Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Clay on the 17th January 1942. He began training at an early age and went on to have a very successful amateur career which would set the tone for the whole of his career. In 1960 he won Olympic gold as a light heavyweight.
Ali’s amateur record was amazing with a record of 100 wins with only 5 defeats.
In October of 1960 Ali made his professional debut against Tunney Hunsaker winning a 6 rounder on points.
In the following three years Ali had amass a record of 19-0 with 15 knockouts, however these early fights where not as easy for Ali as his record suggests. He had already been floored a number of times most memorable perhaps by Henry Cooper were he
was in big trouble and was saved by the bell.
After his early troubles it led many people to question Ali’s chin and stamina including the then heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. It was also around this time that he started to verbally abuse his opponents famously calling Henry Cooper “A bum” and claiming that Madison Square Garden wasn’t big enough for him comments like these and other split opinion among boxing fans at the time.
In 1964 Ali got his shot against Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship. Ali went into the fight a big underdog with the bookies, but that didn’t seem to phase him he still treated the buildup in his own unique way verbally battering Liston at any opportunity, including the weigh in on the day of the fight.
Know body would have predicted what happened on the night.
By winning the title Ali made history by becoming the youngest man to win the title from the champion aged just 22 a record that would stand until Mike Tyson won the title aged 20.
In 1965 Ali faced Liston in a rematch for the title a fight that ended in bizarre and controversial fashion
In 1967 Ali fought Ernie Terrel in what would become an infamous fight, as in the build up Terrel refused to call Ali, Ali and kept calling him Clay.
After another successful defence of his title against Zora Folley, Ali was stripped of the title and was unable to fight due to his refusal to join the army and fight in the Vietnam war.
Ali would not fight again until 1970 when he beat Oscar Bonavena by knockout in the 15th round. Although the win was not one of his best performances it put him back in the world title picture and looked to set up a fight with then champion Joe Frazier.
In March of 1971 Ali and Frazier had their first fight
After suffering his first professional loss Ali won 6 fights in 1972. Then in 1973 he fought Ken Norton Norton broke Ali’s jaw and inflicted the second loss of his career. After which Ali was going to call it a day but he won on points in their rematch, which set up a big rematch with Frazier.
Beating Frazier in the rematch set up the world famous Rumble in the Jungle with the champion George Foreman, Ali now 32 was a big underdog going into the fight
After regaining the title against Foreman Ali had a couple of defences , and then in 1975 he had his 3rd fight With Joe Frazier better known as the Thrilla in Manila.
After the Thrilla in Manila Ali was never the same he started to struggle in his fights in 1976 he was seriously injured in a fight with a Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki, and was advised to retire but he continued to fight.
In 1979 he again announced his retirement from boxing, but In 1980 he returned to the ring to take on Larry Holmes if he won he would become world champion for the forth time.
Ali only fought one more time after the Holmes defeat where he lost on points to Trevor Berbick.
Ali finish his career with a record of 61-56-5 with 36 knockouts and a legacy as the greatest of all time. Rest in peace champ