Muhammad Ali . Former American boxer who was a three-time world heavyweight champion, a category in which he was considered one of the greatest figures in boxing history. Nicknamed ‘The Greatest’.
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- 1 Biographical data
- 2 Change of name
- 3 Beginning of his professional career and his fame
- 4 Career as an amateur
- 5 Boxing Style
- 6 Epoch as champion
- 7 Retirement from Boxing
- 8 interesting facts of his life
- 9 Ali in the 7th. art
- 10 Death
- 11 References
- 12 Sources
He was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville , Kentucky , United States
It was first known as Cassius Clay. He was the descendant of pre- Civil War American slaves in the Southern United States and was predominantly of African-American descent with little English or Irish descent. He changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam organization in 1964 for Muhammad Ali.
Beginning of his professional career and his fame
After Olympic gold, Clay returned to Louisville to begin his professional career under the tutelage of Angelo Dundee . There, on October 29, 1960, he won his first professional six-round bout on points against Tunney Hunsaker , who was chief of police for Fayetteville , West Virginia .
He soon became famous for his unorthodox style, spectacular results, and constant self-promotion. Many times he recited poems composed by himself in which he mentioned in which assault he would knock out his opponent. On the other hand, his praises to himself are recognized, with phrases like “I am the greatest” or “I am young, beautiful, fast and nobody can beat me.”
It was started in the world of boxing by Louisville Police Officer and boxing coach Joe E. Martin , who had encountered the 12-year-old when reporting the theft of his bicycle. He also started training with Fred Stoner , an African American coach who worked at the local community center. In this way, he was able to earn $ 4 a week in the “Tomorrow’s Champions”, a weekly local television program that Martin presented, while benefiting from the training of the most experienced Stoner, who worked with Clay throughout his career. as an amateur.
With Stoner, Cassius Clay won six “Golden Gloves” in Kentucky , two national “Golden Gloves” titles, a national “Amateur Athletic Union” title and the light heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome . Clay’s mark as an amateur was 100 wins and only five losses.
A peculiar technique that he defined as “flight like a butterfly and beak like a bee” (float like a butterfly, sting like a bee), which is based on moving around the opponent and constantly hitting him so that the rival cannot think of almost no time in combat. He also used the rope-a-dope, a strategy that basically consists of leaning on the ropes and letting himself be hit until the other is tired and then launching a counter-attack, allowing himself to be hit with strategy as he anticipates the opponent’s blows and moves the body accompanying the blow to minimize the effects.
Epoch as champion
Among Muhammad’s most resounding victories at this time, those disputed with Sonny Banks (who managed to knock Cassius to the canvas during the fight), Alejandro Lavorante , and Archie Moore (a boxing legend with 200 victories to his credit) should be highlighted. .
He fought with Sonny Liston , the world champion at the time and obtained the title of world champion. He achieved victory in the first round with one of the prettiest KOs in boxing history. The blow that knocked him out is known as the phantom hand. He defended his crown as world heavyweight champion on several occasions.
His first loss came when he tried to win back the heavyweight belt against Joe Frazier , defeating on points in 15 rounds. He soon had another chance and defeated him in a controversial way in a second match, where he was much better prepared.
He achieved in 1974 the legendary victory of Kinshasa, Zaire , against the George Foreman that came from beating Frazier in the 3rd round; knocking out Foreman in the eighth round.
He renewed the title against Frazier in a third fight, in a brutal fight where he won in the last round by technical knockout. He defended his title against different boxers such as Ken Norton , Alfredo Evangelista or Earnie Shavers . Surprisingly, he lost it to Leon Spinks , a boxer who came from playing the Olympics and had 8 professional bouts. Despite this defeat, he defeated him in the points rematch.
He announced his retirement from boxing, although he returned in 1980 to play the world title against Larry Holmes , with whom he lost before the limit, and a match that he lost to points with Trevor Berbick , in 1981. After these bouts, he ended to his professional boxing career for good. His mark at the end of his career was 61 bouts with 56 wins (37 by KO) and 5 losses.
After retiring in 1981 , Parkinson’s disease began to develop little by little , and his health deteriorated. It is an example for many people who are victims of degenerative diseases. He was in charge of lighting the cauldron at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics .
Interesting facts of his life
- In 1967, he refused to join the US military, appealing to his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was arrested and found guilty of evasion from military service, stripped of his boxing title and his boxing license suspended. He was not jailed, but he did not fight again in almost four years while his appeal reached the Supreme Court, where he was finally admitted.
- He was defeated five times (four by points and one by “technical knockout” when he left the fight), achieving 56 victories (37 by knockout and 19 by points).
- He was especially known for his unorthodox boxing style, which he himself described as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” (“float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”), and for employing techniques like rope-a- dope.
- He was also known for his provocations before the bouts, on television and in person before the bout, often with verses.
- He was also a prominent and controversial personality worldwide for his pro-Muslim political activism for preaching on the rights of blacks and minorities in general, marking the pride of being black and the need to avoid wars between them, also avoid drugs and vices.
- He tossed his gold medal into the Ohio River after they refused to serve him at a whites-only restaurant and have quarreled with a group of them.
- During an intermission of a basketball game at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics (in which he carried the Olympic torch as the last athlete ) he was presented with a new medal to replace the lost one.
- Cassius Clay appears in the film Requiem for a Champion (1962) fighting a 7th round with Anthony Quinn who he defeats and is triggered by the drama of a finished boxer.
Ali in the 7th. art
Films based on his life have been filmed such as:
- The Greatest , 1977, he performed himself.
- When We Were Kings, it’s a documentary that won an Oscar in 1996.
- Ali , 2001, actors Will Smith ; Master Harrell , (young Cassius Clay).
- King of the world, 2000, Terrence Howard .
- Ali: An American Hero, 2000, American Broadcasting Company film with David Ramsey .
- Ali: An American Hero, 2000, Fox movie with Aaron Meeks .
- Don King: Only in America, 1997, HBO film with Darius McCrary .
- The Greatest, 1977, with Chip McAllister .
- American gangster , 2007, with Jerrod Paige .
He died on 4 of June of 2016 in a hospital in Phoenix , at 74.