Many have claimed the title of The Greatest over the years, but only one has shown us what it is truly like to be the greatest to ever do it. Cassius Clay Jr. or better known as ‘Muhammad Ali’ was born in Louisville, KY on January 17, 1942. Ali’s boxing career lasted twenty-one years and during that time, Ali amassed a total of fifty-six wins and was the first Heavyweight boxer to win the Heavyweight Championship on three different occasions. The majority of people don’t realize that Ali changed his name from Cassius Clay Jr. to Muhammad Ali” in light of his religion. (History.com) During Ali’s life, he has overcome a lot of adversity and has shown what it’s like to have a heart of a champion!
When Ali was a young boy, about 12 years in age, he and his friend rode their bicycles to the fair, however when they left to return home Muhammad realized that his bicycle had been stolen, and then tried to find a police officer so that he could report the bike stolen. (Enslow 2006) Muhammad Ali was very upset about the bike and wanted to fight whoever took it to get back at him. A police officer overheard Ali and his friend talking about getting payback on whoever took the bike and the officer asked Ali if he had ever been in a fight before and Ali said that he hadn’t. The Police Officer whose name was Joe Martin, told Ali that looking to pick a fight would be a bad decision, but would train him how to box to relieve his pent-up frustration.
Muhammad Ali trained for about a month and a half before he had his first fight against Ronnie O’Keefe, which he would end up winning by a split-decision. Muhammad before long turned into an astonishing competitor and it paid off high school. Muhammad won numerous Golden Gloves Awards and was an AAU Light Heavyweight Champion and despite the fact that his grades weren’t the best, the principle allowed him to graduate with his class. After High School, Muhammad Ali earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic boxing team and got the chance to go to cities around the world such as Rome and Italy. Muhammad Ali would end up beating Zbigniew Pietrzkowski for the Olympic gold medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics. After the Olympics, Ali would return home and become a professional boxer with the sponsoring of Louisville Sponsoring Group. Later, Muhammad Ali beat Henry Cooper in 1963 and beat Sonny Liston in 1964 to win his first Heavyweight Championship.
During Muhammad Ali’s boxing career, he was trying to find himself and converted to the Nation of Islam (Biography.com). After converting to Islam, he changed his name to Cassius X; but the name was short-lived, and he would end up changing his name again to what we know him as today, to Muhammad Ali and that would be his official name until his death in 2016.
Muhammad Ali was drafted to the U.S Army in 1967 for the Vietnam War, but refused to go due to his religious beliefs and he was sent to prison. While in prison, Ali was stripped of his Heavyweight Championship and was suspended from boxing for three and a half years. This was a terrible a time in Ali’s life, as he was suspended during three and a half years of his prime.
When the years had passed, and the suspension was finished, Ali returned to the ring and won his first fight back in 1970 against Jerry Quarry. The next year, Ali would end up fighting in what would become known as The Fight of The Century, against Joe Frazier on March 8,1971, the fight happened at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Muhammad Ali would end up losing this fight to Joe Frazier and that was Ali’s first defeat as a professional. Ali however, would fight Frazier again on October 1, 1975 in the Araneta Coliseum which is in a city called Quezon in the Philippines, with Muhammad Ali winning this time around after a 14 round fight, and this fight is another fight of Ali’s that has been labeled as one of the best ever. This would prove to be one of Ali’s last successes in his boxing career as he would begin to lose more bouts through the late 1970s and would retire after his last fight on December 11, 1981.
After Muhammad retired from boxing, he committed his life to Philanthropy. In 1984, Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson disease and started an organization to help other people with the disease. (Biography.com) Ali also began to travel around the world to spread awareness on Parkinson disease. In 1998, Muhammad Ali was chosen to become a Messenger of Peace for the United Nations for the work that he had done with different countries. As per History.com; Muhammad Ali was given the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’ from our forty-third President, George W. Bush while he was in office. Ali would also open a center for youth in his hometown of Louisville, KY so they could have mentors to teach them that they could do anything that they want to do. (History.com) Ali wanted to make a positive impact on the children of Louisville, much the same as somebody had shown him back when he was young man.
Muhammad Ali has been married to four different women and had a total of nine children, seven of which were girls and the other two being boys. The most famous of his children would be Laila Ali, who grew up to be an outstanding boxer just like her father. Laila turned out to be a standout amongst other female boxers in the sport with a record of twenty-four wins and zero losses. Ali additionally has another little girl who is in the music industry,
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