Muhammad Ali Biography

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Muhammad Ali was an American hero in the minds of many people, he was a great leader for African Americans as well as to everyone. Muhammad Ali is one of the best, if not the best, boxers of all time. He was an influential leader not only inside the ring, but throughout the world. His prevalently was him being really confident caught the eye of many people. He brought the sport of boxing to a new level by bringing so many fans to the sport all because of him. Though many people criticized him as a person, he eventually would become such a great role model for everyone to look up too. He gave many speeches throughout America and became an icon for many children and even adults to look up too.

Born January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Clay, Jr., Muhammad Ali's real name. Cassius displayed fighting skills early in his life when he punched his mother after she spanked him for misbehavior. He didn't become interested in boxing until about the age of 12. Ali received a new red bicycle for his birthday, so he and a friend rode bikes to the fair. While he walks around the fair, someone stole his bike. He searched for his bike for hours, but it was to nowhere to be found. When he started asking people on his block if they had seen it, someone suggested he go ask Joe Martin, a policeman and owner of a boxing gym. Cassius was amazed the moment he walked into the gym. Joe Martin gave him an application and Ali joined the gym the very next day. Even though he couldn't find his bike, he found something more, his future.

Muhammad trained everyday possible, boxing became his life. He worked out after school every single day and he started to train with Fred Stoner every night. Proving that he worked so hard It was almost impossible to discourage him, Joe Martin said. He was easily the hardest worker of any kid I ever taught.(Eig, 25) . After a while all this hard work started to finally pay off for Ali. In 1956 he won the Kentucky Golden Gloves tournament. Then, in 1958, he won the Louisville Golden Gloves light-heavyweight crown. He went on to win the National Golden Gloves light-heavyweight title in Chicago. Muhammad really showed off his talent in 1960 by winning the Golden Gloves title in Madison Square Garden. He also won the Tournament of Champions in Chicago. Throughout his amateur career Muhammad fought in 130 fights and won 123 of them. Muhammad was amazing throughout his amateur career. Muhammad Ali then would take the stage of being a professional boxer. This would be a whole new kind of challenge for Ali. Not only will the competition be harder for him, the hardest challenge will be because he is African American. All these challenges don't stop Ali from accomplishing so many accolades and becoming great. Muhammad Ali would end up winning a gold medal in the Rome Olympics and after that he took off and won many awards as a professional boxer. He would end up being world heavyweight champion from 1964-1967 and then again from 1974-1978 and then for the third time in 1978-1979. (History, Champion).

Muhammad Ali being so famous caused writers to want to tell his story to everyone for years to come, Muhammad Ali will not be forgotten because of these writers willing to write about his life. Two books written about Muhammad Ali are King of the World by David Remnick and Ali: A Life by Johnathan Eig. These authors have had lives devoted to writing and both have obviously written about Muhammad Ali, they share many common thoughts about Ali and they have different thoughts about Ali.

These authors both had opinions on who Muhammad Ali was as a person David Rennick was just like the rest of the authors who wrote about Ali with praising him and saying how he was so great. Well Johnathan Eig would say how he isn't some great, amazing saint, Eig says that Ali is just a human being just like everyone is. Eig would prove this by saying Even as Ali continued to travel, his condition worsened. His hands grew shakier, his voice weaker, his gait more awkward. Before, he had always been too quick, too cleaver; now, scandal and sadness touched him. (Eig, 511). Eig says this to try and tell everyone that Muhammad Ali is just like everyone else, he can get sick and get worse instead of overcoming it. As Eig is saying this David Remnick is saying Up in Michigan, Ali sits in the office on his farm. The office is on the second floor of a small house behind the main house, and it is the headquarters of the company known as GOAT the greatest of all times. Outside, geese glide along the pond. A few men are working in the fields. Someone is mowing the great lawn that rolls out from the house and up to the gates of the property. (Remnick, 302). Remnick is praising Muhammad Ali by saying he is sitting upstairs in his office and his workers are working on the great lawn and farm. He also says Muhammad Ali is the greatest of all time.

In David Remnick's book he talks more about the success of Muhammad Ali as a fighter and so does Johnathan Eig, but Eig talks about Muhammad's struggles and life more than Remnick does. Remnick is more into the story of Muhammad Ali's boxing career and him being so great and such an inspiration to others, especially the muslins and blacks. David Remnick explains to us what it was really like to be a black boxer in the mid 60s. Remnick shows how hard it was as a black fighter by saying Although he had sounded defensive about race for the benefit of the Soviet reporter in Rome, Clay was already mightily aware that his gold medal changed nothing about Louisville. The same old Jim Crow attitudes still prevailed. Not long after coming home, he walked into a luncheonette and ordered a glass of juice. can't serve you, the boss said. but he's the Olympic champion! one of the waiters told him. (Remnick, 106). Remnick points out that even though Muhammad Ali brought home the gold for his country, it doesn't change a thing. Ali still wouldn't even get served because he was black. Remnick being so interested in sports talked more about Ali's boxing career and boxing problems, well Eig was talking about his boxing and his life. Eig brings up that Muhammad was trying to bring America closer with muslins. This is proven by his quote Ali said he felt a duty to explain Islam to Americans and to explain America to Muslims. (Eig, 513). Eig explains that that Ali wanted to bring Americans together with muslins and united them into to one and have everyone realize they are all the same. These biographies talk about different parts of Ali's life.

These authors start their stories much different, David Remnick starts his story by telling us about Floyd Patterson. Patterson was a black boxer that came before Muhammad Ali, Ali really looked up to Floyd. Here is how Remnick started his story On the morning of the fight, the heavyweight champion of the world packed a loser's suitcase. Floyd Patterson, for all his hand speed, for all the hours he put in at the gym, was the most doubt-addled titleholder in the history of the division. There were always losers, professional opponents, set-em-ups, unknowns who suffered as he did, men who took and humiliation. But he was champion, the youngest man ever to win the title. (Remnick, 1). Remnick starts off the biography really weirdly by talking about Floyd Patterson being a really nervous champion and the youngest champion. He points all this out though to show that Patterson being a black boxer is very scared and nervous to say anything, well Muhammad Ali is the complete opposite of him as a black boxing champion. Remnick starts out talking about someone else, while Eig starts differently. Johnathan Eig starts his biography by saying His great-grandfather was a slave. His grandfather was a convicted murderer who shot a man through the heart in a quarrel over a quarter. His father was a drinker, a bar fighter, a womanizer, and a wife beater who once in a drunken rage slashed his eldest son with a knife. These are the roots of Muhammad Ali, who was born with what he called the slave name Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. and who ultimately became one of the most famous and influential men of his time. (Eig, 1). Johnathan Eig's opening paragraph is the start to explaining that Muhammad Ali had a tough childhood and was not in the best of situations in his childhood.

Both of these authors use the bicycle story that Muhammad Ali went through as a young kid to help start their stories about Ali. The Bicycle plays such a big role these authors have both named a paragraph bicycle. Johnathan Eig talks about the story of Muhammad Ali getting introduced into boxing and the bicycle plays a big role in this happening. Eig says Cassius was angry -- hotter'n a firecracker, as Joe Martin put it saying he wanted to find the person who stole his bicycle and give him a good whupping. (Eig, 21). Eig points out that Ali loved his new bike so much and it was gone so quick just like that. Losing his bike made him so angry, but losing his bike was just the start of his great career. David Remnick has basically the same story about Ali's bike as he says Cassius walked down to the basement, furious, wanting a statewide manhunt for his bike and threatening to beat all hell out of the kid who had stolen it. (Remnick, 91). This proves once again that Muhammad cared so much about his bike, but then again having his bike stolen just led to the success of his fantastic career.

Yes, these authors of these biographies do have their difference, but they have a lot in common too. These authors both are sportswriters so talking about Muhammad Ali is what they are good at because they have so much sport knowledge. Johnathan Eig isn't mainly a sports writer, but a majority of his books are sport books. Eig is very well-known for writing many sports books as according to The Author. Eig has also been involved with writing for The New Yorker. Johnathan Eig is more well-known than David Remnick, but Remnick is a sports writer as well. Remnick is mainly a sports writer and he is a writer and editor for The New Yorker. So, both of these authors are involved with The New Yorker and have very successful careers with sport writing.

Becoming such an American hero in so many eyes is so hard to do, but Muhammad Ali did just that. These authors had many of the same ideas, but they had more different ways of telling the story of Muhammad Ali's life. Authors have many different ideas of how they feel about a person and how they tell that person's story and that is seen in these two authors. Although, both of these authors did a very good job displaying his life, nobody tells the story of Muhammad Ali better than Muhammad Ali did himself.


  1. Eig, Johnathan. Ali: A Life. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.
  2. Remnick, David. King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero. New York: Random House Inc, 1998.
  3. Editors. Muhammad Ali. A&E Television Networks. December 16, 2009.
  4. "The Author." Ali: A Life. Accessed November 25, 2018.
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Muhammad Ali Biography. (2019, Dec 18). Retrieved December 1, 2023 , from

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