Here are 14 great facts about The late Mohammed ali, unarguably the greatest boxer to ever live.
1. Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. The older of two boys, he was named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., who himself was named in honor of the 19th century abolitionist and politician of the same name.
2. He was first directed toward boxing by Louisville police officer and boxing coach Joe E. Martin, who encountered the 12-year-old fuming over a thief taking his bicycle. He told the officer he was going to “whup” the thief. The officer told him he better learn how to box first.
3. Ali started boxing when he was 12, winning Golden Gloves titles before heading to the 1960 Olympics in Rome, where he won a gold medal as a light heavyweight. He turned professional shortly afterward, supported at first by Louisville business owners who guaranteed him an unprecedented 50-50 split in earnings.
4. In 1967, Muhammad Ali Claimed he threw the gold medal he who won in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome into Ohio River after he and a friend were refused service at a “whites-only” restaurant and fought with a white gang.
5. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, swollen eyed mohammed ali beat Sonny Liston in 1964 to win his first world title and became the first boxer to capture a world heavyweight title on three separate occasions.
6. In winning this fight, Clay became at age 22 the youngest boxer to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson broke both records in 1986 when he defeated Trevor Berbick to win the heavyweight title at age 20.
7. In 1967, three years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali refused to be conscripted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges and stripped of his boxing title.
8. In 1970, the New York State Supreme Court ordered his boxing license reinstated, and he returned to the ring by knocking out Jerry Quarry in October 1970. The following year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali’s conviction in a unanimous decision.
9. He was handed his first professional defeat by Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century” in New York on 8 March 1971, only to regain his title with an eighth-round knockout of George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) on 30 October 1974.
10. Basketball star Wilt Chamberlain once challenged Ali, and a fight was scheduled for July 26. But during a shared press conference with Chamberlain, he was able to intimidate Chamberlain with these statements of confidence into calling off the bout.
11. Ali’s career ended with one-sided defeats by Larry Holmes in 1980 and Trevor Berbick in 1981, many thinking he should have retired long before. He fought a total of 61 times as a professional, losing five times and winning 37 bouts by knockout.
12. Ali began showing symptoms of Parkinson’s when he retired in 1981, although he wasn’t diagnosed until three years later when he was 42 years old. It has been speculated that his condition was a result of injuries to the brain during his boxing career.
13. Muhammad Ali died at the age of 74 in a hospital in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, after being admitted on Thursday. He was suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.
14. Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978.