Muhammad Ali, legendary prize-fighter was hospitalized in an undisclosed location on Saturday with a mild case of pneumonia. Ali, 72, is a national icon who has had a number of health scares as of late, according to his brother.
Ali’s spokesperson, Bob Gunnell, told reporters that the champ’s prognosis is good and a full recovery is expected. According to Gunnell the ex-boxer has a mild case of pneumonia that is being treated and it was only “…a short [hospital] stay.”
In a follow-up statement, the spokesman stated that the 72-year-old, who was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1984, is undergoing treatment by a personal team of physicians. He is in stable condition. Gunnell says because the pneumonia was treated in its earlier stages, Ali is looking forward to soon getting back to normal. But “at this time the Ali family respectfully requests [some] privacy.”
Muhammad Ali was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay. At the youthful age of 18, the charismatic boxer took home an Olympic gold medal after winning his class in the light-heavyweight division. Clay became a world heavyweight champion after beating then heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in 1964.
Months later Clay converted to the religion of Islam. He then changed his name to Muhammad Ali to embrace his spiritual rebirth to the Islamic faith. Ali, largely recognized as the best fighter to step into a ring finished his career with a (56-5) record and just under 40 knockouts. He was the first boxer ever to be crowned heavyweight champion three times.
The outspoken former champion is also known for his political stance against the war in Vietnam. He took this stance due his religious convictions, Ali also resisted the draft and did not go to war in Vietnam. After a legendary amateur and professional boxing career, Ali retired from the fight-game in 1981. Three year later it was announced he had Parkinson’s, a disease that reflects the slow degeneration of nerve cells responsible for body movements.
Muhammad Ali hospitalized has started some buzz as to the champs overall physical condition, which has created additional questions among fans concerned about the aging Ali. The ex-boxer’s questionable health has gradually become a popular topic during recent months despite Gunnell’s claims.
Muhammad’s brother, Rahman Ali told those in attendance at a recent private showing of I Am Ali, a documentary about the life and times of Muhammad, that his brother almost never leaves home anymore. Rahman went on to say his brother had increasing difficulty with speech and his health was worsening.
After learning about what Rahman told fans at the publicity event, Muhammad got busy tweeting replies regarding his health. In his charismatic style the champ tweeted, “Feeling great! Do not believe the hype.”
Then approximately two weeks after the private viewing, on Oct. 31, Muhammad Ali made an appearance on the University of Louisville campus to watch a football game between the Louisville Cardinals and the Florida State Seminoles. Sources close to the Ali family claim he even traveled to Las Vegas earlier this month to watch his grandson’s high school football team win the state championship.
Gunnell told the Courier-Journal on Oct. 14 that, although Ali now speaks in lower tones, his health is fine. As a result of Parkinson’s certainly Muhammad Ali’s speech and mobility is seriously limited. “…as the day goes on [Ali] does not speak as well.” Overall, Mohammad Ali is doing good at this point in his life and being hospitalized with a touch of pneumonia should not reflect a drastically worsening health status.
By D’wayne Stanelli
Photo courtesy of Kris Krug – FLickr