Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. Muhammad Ali, or as he is commonly known, is considered not only the greatest boxer of all time, but also one of the greatest athletes in history. This sports legend, “flying like a butterfly, stinging like a bee”, is remembered not only for his impressive performances in the boxing ring, but also for his uncompromising stance on many political issues, especially human rights. However, there are quite interesting details in Ali’s life, little known to anyone. Here are 10 interesting facts about Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, that you probably haven’t heard before.
1. Muhammad Ali’s pre-Muslim name, Cassius Marcellus Clay, comes from the American abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay.
Muhammad Ali was born on January 17, 1942 in Kentucky, USA, to Cassius Marsellus Clay Jr. He was born with this name. This man, who would become one of the greatest athletes in history, was named after Cassius Marcellus Clay, a white farmer and abolitionist activist.
However, in subsequent years, the legendary athlete will take on a completely different name. Marcellus Clay Jr. announced in 1964, at the age of 22, that he had converted to Islam. That same year, he was named Muhammad Ali by Elijah Mohammed, the leader of what is also known as the “Nation of Islam” in the United States.
2. His boxing career started with a theft
When Muhammad Ali was only 12 years old, his bicycle was stolen and he faced a nasty theft. One of the cops Ali turned to for help was also a boxing trainer who encouraged the boy who was the victim of the theft to take up boxing.
That advice launched the career of the greatest boxer in history. Muhammad Ali, who signed up for a gym and started boxing soon after, won his first match of his career 6 weeks later. Only after 6 years will he win an Olympic medal …
3. He won an Olympic gold medal in 1960 at the age of 18.
The 1960 Rome Olympics went down in history as the sporting organization where the legend of Muhammad Ali was born. This 18-year-old unstoppable athlete managed to knock down all his opponents and became the owner of a gold medal. But this medal was not just a milestone in Muhammad Ali’s sports career.
After returning to his country as an Olympic champion, Muhammad Ali was racist attacked when he wanted to eat at a restaurant and was not allowed into the restaurant just because he was black. After this event, he stated that he threw the Olympic medal into the Ohio River, and in subsequent years he became one of the symbols of the fight against racism.
4. Refused to fight in Vietnam
In 1967, for various reasons, he refused to serve in the US Army and fight in Vietnam. Making such an outstanding decision for a world-famous athlete was quite risky, but Muhammad Ali did not back down, as he did in the boxing ring.
However, Ali’s anti-war stance caused him to face many challenges. He was stripped of his title, revoked his boxing license, accused of desertion, fined and jailed. However, over his objection, his boxing license was reinstated in 1970. All of his convictions were expunged in 1971.
5. Muhammad Ali was a poet as well as an athlete and activist.
He often wrote poems that made fun of his opponents, whom he defeated in the ring. He was also not shy about uttering his poetry or rhyming and sarcastic words that demoralized his opponents in the ring.
6. Won 56 out of 61 fights in his professional career.
Moreover, many of these opponents were shown as the best boxers of their era. But they had the misfortune to live at the same time as Muhammad Ali! Muhammad Ali, who managed to win 56 out of 61 fights in his career, left 37 fights, knocking out opponents.
7. He suffered his first defeat in the “fight of the century”
Returning to the ring after regaining his boxing license, Muhammad Ali prepared for his first match with his main rival, Joe Frazier. Due to the fierce rivalry between the two, this duel was dubbed the “fight of the century” and was eagerly awaited not only in the US, but throughout the world.
Finally, two important boxing names came face to face on March 8, 1971. Joe Frazier was the winner from the ring. With this victory, Frazier retained the title, and Ali suffered the first defeat of his professional career.
8. This match, known as the “Battle of the Jungle”, is known as one of the most spectacular sporting events in history.
In 1974, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which found a brilliant idea for the promotion of the country, wanted to fight two of the best boxers of that period. Muhammad Ali and George Foreman met in the Congo in 1974. The greeting was advertised as Rumble in the Jungle…
Muhammad Ali won the match. Thus, he managed to regain the title of heavyweight boxing champion lost 7 years ago. But there was another element that made this match one of the most impressive matches in history. Instead of fighting hard with his opponent, Ali passively waited throughout the match, making him tired and knocking his opponent down at the most opportune moment …
9. He was the first boxer to win 3 world heavyweight titles.
Muhammad Ali was the world heavyweight boxing champion in 1964, 1974 and 1978. A boxer has never had such success before …
10. He got Parkinson’s disease at the age of 42.
The greatest boxer in history ended his career in 1979. However, he returned to the ring only a year later. But this return story did not last long. A year later, Ali decided to retire again. Saying goodbye to the ring forever at the age of 39, Muhammad Ali after a few years it became difficult to speak and move.
This great athlete was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 42. However, the disease did not prevent Muhammad Ali from taking part in various humanitarian organizations. Muhammad Ali died on June 3, 2016 at the age of 74.
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