1964, changing his name to Muhammad Ali, and refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War, citing religious reasons and his opposition to the conflict. This decision cost him his boxing titles and led to a legal battle that lasted years, but he was eventually allowed to return to his profession.

Ali's impact extended far beyond boxing. He used his platform to advocate for civil rights, humanitarian causes, and global peace. His eloquence, wit, and magnetic personality made him a beloved figure worldwide. In later years, Ali battled Parkinson's disease, but he remained a beacon of hope and resilience until his passing in 2016.

Ali was a regular visitor to the Steer, dining in Booth 7 with Venko as his server. We were honored to host his 80th birthday dinner and celebrate with a legendary icon. After his passing, Venko brought in a red rose every day for a week to set on his table. His family still comes and sits in his booth to this day.

Image credits:
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons