The Greatest. That’s what he was called fondly amongst his fans and friends worldwide. The sudden demise of greatest boxer of all time, Mohammad Ali, has left a void in the world of boxing and in the time to come, he would be remembered always in his fan’s heart. Apart from the “The Greatest”, he was also called “The People’s Champion” and “The Louisville Lip”. He was a heavyweight boxer and stood 6 ft 3 in tall, towering enough to send spine-chilling fear in his opponent’s body. An American by nationality, he was named Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. by his parents but he later on adopted Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) was no doubt one of the supreme sporting figures of 20th century and was a heavyweight champion boxer. He was indeed the first boxer in the world to win the heavyweight title three times and an Olympic gold medal as well. You will be amazed to know that in his entire boxing career of 21 years, Ali won 56 times and lost only 5 bouts. Ali was quite famous for his outspokenness and he used to speak freely on controversial issues such as religion, race and politics.
Ali was in born on 17th January 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky to Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. and Odessa Grady Clay. While in his childhood he didn’t show any inclination towards boxing but one incident changed his life and made him champion. It was his bicycle, the red and while colored Schwinn, that was stolen and that made Ali quite upset. He reported the offence to Joe Martin, who was the police officer on duty in that area. Ali was just 12 years at that time and he was in tears when came to know that his favorite bicycle has been stolen.
The officer on duty, Joe Martin, vowed to get his bicycle back and book the culprit but he also advised Ali to learn boxing. Apart from being a police officer, Joe Martin was also a boxing trainer and he coached Ali how to fight. Ali took Joe’s advice seriously and learned boxing under him. After six weeks of rigorous training, Ali won his first bout and from then onwards he never looked back. By the time Ali reached 18 years of age, he had already captured two Amateur Athletic Union titles, two national Golden Gloves titles and around 100 other victories with miniscule losses.
The heavyweight champion
Ali’s fight with Sunny Liston was his first fight for the world heavyweight title. At that time Sunny Liston was the world heavyweight champion while Ali was just 22 years old. This fight was held on February 25, 1964 in Miami Beach, Florida and was one of the most after sought fight the boxing fraternity worldwide was looking for. Ali, as we said before, was very bold and outspoken so he was teasing Sunny Liston like anything before the fight itself. Ali teased Liston saying that he will “sting like a bee, float like a butterfly” and before the bout itself he predicted that the match will end in a knockout.
And so it happened that in the boxing fight between Ali and Liston, Ali was declared winner and yes, it was a knockout in the seventh round. Ali’s prediction was indeed correct and now Ali was crowned World Heavyweight Champion. After the fight was over, Ali was heard saying, “I am the greatest!”. Spectators in the boxing arena were mad with excitement and a new champion was born, “The Greatest”. Next morning, in the press conference, Ali was seen with Malcolm X, the contentious Nation of Islam member. Ali was quite impressed and dominated by the Islam religion and thus in March 1964, he converted to a Muslim.
Legacy and later years
In the year 1984, Ali was detected with Parkinson’s syndrome, a disease that limited his capability of speech and affected his movement as well. This disease is the outcome of the bouts that he had in his boxing career wherein his head had suffered a lot due to opponent’s punches. But in spite of his ill health, he remained active in his public life and did lots of charitable and humanitarian deeds. He used to travel a lot and made public appearances, wherever required. On June 3, 2016, he died at the age of 74.
So here we are done with our quick write up on the life of Muhammad Ali, do let us know if you have any queries.