Muhammad Ali-The Greatest Boxing Story Ever

by Sam Kirtley - Date: 2007-01-22 - Word Count: 831 Share This!

Muhammad Ali was originally born as Cassius Clay in 1942 in Louisville Kentucky. The colourful and controversial Clay began taking boxing lessons when he was twelve years old after his bike was stolen. As a high school student, he won the national Golden Gloves middleweight championship in 1959 and 1960 and the AAU national light heavyweight title in 1960, then went on to a gold medal in the Olympic light heavyweight division.

He was renowned for his incredibly fast hand and feet. And although he was built like a heavyweight and weighed about 210 pounds he still moved around the ring like a lightweight. Whereas many other heavyweights were slow sluggers who were incredibly dull to watch.

He had his first professional fight in late 1960 and four years later he became a heavy underdog when he met Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship at Miami Beach. Liston, who had spent time in prison for beating up a police officer and armed robbery, was considered as one of the most terrifying boxers of all time. But Clay won the fight when Liston failed to come out of his corner for the 8th round, claiming a shoulder injury. In a rematch on May 25, a year later, Clay knocked Liston out with a "phantom punch" that few observers saw which occurred in the first minute of the first round. There were many rumours that followed the fight suggesting that it had been fixed as Liston had been known to have had dealings with the Mafia. Liston died shortly after of a heroin overdose.

Although Ali was considered arrogant there was no denying that he had an unbelievable natural talent for boxing and was loved for his controversial low hands and lightening reactions. He was also an incredible public speaker and he had a great wit. He had many famous sayings such as 'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.' And he became the only boxer of all time to state the round in which he would knock his opponent out and fulfil it.

Shortly after becoming world champion, Clay announced that he had become a Black Muslim and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He defended the title eight times in the next twenty months. But during this time he had refused induction into the Army that was fighting in Vietnam due to his Muslim beliefs. As a result of this his license was removed by the New York State Boxing Commission, his title was stripped, and he was sentenced to five years in prison for draft evasion. This caused outrage all across America and he was slaughtered by the press. American people soon became to hate Ali as previous world champions, such as Joe Louis, had accepted conscription into the army.

While the conviction was being appealed, Ali was inactive for nearly three years and announced his retirement early in 1970. During his exile he was a public speaker and campaigner for black people's rights. Ali was also very close to another famous black campaigner: Malcolm X. He then returned to the ring shortly afterward, knocking out Jerry Quarry in the 3rd round in 1970, at Atlanta. After a court ordered New York to restore his license, he fought the new champion, Joe Frazier, at Madison Square Garden in 1971. Frazier won a brutal 15-round fight on a unanimous decision.

Soon after this Ali then lost a famous 12 round fight to Ken Norton where he fought with a broken jaw. After these two losses Ali never looked to be anything like the boxer he once was. But he made a remarkable comeback by beating Ken Norton, Joe Frazier and George Foreman for the World Heavy Weight Championship. Ali knocked Foreman out in the 8th round in the first heavyweight championship fight ever held in Africa: which was known as the Rumble in the Jungle. He was then named fighter of the year by Ring magazine. He and Frazier shared the next award after their celebrated "Thrilla in Manila" fight when Ali won with a 14th-round knockout.

After ten more defences, Ali lost the title to Leon Spinks on a 12-round decision, but soon regained it, becoming the first person to win the World Heavyweight Championship three times. After this he announced his retirement.

He came out of retirement, against the advice from many of his friends and family, for another championship fight, against Larry Holmes; which he lost. Ali soon retired for good after losing a decision to Trevor Berbick in 1981.

Ali had a record of 61 fights of which he won 56 and lost 5. And although he was beaten he was never knocked out.

Muhammad Ali will always be remembered as one of, if not the greatest boxer of all time. He was world famous for his speed, punching power and defensive power as well as his remarkable showmanship. Today, despite being affected by Parkinson's disease, Ali does not regret boxing and is a major campaigner for social justice and the abolition of Third World debt.

Related Tags: fitness, health, boxer, sports, equipment, boxing, fights, boxers, boxing gloves, boxing ring, boxing fights

If you want to find out more about Muhammad Ali as well as other boxers and other Boxing News

Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

© The article above is copyrighted by it's author. You're allowed to distribute this work according to the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

Recent articles in this category:

Most viewed articles in this category: