January is special not only because of it being the first month of the year, but also because many of our favourite personalities from literature, entertainment, sports and politics were born during this month. Speaking of sports, Muhammad Ali is one such figure whose name is quite ubiquitous, especially in the boxing fraternity.
There are people who achieve success at a much later stage in their life, however, Ali was someone who quickly became a great boxer. Other than his ring skills, he was highly regarded for his charm and personality. Let’s take a look at how he went on to become one of the greatest boxers of all time.
|Born||January 17, 1942|
|Died||June 3, 2016|
|Alma Mater||Central High School|
Early life and initial boxing career of Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali was born on January 17, 1942 as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, in a middle class family when discrimination and segregation was widely prevalent in American society. He started boxing by chance at the age of 12 soon after which he started learning it under the training of a Louisville policeman.
His professional boxing career began after he won a gold medal in the 175-pound division at the 1960 Olympic Games. In 1964, Clay challenged Sonny Liston, one of the most powerful fighters of that era and astonishingly, the veteran boxer was defeated. Other legendary boxers against whom Clay won include Floyd Patterson, George Chuvalo, Henry Cooper, Brian London and Cleveland. During his entire career as a professional boxer, Clay has had 56 wins out of a total of 61 fights.
Besides Muhammad Ali’s boxing career
In 1964, soon after Clay defeated Sonny Liston, he announced that he had adopted Islam and two years later, he was rechristened as Muhammad Ali. Like any other renowned personalities, Ali’s life was not one without controversy. He refused induction in the US Army because of which he was stripped off of his championship and prohibited from fighting. Despite few years of break from boxing, when he returned, his reflexes were still superb and he was regarded as a courageous fighter.
Even though Ali’s record of 56 wins and 5 losses with 37 knockouts has been matched by other boxers, what makes him one of the greatest fighters of all time is the competence of his opponents and how he dominated the boxing fraternity during his hey days. In 2005, he was bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.