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Muhammad Ali - THE BOXER

- Simply the Greatest Boxer!

Once a greatest, always a greatest, this is how the people treat someone who had shared tremendous contributions on a particular industry. No matter long the time had passed, no matter that among in the new generations had come to overcome his records, the greatest would always be remembered. As if he already has a space on everyone’s hearts especially those inclined on his line of industry. One of the greatest fighters inside the ring of all time is Muhammad Ali. Considering his contributions in the industry of boxing, everyone who is familiar with the game knows him to be the greatest among others. No dreams he did not pursue, no obstacles he did not conquer. Muhammad Ali is even the idol of many boxers in the new generations; his exemplary power inside the ring inspired other fighters to pursue their boxing career. Truly that he had possessed a tremendous effect on many other individuals who are connected to the ring of fights. This is one major reason why there will be no history of boxing that do not mention his names as one of the greatest if not the only one. But just like any other ordinary person in the world, Muhammad Ali is also just human who commits mistakes sometimes, which also had weaknesses and most especially, he is just an ordinary citizen who sometimes fall in love, gets hurt and is not a sickness free human.

Muhammad Ali Parkinson Interview 1974 (better sound)

 

1. Personal Background:

Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. also known as Muhammad Ali was born on January 17, 1942 at Louisville, Kentucky, USA. His parents are Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., a painter of outdoor billboards and Odessa O'Grady Clay who is just a housewife. He lived with his no so rich family but unlike any other who was raised in a lower class family; Ali did enjoy the support of his American-African middle class family. Ali attended his early education at Virginia Street Elementary School at Virginia Goldsboro and took his high school at Louisville Central High School at Louisville, Kentucky. Ali was first married to Sonji Roi, a cocktail and food attendant but due to religion differences during that time, they divorce right away after a few years of marriage. Ali then remarried to a certain Belinda Boyd, a seventeen year old lady and had four children with her; Maryum, Jamillah, Rasheda and Muhammad Jr. But due to some infidelity issues of Muhammad Ali which is actually open, they had a divorce and were just finalize before their marriage turns ten years old. Then comes the name Veronica Porsche who is an actress and model during that time, they already had a baby girl Hanna before their marriage and Veronica is actually pregnant for their second baby. Laila, Ali’s second baby with

Veronica was born on the year of their marriage and seemed to follow her dad’s footstep as she entered the boxing world on 1999. Veronica and Muhammad got divorced on 1986 and the best time for Muhammad to marry his old friend Yolanda Williams, from which they had a child Asaad Amin. Amin was adopted by the couple the Amin was five months old infant. Aside from those failed and successful love life, Ali was able to have kids outside marital conditions, and those are Miya and Khaliah.

Muhammad (Mohammed) Ali : Interview in Ireland (July 1972) [FULL]

 

2. Boxing is his life!

Even before his boxing life was established, Ali was a constant participant of many troubles which according to him were not his intentions to do so. When he was twelve, someone tried to steal his bicycle and when he tried to protect his belongings, an officer who happened to be also a boxing coach told him that to be able to defeat the thief, he needed to learn first boxing. As an amateur boxer, Ali had fought 100 times with only 5 lose.

First Amateur Bout!

It was 12th of November of 1954 when Ali had his first amateur bout against Ronnie O’Keefe of the USA from which he won the fight. Ali’s first loss was a great news story; it was during his fight against James Davis on the 4th of February of 1955. During his amateur boxing career, Ali had brought home some honors that would never been forgotten until the very present of the boxing history. Those were the six Kentucky Golden Gloves Championships, Amateur Athletic Union National Championship, National Golden Gloves Championship twice and the 1960 Summer Olympics Light Heavyweight gold medal.

Muhammad Ali - The Whole Story [Part 1]

 

First Professional Bout!

Muhammad Ali started his professional boxing career on the 29th of October 1960 on Louisville Kentucky against Tunney Hunsaker from which he had won via a unanimous decision. Since then from December 1960 to June 18, 1963, Muhammad Ali counted a 19 non-title consecutive wins over different equally well-versed boxers during their times such as Herb Siler, Tony Esperti, Jim Robinsons, Donnie Fleeman, LaMar Clark, Duke Sabedong, Alonzo Johnson, Alex Miteff, Willi Besmanoff, Sonny Banks, Don Warner, George Logan, Billy Daniels, Alejandro Lavorante, Archie Moore, Charley Powell, Doug Jones and Henry Cooper.

First World Title!

Muhammad Ali’s 20th win gave him his first three world titles which are The Ring Heavyweight Champion, World Boxing Association World Heavyweight Champion and the World Boxing Council World Heavyweight Champion. This occurred when he defeated for the titles Sonny Liston on the 25th of February 1964 at Miami Florida via technical knock-out. But due to some personal reasons, Ali stripped off his WBA belt on the 19th of June 1964. Ali was able to defend his WBC and The Ring World Heavyweight titles against Floyd Patterson, George Chuvalo, Henry Cooper, Brian London, Karl Mildenberger and Cleveland Williams from May 25, 1965 to November 14, 1966. And on the 6th of February 1967, while retaining his The Ring and WBC Heavyweight titles, he again was able to win WBA World Heavyweight title against Ernie Terrel in Houston Texas via a unanimous decision. In less than a month of retaining his world titles against Zora Folley on March 22, 1967, Muhammad Ali stripped off his titles on the 28th of March 1967. He was able to defend his The Ring World title, from another two contenders namely Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena both via technical knock-out. Another two consecutive wins gave Ali a 31 consecutive wins ever since his professional boxing career had started.

Muhammad Ali - The Whole Story [Part 2]

 

3. The First Major Fall!

Muhammad Ali of course, already experience losing as his amateur boxing records show 100 bouts with 5 loses. But one major fall he had been experience since his professional boxing career was on the 8th March of 1971 in New York City USA. This was the fight against Joe Frazier, a promising equally talented boxer during that time. This fight was tagged as “The Fight of the Century” because of the controversies that add to the already existing tremendous excitements that encircled the fight. Both boxers are claiming that they are destined to be a champion of the heavyweight which is actually true because both of them had not yet experience losing with their bouts. Ali’s bashers are taking those words from the boxer as a sign of over confidence and self-centered description of himself. But the fights of the two great boxer showed that this was the most difficult boxing stance for Ali as he accepted the worst punishment inside the ring during his professional boxing career, he was knock-out but still stood up and fight again to receive again punches and jabs from the growling Frazier. In the end of the fight, Ali lost The Ring Heavyweight Title to Frazier, including the WBA and the WBC Heavyweight World titles via a unanimous decision. And this time, Ali lost not only the belts but more importantly some of his reputation of bullying his opponents before leading to a fight. Even after the fight and Ali already had lost to Frazier, he still tried to express some un-acceptable comments to Frazier from which the latter’s fans considered as cruel and unfair. In fact, the two boxers had wrestled in National television show ABC’s Wide World of Sports while they were interviewed because Ali addressed Frazier as an ignorant individual. This fight was actually one of the biggest events in the world which was broadcasted to 35 other nations of the globe and more than 750 journalists are invited to cover the event. Not to mention the profit and revenue those were also considered as the biggest during that time.

Muhammad Ali -Then And Now (Documentary with David Frost)

 

4. From Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali!

Cassius Clay knew about the “Nation of Islam” to be righteous to the black man, which is why he usually joined their meetings and keeping it secret to the public. But one of his fights showed some of the members of the Nation including his religious and spiritual adviser to his entourage on the ring and that was the time that they open the fact to the public. But his entrance is not as easy as fighting inside the ring as he was not easily accepted by NOI due to his boxing career. His bout during that time was even almost cancelled but as what had been said awhile ago, boxing is his life which is why he continued the fight and defended his actions to the religious group. Maybe because he was very popular during that time, the Nation probably realized that someone like him would be of great asset to the religious group. After a short period of time inside NOI, Cassius Clay was renamed as Muhammad Ali, Muhammad means “holy” and Ali which means “fourth”. Of course, this was not easily accepted by his colleagues and friends until he himself, announced that his previous name Cassius Clay was his name as a slave and wanted everyone to address him with his new name.

5. Racial Discrimination; who is who?

The “Nation of Islam” was actually believed by the whites and even some American-African race to be a “hate-religion” and could create havoc among other religious group. It was the group that tagged the white men as the executor of the mass murder of the black men particularly the African-American race. During his membership on the Nation, he again was able to capture the attention of the people because of his religious beliefs that includes the segregation of the whites from the blacks which many believed that it is no longer religion that the NOI is actually fighting for. Especially when it comes to marriage, this religious group condemned the fact that black men can marry a white women and vise versa, as Ali once quoted “No intelligent black man or black woman in his or her right black mind wants white boys and white girls coming to their homes to marry their black sons and daughter.” While many of the black people are fighting for equal rights and distribution among other races in America during that time, Ali’s group is fighting for the autonomous rights for the black men which means, that living with the white people is not right at all and they should have their own lives outside the world that the whites are living. And again, it is very ironic that while Ali believed that the white people are bad and could not do well, most of his friends and colleagues are white more than any of those who are outside NOI. Muhammad Ali became the leader of NOI after the death of its leader on 1975 and shifted this sectarian group to be part of the more general religion Sunni Islam.

MUHAMMAD ALI & MIKE TYSON INTERVIEW

 

6. After the fall!

After Muhammad Ali lost The Ring World Heavyweight title and WBA & WBC World Heavyweight titles to Joe Frazier on March 8, 1971 with the bout recognized as "The Fight of the Century"; Ali took a break for about four months in boxing to prepare his grand comeback on the ring. On the 26th of July 1971, he is back with the vengeance; he won another title, the North American Boxing Federation Heavyweight title against Jimmy Ellis at Houston Texas. Ali won another non-title bout four times against Jurgen Blin on December 1971, Mac Foster on April 1972, Alvin Lewis on July 1972 and Joe Bugner on February 1973 and was able to defend NABF Heavyweight titles 5 times against Buster Mathis on November 1971, George Chuvalo on May 1972, Jerry Quarry on June 1972, Floyd Patterson on September 1972 and Bob Foster on November 1972. All of these fights are recorded giving him 10 consecutive wins after his first major fall. And his professional boxing record during that time was 41-1. But his sweet comeback to the ring did not last after that as his following bout against Ken Norton was a failed as he lost his NABF title via a split decision. A rematch between the two fighters is set and the title according to Ali would be destined to his name. And so, he won again the NABF Heavyweight title against Norton on September 10, 1973 on California. This was followed by a non-title bout win against Rudi Lubbers on October 1973 in Jakarta Indonesia. He was able to retained his NABF title against Joe Frazier who once defeated him but vacate the title on 1974. Muhammad Ali won again The Ring, WBC & WBA World Heavyweight titles during his fight which was tagged as “The Rumble in the Jungle" against George Foreman on October 30, 1974 at Kinshasa, Zaire. Muhammad Ali was able to defend these titles eleven times from 1974 to 1977 including his fights against Joe Frazier again which was tagged as “Thrilla in Manila” on October 1, 1975. The tremendous success of this event leads the authorities in Manila to name one of the most prestigious malls of the Philippines after his name. The mall is called “Ali Mall” until up to date. He also had to defend his title against Ken Norton for the third time on September 28, 1976 at The Bronx, New York from which Norton was not successful in snatching again a title from Ali. Though Ali had lost The Ring, WBC & WBA World Heavyweight titles to Leon Spinks on February 15, 1978 in Las Vegas, he was able to regain his titles during their rematch on September 15, 1978 at New Orleans but vacated WBA title on 1979-09-06. His record during this time was 56 wins and 3 loses and even he fought again twice, first was October 2, 1980 against Larry Holmes on Las Vegas Valley and the second was December 11, 1981 against Trevor Berbick on Nassau, Bahamas, his winning record remained 56 because his loses increase from 3 to 5. Yes, his two last fights were both a disappointment as he lost his title and never win them back.

Mike Tyson vs Muhammad Ali (Battle of the Greats)

 

7. Anti-War Advocates!

Muhammad Ali is not only religiously attached but he has also a principle of being socially inclined person. It was his time of popularity when his own nation was involved in a war and during that time, all male in the right age would need to take part on the US Military Training to get involved in protecting the dignity and safety of its own nation. It was the time when war between Vietnam and US was blasting, and so Ali was notified by the US authority of this matter but the boxer openly refused the invitation for his own “logical” and religious reasons.

  • War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. I'm not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don't take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers. I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Congs..."

This is the quote made by him that became very popular during the 1966 regime and this is the quote that awakens the minds of the young Americans to make a second thought about the war. And some of the protestors of the war who cannot get into the open were given guts by this quote to fight and oppose the US war against Vietnam. And Ali started to receive invitation to render speech for some protest groups and universities.

8. Refusing to Join US Armed Forces!

Attending to pursue personal appearance in Houston for the invitation of the US Armed Forces for his induction on April 28, 1967 not to obtain training or to join them in the war but to show them that he is not willing to be involved in the Vietnam War, Muhammad Ali declined thrice to answer every time his name was called. He was reminded by an officer in charge during that day that if he refused to heed the US Armed Forces, he is actually committing a civil case called “felony” and could be punished by five years imprisonment plus a $10,000 fine. But this did not change Ali’s mind, when his name was called for the last time, he did not step forward, time for the authorities to arrest him and charge him with felony. Unfortunately, imprisonment and a fine of $10,000 would not only the price for his principle because on the very same day of his refusal to join the US Armed Forces, New York State Athletic Commission suspended his license to box and removed him of his belts.

Muhammad Ali - Machine Gun (Highlights / Tribute)

 

9. The Consequence of being an Anti-War Advocates!

And some sports group that sponsor Boxing followed NYSAC decision not to allow Ali to be on the ring for boxing for about three years. Even the first trial on the 20th June 1967, which is very short (only about 21 minutes), Ali was found guilty by the juries. The case elevated to the US Supreme Court for further investigation and during this time, Ali’s support is getting bigger and the supporters of the Anti-war movement are getting more involved with the upholding of the Ali’s conviction. Ali continued to support Anti-war movement by rendering speeches to some colleges and universities across the country especially those who believed in the anti-war objectives. And some of his quotable quotes that add the flame to the protestors of war are as follows;

  • No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder, kill, and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slave masters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end.
    Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?

10. The decision!

After a thorough investigation and analysis of the case charged by the government particularly the US Armed Forces against Muhammad Ali, the US Supreme Court decided to acquit Ali and reversed his conviction for refusing induction on the 28th of June 1971 via a unanimous decision. The US Supreme Court further explained that their decision was not based entirely on Ali’s claim about the Vietnam War neither from his stand why he had refused to attends and joined US Armed Forces, it was actually the government who failed to submit clear evidence on what and how Muhammad Ali committed the refusal to be inducted. It was not clear on their sides which are rejected and which were sustained.

Top 10 Heavyweight Boxers (In their prime)

 

11. The Retirement!

July 27, 1979 when Muhammad Ali pronounced a statement regarding his retirement from boxing, though this not push through in a longer time because after just a short period of time, he made again another statement of comeback to have a fight against Larry Holmes for WBA Heavyweight Championship belt. Some believed that Muhammad Ali’s need to fight is due to his desperately in short of money. He even seeks a “fit to fight” advice from his physician just to have this bout against Larry. Though Holmes is actually hesitant of fighting Ali because of the latter’s condition, the fight was pushed through on the 2nd of October 1980 in Las Vegas, Nevada. And during the fight, it was very obvious that Ali is no longer the Muhammad Ali who used to be fighting during his early years in boxing, in result; he lost the bout in the eleventh round when his trainer finally stopped the fight. And for the first time, Muhammad Ali lost via a knock-out decision. Despite the need for retirement and rest, Ali did his last fight on the 21st of December 1981 in Nassau which was tagged as the “Drama in Bahamas” against Trevor Berbick. Then he again lost the fight on the tenth round via unanimous decision.

Top 50 KO's - The historical knockouts and Knockdowns of Boxing

Go to 14:13 in this video to see who made the best knockout.

 

12. Foreword!

No heavyweight champion stood still against Muhammad Ali as almost if not all of they had been defeated by Ali during his generation. He never failed to prove everyone that he is indeed the “greatest”. But not only had himself believed on his contributions to the world of boxing as many sports enthusiasts had given him recognitions and awards. In fact, he has the most number of involvements in the “fight of the year” more than any of the boxers, living or non-living. He also had the most number of “fighter of the year” awards more than any boxer in the history of boxing. Aside from these, countless awards came to him such as Arthur Ashe Courage Award, BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, Sports Personality of the Century, Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold and many more. In honor of his contributions not only to the industry of Boxing but in the world of sports, the Board of Aldermen in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky decided to rename Walnut Street to Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

Muhammad Ali boxing a match in silhouette.
Edited by Henrik Jørgensen
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