Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. (Muhammed Ali)

 

 

 

Muhammed Ali.jpg
Birmingham times.com

 

 

Muhammed Ali will remain one of the most memorable figures due to his outstanding Olympic and Professional Boxing career. Ali started his boxing career at the young age of 12 and won many national titles and an Olympic Golden Medal.  At the age of 18, he signed a contract with Louisville Sponsoring Group and began his professional boxing career on October 29, 1960, when he won by decision in the sixth round against Tunney Hunsaker.

One of his toughest fights in his professional career was in March 1963, when he fought Dough Jones in Madison Square Garden. Muhammed Ali became the top competitor for the Sonny Liston’s Title and set up a fight against Liston in February. During their fight, on the third round Ali hit Liston with a combination and exposed a cut under his left eye, that was the first time ever, that Liston had been cut. The fight continued and on the fourth round, Ali was complaining about his eyes feeling irritated, apparently, it was due to the ointment that was put on Liston’s eye. Even though Ali’s vision was impaired he managed to continue until round seven, when Ali was announced as the winner by technical knockout (TKO), after hitting Liston over and over again, and was unable to get up. At 22 years of age, Muhammed Ali was the youngest boxer to become a heavyweight champion.

In March of 1965, there was a scheduled match between Ali and Liston for a rematch. In the middle of the first round, Liston was knocked out. It took Liston about 20 seconds to get up, the fight continued for only a few seconds when the referee stopped the fight and announced Ali as the winner by TKO. Then on November 22, 1965, Ali was set to fight Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight championship. The fight between Patterson and Ali lasted all 12 rounds, and Ali was declared the winner by TKO. Ali and Ernie Terrell (WBA heavyweight champion) were scheduled to fight on March 29, 1966, but were denied by the Athletic Commission of Illinois and so Ali decided to take a trip to Europe and Canada. Then in November of ‘1966, he returned to the US to fight against Cleveland Williams. Cleveland was known to be one of the strongest punchers in the heavyweight sector, but Ali defeated him in the 3rd round as a technical knockout. Then of February of 1967, Ali once again had the opportunity to get in the ring with Terrell. By that time Terrell was known to be one of the toughest boxers and had been in the ring with most of Ali’s opponents. In an interview before the fight, Terrell teased Ali by calling him “Clay” (slave name). Ali hated that name and they almost had an altercation. During the fight between Terrell and Ali that lasted 15 rounds, Ali thumbed him on purpose to humiliated him for calling him a slave. Ali won the fight on a unanimous decision. On March 22, after defeating Zora Foley, Ali was destitute from his title for refusing to join the army, and his boxing license was also suspended.

He remained unable to box for three years, and returned to the boxing ring on August 11, 1970, when he fought against Jerry Quarry and won in the 3rd round.  On March 8, 1971, “the fight of the century” as it was called; it was a fight between Ali and Joe Frazier, the two undefeated heavyweight champs. This fight was one of the biggest events and was transmitted to 35 foreign countries. Ali prepared for his fight in a farm in Pennsylvania in 1971 and ended up making it into his training field until the end of his career. It was on a Monday night fight when Ali did his “rope-a-dope- strategy”, Ali held onto the ropes and took Frazier’s punches hoping to wear him out. In the 11th round, Frazier hit him with a left hook that made Ali stagger, on the 12th round Frazier hit Ali with another left hook that sent Ali to the floor, but Ali managed to get up. Frazier won by a unanimous decision, and Ali was defeated for the first time. In 1973 Ali’s jaw was broken after being defeated by Ken Norton, which made it Ali’s 2nd loss in his professional career.  On January of 1974, Ali and Frazier would meet in the ring once again, Frazier had just lost his title against George Foreman; Ali won the fight by a unanimous decision. On October 1974, Ali was set to fight against George Foreman, which was known for throwing knockout punches and who had defeated previous fighters that Ali had been in the ring with. Nobody believed Ali would win, but Ali ended up winning the title after exhausting Foreman over many missed punches. Ali got in the ring for the 3rd time with Frazier, in this fight, Frazier’s trainer stopped the fight in the 15th round saying that Frazier couldn’t fight anymore; his eyes were swollen shut, and Ali was the winner by TKO. Later, Ali would say the fight “was the closest thing to dying that I know.” Ali continued fighting and winning matches until July 1979 when he announced his retirement, but later came back and wanted to fight Larry Holmes to get the heavyweight championship title for the 4th time. By then Ali was starting to have health problems and even though he had been advised not to fight anymore he fought Holmes on October 2, 1980, and was one of his worst fights ever. He lost the fight in the 11th round by technical knockout and had his last fight against Trevor Bernice where he lost in the 10th round. Muhammed Ali died at the age of 74 and will always be remembered for his professional boxing history that he left behind.

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