Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 9/6/14

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - DECEMBER 13: Cory Spinks poses with his Championship belt, promoter Don King (C), Michael (L) and Leon Spinks (R) after the Undisputed Welterweight Championship bout at the Boardwalk Hall on December 13, 2003 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Spinks won by way of decision in the 12th round. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
By the time I became aware of boxing, Muhammad Ali was a mere shell of his former self, plodding through bouts with Leon Spinks, Larry Holmes and Trever Berbick. It would be much later when I truly understood the legend behind the man. Now, as he celebrates his 70th birthday this Jan. 17, there has been somewhat of an effort to downplay his importance to the sport and as a pop culture icon, a sort of backlash to the waves of positive, feel-good press that Ali has enjoyed for the last several years. But I remember the Ali who was not the poster boy for all things noble. I remember the fighter who drew the ire of fans and, in some circles, was a truly hated figure. Among my circle of relatives and friends old enough to remember the prime Ali, you'd be hard-pressed to find a kind word about him. It was in spite of this attitude that I came to admire Muhammad Ali, both as a man and a fighter. Sure, the man had his defects and counted serial infidelity and some ugly political leanin...
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brandon Marshall out for the season with collapsed lung

Josh Smith has the worst streak in sports right now

Rays hire Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash as new manager

Jayson Werth sentenced to jail time for excessive speeding

Josh Gordon admits to 'playing catch-up' with Brian Hoyer

Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman saves day at strip club?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Yankees land Jeter's replacement in Didi Gregorius

David Ortiz: BoSox need to 'step up' for Lester in free agency

Dez Bryant on sideline yelling: ‘I don’t give a f— who films it’

Eric Decker defends wife over social media comments

Brandon Marshall taken to hospital following injury

DeMarco Murray's alleged texts to ex-teammate's wife shared

Activism, sports and feeling angry as a fan

Adrian Peterson 'likely' to be reinstated next week

WATCH: Rodgers' impromptu visit surprises school, dean

What if the USFL didn't fold?

Teammate gives Peyton Manning grief over commercial

Game of the week: Seahawks vs. Eagles

Steve Kerr inherited a lot, but already has improved Warriors

Five individual match-ups to watch in NFL Week 14

Are FSU, Baylor being slighted by playoff committee?

WATCH: Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith discuss Ferguson

WATCH: Blimp crashes info fans at Blazers-Pacers game

WATCH: UCF beats ECU with game-ending Hail Mary

Boxing News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Josh Smith has the worst streak in sports right now

Werth headed to jail for speeding?

In remembrance of sports columnist Bryan Burwell

What if the USFL didn't fold?

How do you know if your team is the “Mystery Team”?

Bulldogs OL saves day at strip club?

Game of the week: Seahawks vs. Eagles

Yankees trade for Didi Gregorius

Ortiz: BoSox must step up for Lester

Dez Bryant sounds off on sideline antics

Eric Decker defends wife from critics

Activism, sports and feeling angry as a fan

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.