Ali represented and symbolised Black manhood. He stood up against the power structures.
He was a living legend, and a real living myth that we all believed in and created in our minds.
He WAS The Greatest! He was the fastest. He was invincible. To get in a fight with him would be utter suicide. Not just physically, but spiritually and culturally as well.
For to even confront the entity known as Muhammad Ali, was to confront and come face to face with the pride and self-love his manhood represented to us.
So if you stepped into the ring with that God, you were a heretic in a sense. To punch Ali you were questioning so many notions that we as Black men based our cultural identity on.
Ali was financially successful.
He was beautiful and surrounded by beautiful women.
He was courageous and unafraid to speak truth to power.
He was undeniably heterosexual.
He was rhythmic.
He was a sharp dresser.
He had an irresistible sense of humour.
Un-academically intelligent and quick-witted.
He was strong and athletically physical.
He was pro-Africa and for political self determination for all people.
To knock down Ali was to knock down our dreams.
So we booed and hissed at the challengers.
But they too had their own stories and unseen dreams.