Biography Of Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016, was an Olympic and World Champion boxer. He also had a unique personality based on self-belief and strong religious, and political convictions. Sports Illustrated named Ali “Sportsman of the Century” in 1999. Ali won three World Heavyweight Boxing Championships and won the North American Boxing Federation championship. He also won an Olympic gold medal.
“I’m not the greatest, but I’m the second greatest. I not only knock them out but I also pick the round. ”
– Muhammad Ali
Ali was born in Louisville Kentucky in 1942. Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. was his father’s name. He was named after Cassius Clay, a 19-century politician, and abolitionist. After joining the Nation of Islam, Ali would change his name. In 1975, Ali converted to Sunni Islam.
Early career in boxing
Ali, who stood at 6’3″ (1.91m) was a very unusual heavyweight boxer. Ali opted to not use the traditional boxing style of holding the head high but instead relied upon his quick feet and ability to avoid punches. Cassius Clay was able to win his first professional fight in Louisville on October 29, 1960. He defeated Tunney Hunsaker in six rounds. The young fighter compiled a 19-0 record with 15 knockouts between 1960 and 1963. Clay defeated Jim Robinson, Donnie Fleeman, and Alonzo Johnson. He also beat George Logan, Willi Benoff, Willi Besmanoff, and Lamar Clark, who had won all of his 40 previous fights by knockout. Clay won against Alejandro Lavorante (who knocked him out during the bout), Clay, and Archie Moore, a legend in boxing who had fought more than 200 fights and was Clay’s trainer before Angelo Dundee.
Clay won the disputed 110th-round victory over Doug Jones. Jones, although lighter than Clay, still staggered Clay and beat Clay repeatedly throughout the fight. This fight was named “Fight of the year” in 1963. Clay was then defeated by Henry Cooper in the next bout. Clay was knocked down with a left hand near the end of the fourth round. Cooper received a deep cut to his face, which resulted in the fight being stopped in round 5.
He was able to win the title of Sonny Liston’s top contender despite close encounters with Henry Cooper and Doug Jones. Clay’s impressive record was not enough to defeat the champion. The fight was scheduled for February 25, 1964, in Miami, Florida. Ali taunted Liston during the weigh-in before the fight. Ali called him “the big ugly Bear” and said that he would “float as a butterfly and bee like a bee.” Ali was ready for a dance around the ring and said, “Your eyes can’t see what your hands can’t touch.”
Ali enjoyed this buildup, which was typical for him. He loved playing to the crowd and creating excitement before each fight. This was good news for promoters who saw an increase in interest in fights featuring Ali.
Ali failed the Armed Forces qualifying exam in 1964 because of his poor spelling and writing skills. Ali was reclassified to 1A in 1966 after the tests were reexamined. Ali refused to serve as a conscientious objector in the United States Army during Vietnam War because “War is contrary to the teachings of The holy Koran.” I am not trying to avoid the draft. We are not allowed to participate in any wars except those declared by Allah and The Messenger. “We don’t participate in Christian wars, or wars of any nonbelievers,” Ali famously stated.
Ali famously stated,
“I don’t have any quarrels with those Vietcong” “no Vietcong ever made me nigger.”
Ali refused to answer Cassius Clay’s name, and stated, as instructed by his mentors at the Nation of Islam that Clay was the name given by the white man to his slave ancestors.
“Cassius Clay” is a slave name. It was not my choice and it is not what I want. Muhammad Ali is my free name. It means beloved of God. I insist that people use it when they speak to me or about me.
Ali refused to respond to the name and his personal life was fraught with controversy. Ali was effectively banned from fighting in America and made to accept fights overseas for the majority of 1966.
He defended his title nine times, from his May 1965 rematch against Liston to his March 1967 final defense against Zora Folley. Few heavyweight champions have ever fought as many fights in so short a time.
Ali was to face Ernie Terrell, WBA champion, in a Toronto unification bout on March 29, 1966. Terrell pulled out and Ali won a 115-round decision against George Chuvalo. Ali then traveled to England, where he defeated Henry Cooper and Brian London via stoppage of cuts. Ali was then defended against Karl Mildenberger (German southpaw), who is the first German to challenge for the title since Max Schmeling. Ali defeated his opponent in round 12 in one of the most difficult fights of his career.
Ali returned to the United States to face Cleveland’s”Big Cat”, Williams, in the Houston Astrodome in November 1966. Williams was shot in the stomach by a Texas officer at point-blank distance one year before the fight. Williams was left with one kidney and 10 feet of the mall intestine. He also had a severely damaged left leg due to nerve damage. Ali defeated Williams in three rounds.
Ali returned to Houston on February 6, 1967, to face Terrell in what was one of the ugliest fights in boxing. Terrell had called Ali Clay and Ali vowed to punish Terrell for his insult. Ali shouted at Terrell, ” What is my name, Uncle Tom…?” Terrell was subject to 15 rounds of severe punishment. He lost 13 rounds by two judges, but Ali didn’t knock him out. Many analysts, including many who spoke with ESPN’s “Ali Rap”, speculated that Terrell was punished because Ali refused to end the fight. Tex Maule said that the fight was a “wonderful demonstration of boxing skills and a barbarous show of cruelty.”
Ali’s refusal to serve in the military and his affiliation with the Nation of Islam made Ali a controversial figure. Ali was a target of suspicion and outrage for his appearance at rallies alongside Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam leader. This happened at a time when most Americans viewed them with suspicion, if not outright hostility. Ali was able to provoke these reactions at times, showing a range of viewpoints from support for civil rights and outright support for separatism.
Ali lost his title at the end 1 of 967. He was then banned from professional boxing for three years. Ali was also sentenced for refusing to be inducted into the army and was sentenced to five-year imprisonment. Ali appealed his conviction several times over the years. Ali remained in the public eye and gave speeches at rallies on campuses opposing the Vietnam War.
“Why should they ask you to put on a uniform, travel 10,000 miles away from home, and drop bullets on brown people when so-called Negros in Louisville are treated as dogs?”
– Muhammad Ali – explaining why Ali refused to fight in Vietnam
Ali was allowed to fight again in 1970 and the Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1971.
Muhammad Ali’s comeback
Ali finally obtained a boxing license in 1970. He was granted a Georgia license to box with the assistance of a State Senator. Georgia was the only American state without a boxing commission. After three rounds, he stopped Jerry Quarry with a cut in October 1970. The New York State Supreme Court decided that Ali had been unfairly denied a license to box shortly after Quarry’s fight. He was able to again fight in New York and fought Oscar Bonavena in Madison Square Garden on December 7, 1970. Ali defeated Bonavena after 14 rounds of hard fighting, opening the way to a title fight against Joe Frazier.
The Fight of the Century
Ali and Frazier faced off at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971. This fight, also known as “The Fight of the Century”, was one of the most anticipated and most well-known bouts of all time. The fight featured two undefeated, skilled fighters who both had legitimate claims to the heavyweight title. Frazier topped off his win by flooring Ali in the 15th round with a hard left hook He won the fight on points. Frank Sinatra, who was unable to get a seat at the ringside, took photographs of the match for Life Magazine. The broadcast was broadcast by Don Dunphy, a legendary boxing announcer, and Burt Lancaster, an actor and boxing fanatic. It reached millions of viewers.
Ali suffered his first professional loss when Frazier won the fight. He retained the title by unanimous decision. Ali might still be suffering from “ring rust” after his lengthy layoff, despite an impressive performance.
After a string victory over heavyweight opponents to force a rematch against Frazier, Ali split his bouts with Ken Norton. In the fight that Ali lost to Norton Ali broke his jaw.
Rumble in the Jungle
Ali was granted a match against George Foreman in 1974. Ali wanted to give economic support to Zaire (the Congo). The fight took place in Zaire. Pre-match hype was high as ever.
“Floats like an insect, stings like a bee. His hands can’t touch what his eyes don’t see.”
Muhammad Ali, before his 1974 fight against George Foreman
Ali won the rematch in round eight, despite all odds. Ali used a strategy to wear Foreman down while absorbing punches on his ropes. This strategy was later called rope a dope.
Ali was able to win the world title against Frazer again.
“It will be a murderer, a chiller, and a thriller when I get to Manila with the gorilla.”
– Ali fights Frazer
Ali won the African heat after 14 rounds.
Muhammad Ali in retirement
In the 1980s Ali was diagnosed as having Parkinson’s disease. His motor functions started to decline slowly after that. Ali was eventually diagnosed with Pugilistic Parkinson’s syndrome. Ali’s doctors were divided over whether Ali’s symptoms could be attributed to boxing or if his condition was degenerative. Late 2005 saw Ali’s condition worsening. When Ali was asked if he regretted boxing because of his disability, “When We Were Kings”, he replied that he wouldn’t have stopped painting in Louisville, Kentucky if he didn’t box.”
Ali speaks out about his Parkinson’s disease and how it has changed the way he sees life.
“Maybe my Parkinson’s is God’s way to remind me of what is important. It made me slow down and forced me to listen more than talk. People pay more attention now to me because I don’t talk as much.”
“I loved to chase the girls. All that is stopped by Parkinson’s. “Now I may have a chance at heaven.”
Muhammad Ali, BBC
He was a loved and respected public figure, despite his disability. He was recently voted into Forbes Celebrity 100, coming in at number 13, behind Donald Trump. He was a guest referee for the inaugural Wrestlemania event in 1985. He was chosen by the California Bicentennial Foundation to the U.S. Constitution in 1987 to represent the vitality of both the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights in high-profile activities. Ali rode on a parade float to the 1988 Tournament of Roses Parade. This was the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. In 1991, Ali also published an oral history with Thomas Hauser entitled Muhammad Ali: His Life & Times. Ali was awarded the Spirit of America Award, which recognizes him as the most well-known American in the world. He was honored to light the flame at 1the 996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Ali was awarded a unique award by the BBC in 1999 at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award ceremony. It was the BBC Sports Personality of the Century Award. In 1999, Ali’s daughter Laila became a boxer despite her father’s comments in 1978 against female boxing. Take a hard hit to the breast…
Ali was honored by the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame at the Galt House East on September 13, 1999, as “Kentucky Athlete of the Century”.
Ali was a biographical film that Will Smith played in 2001. Mixed reviews were received for the film. The positives were generally attributed to Smith’s acting. Jon Voight, the supporting actor, was nominated for Academy Award. Will Smith was a consistent reject of the Ali role before Muhammad Ali requested it. Smith claims that Ali told Smith the first time he spoke to Smith about Smith’s subject You aren’t pretty enough for me to play you.”
At a White House ceremony, he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the prestigious “Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold” of Uthe United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN), Berlin, for his contributions to the US civil rights movement (December 17, 2005).
The $60 million non-profit Muhammad Ali Center was opened in downtown Louisville on November 19, 2005, which marked Ali’s 19th anniversary. The center displays Ali’s boxing memorabilia and focuses on the core themes of peace and social responsibility as well as personal growth.
According to the website of The Muhammad Ali Center in 2012
Ali, who retired from boxing in 1996, has dedicated himself to humanitarian endeavors all over the world. He is a Sunni Muslim and a dedicated traveler. He lends his name and support to education efforts, hunger relief, and education. He has provided more than 22,000,000 meals for the hungry. Ali travels on average more than 200 days per annum.
Muhammad Ali, who was suffering from a respiratory disease that was complicated by Parkinson’s Disease, died 3on June 2016.
“Will they ever have another fight that writes poetry, predicts rounds and beats everyone, makes people Laugh and makes people cry, and is as tall as me?”
– Muhammad Ali
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