10 Things You May Not Know About Muhammad Ali

10 Things You May Not Know About Muhammad Ali

1. A red-and-white Schwinn bicycle launched his boxing career.

When the 12-year-old Clay’s beloved bicycle was stolen in October 1954, he reported the theft to Louisville, Kentucky, police officer Joe Martin and vowed to pummel the culprit. Martin, who was also a boxing trainer, suggested that the upset youngster first learn how to fight, and he took Clay under his wing. Six weeks later, Clay won his first bout in a split decision.

2. He was originally named in honor of a white abolitionist.

The fighter, like his father, was named for Cassius Marcellus Clay, a 19th-century farmer and anti-slavery crusader who emancipated the 40 slaves he inherited from his father. The abolitionist, a second cousin of Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, edited an anti-slavery newspaper, commanded troops in the Mexican-American War and served as minister to Russia under President Abraham Lincoln. In defying Southern conventions of the time, Clay faced more than death threats. He was beaten, stabbed and shot by political opponents but lived to the age of 92.

3. Before becoming known as Muhammad Ali, he changed his name to Cassius X.

The morning after defeating Liston, the new heavyweight champion confirmed reports that he had become a member of the Nation of Islam. With Malcolm X at his side, the champ told reporters that he had renounced his surname, which he called his “slave name,” and would be known as “Cassius X” until Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad gave him a holy name. That name, Muhammad Ali, was bestowed on March 6, 1964.

4. Ali was banned from boxing for three years.

As the Vietnam War raged in 1967, Ali refused to serve in the U.S. military for religious reasons. The heavyweight champion was arrested, and the New York State Athletic Commission immediately suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. Ali was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison and fined $10,000, although he remained free while the conviction was appealed. In 1970 the New York State Supreme Court ordered his boxing license reinstated, and he returned to the ring by knocking out Jerry Quarry in October 1970. The following year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali’s conviction in a unanimous decision.

5. Ali starred in a Broadway musical.

During his 43-month forced exile from the ring, Ali took to the stage in the title role of the musical “Buck White.” The production opened inside New York’s George Abbott Theatre on December 2, 1969, but Ali’s stage career would be a brief one. “Buck White” closed four nights later after just seven performances. In spite of the limited run, Ali, who played a militant black lecturer, received decent reviews. “He sings with a pleasant slightly impersonal voice, acts without embarrassment and moves with innate dignity,” wrote a New York Times reviewer. “He does himself proud.”

6. He recorded an album of spoken verse.

The loquacious Ali was boxing’s poet laureate, composing verses in which he taunted opponents and praised himself. His iambic pentameter was so popular that Columbia Records released a 1963 spoken word album called “I Am the Greatest” in which the 21-year-old rising star performed his poetry, backed my musical accompaniment, before an audience. The album also included two songs by the boxer, including a cover of the Ben E. King hit “Stand by Me.”

7. Ali has Irish roots.

Perhaps not surprising given Ali’s gift of gab, but his great-grandfather Abe Grady was an Irishman who emigrated to the United States and settled in Kentucky in the 1860s. There he married a freed slave, and one of their grandchildren was Ali’s mother, Odessa Lee Grady Clay. In 2009, Ali visited his great-grandfather’s ancestral hometown of Ennis, Ireland, and met fellow members of the O’Grady clan.

8. He fought one of his most famous bouts at 4 a.m.

In 1974, a 32-year-old Ali earned a title shot against undefeated 25-year-old champion George Foreman. Seeking to generate positive publicity for his country, Zaire’s dictatorial president Mobutu Sese Seko paid each fighter $5 million to stage the fight in his capital city of Kinshasa. In order for American audiences to watch the fight live in prime time, the bout began in the early morning hours before the sun dawned on Africa. In what was dubbed the “Rumble in the Jungle,” Ali won in an eight-round knockout to regain the heavyweight title that had been stripped from him seven years prior.

9. His Olympic gold medal may be submerged on a river bottom.

After graduating high school, the 18-year-old fighter traveled to Rome and won the light heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics. Ali wrote in his 1975 autobiography that after returning to Louisville, he threw his gold medal off a bridge and into the Ohio River to protest the racism that he still encountered in his hometown. The account has been disputed, however, and it is believed that Ali lost the medal instead. During the 1996 Summer Olympics, at which he lit the cauldron in the Opening Ceremonies, Ali received a replacement gold medal.

10. The gloves he wore to defeat Liston earned him more money than the victory itself.

Almost 50 years to the day after Ali captured the heavyweight championship for the first time, an anonymous buyer purchased the gloves he wore to defeat Liston in the seventh-round technical knockout for $836,000. Ali only earned $630,000 for the victory itself.


10 Things that you may not know about Muhammad Ali

1. A red-and-white Schwinn bicycle launched his boxing career.
When the 12-year-old Clay’s beloved bicycle was stolen in October 1954, he reported the theft to Louisville, Kentucky, police officer Joe Martin and vowed to pummel the culprit. Martin, who was also a boxing trainer, suggested that the upset youngster first learn how to fight, and he took Clay under his wing. Six weeks later, Clay won his first bout in a split decision.

2. He was originally named in honor of a white abolitionist.
The fighter, like his father, was named for Cassius Marcellus Clay, a 19th-century farmer and anti-slavery crusader who emancipated the 40 slaves he inherited from his father. The abolitionist, a second cousin of Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, edited an anti-slavery newspaper, commanded troops in the Mexican-American War and served as minister to Russia under President Abraham Lincoln. In defying Southern conventions of the time, Clay faced more than death threats. He was beaten, stabbed and shot by political opponents but lived to the age of 92.

3. Before becoming known as Muhammad Ali, he changed his name to Cassius X.
The morning after defeating Liston, the new heavyweight champion confirmed reports that he had become a member of the Nation of Islam. With Malcolm X at his side, the champ told reporters that he had renounced his surname, which he called his “slave name,” and would be known as “Cassius X” until Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad gave the name of Muhammad Ali on March 6, 1964.

4. Ali was banned from boxing for three years.
As the Vietnam War raged in 1967, Ali refused to serve in the U.S. military for religious reasons. The heavyweight champion was arrested, and the New York State Athletic Commission immediately suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. Ali was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison and fined $10,000, although he remained free while the conviction was appealed. In 1970 the New York State Supreme Court ordered his boxing license reinstated, and he returned to the ring by knocking out Jerry Quarry in October 1970. The following year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali’s conviction in a unanimous decision.

5. He never turns down an autograph request
As a young boy, Cassius Clay asked his idol, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson for an autograph. Robinson rudely told the boy « I don&rsquot got time. » Young Cassius never forgot how hurt he was by Robinson&rsquos rejection. To this day, he has never once turned down a request for an autograph. He even has a special P.O. box for anyone who wants his autograph

6. Ali helped give us Rocky.
In 1975, Ali fought a little-known boxer named Chuck Wepner (« The Bayonne Bleeder »). Ali was a heavy favorite, and he did win, but it took him the full 15 rounds to get the decision. Wepner&rsquos courage in going the full distance with the famous world champion inspired a young, unknown writer/actor named Sylvester Stallone to write the screenplay for his classic film Rocky. Rocky&rsquos opponent in the film, Apollo Creed, was based on Ali.

7. He recorded an album of spoken verse.
Muhammad Ali recorded an album for Epic Records in 1964 titled « I Am The Greatest. » The track, « The Gang&rsquos All Here » was produced by Sam Cooke.

8. Ali was the first man to knock down Sonny Liston, George Foreman, and Chuck Wepner.

9. Aside from being a boxer and a singer, Ali also starred himself in a four motion pictures in December 1969 which he took the lead in a Broadway called Buck White.

10. The city of Louisville dedicated Muhammad Ali Boulevard in 1978. Shortly thereafter, twelve of the 70 street signs related to it were stolen, presumably by memorabilia collectors.


10 A Stolen Bicycle Inspired His Career

Before he could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, Muhammad Ali was a 12-year-old boy looking for revenge.

It was October 1954, and Ali (still known as Cassius Clay) was the proud owner of a red Schwinn bicycle. It was a Christmas gift from his dad, and he planned on riding it to a bazaar in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. He and a buddy spent the day checking out the stalls and munching on popcorn, but when Ali was ready to go home, he found someone had stolen his prized bike. Tears streaming down his face, Ali headed to a local gym, looking for Joe Martin, a cop who just so happened to be a boxing coach.

He explained his situation to Martin and threatened to &ldquowhup&rdquo whoever stole his bike. Looking the skinny kid up and down, Martin advised, &ldquoYou better learn to fight before you start fighting.&rdquo After helping Ali fill out a police report, Martin handed him a gym application.

Six weeks later, Ali won his very first fight on local TV, beating a kid named Ronny O&rsquoKeefe by a split decision. Martin would go on to teach Ali the basics of boxing, and together they&rsquod win six Kentucky Golden Glove titles, two national Amateur Athletic Union titles, and eventually a gold medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics. Of course, Ali never got his bike back, but if he ever actually met the thief, he&rsquod probably shake his hand.


Ten things you may not know about Muhammad Ali

The ‘Greatest of All Time’, Muhammad Ali needs no introduction. A three-time lineal heavyweight champion, Olympic gold medalist and arguably the 20th Century’s most famous sportsman, the ‘Louisville Lip’ was truly one of a kind.

In memory of boxing’s favourite son, Boxing Guru brings you the ten things that you may not know about the ‘People’s Champion’.

The stolen bicycle

In the October of 1954, a stolen bicycle from Louisville changed the world. Ali was 12 years old when first introduced to boxing. Known back then as Cassius Clay, the American schoolboy loved his bike just as much as he did talking.

When thief’s stole Ali’s bicycle in the winter of 54’, the future world champion vowed to police officers that he would pummel the culprit if caught.

The story goes that Kentucky policeman and boxing trainer Joe Martin, suggested that the upset youngster first learn how to fight before taking the law into his own hands.

Martin took Ali under his wing. Along with fellow trainer Fred Stoner, the two had moulded an amateur talented enough to beat anyone!

No, I won’t go!

Ali floated like a butterfly and throughout life stung like a bee. He famously however, missed out on his prime as an athlete, denied the right to box between 1967 and 1970.

Sentenced by the American government to five years in prison, fined $10,000, and stripped of his titles and passport, Ali was severely punished for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War.

On religious grounds, the proud Muslim made clear that he would not serve in the U.S. military when President John F Kennedy’s soldiers entered Asia in March 1965. As a consequence, the champion was arrested and convicted of draft evasion.

Ali exclaimed: “War is against the teachings of the Qur’an. I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”

In 1970, the New York State Supreme Court ordered Ali’s boxing license to be reinstated. He returned to the ring by knocking out Jerry Quarry that same year.

“One thing must be taken into account when talking about Ali – he was robbed of his best years, his prime years.” Ali’s trainer Angelo Dundee.

The performer

Whilst exiled from the ring, Ali took to Broadway! A brief spell as a stage performer, the boxer starred in ‘Buck White’ the musical. One of several adventures during his 43-month suspension from sport, Ali played a militant black lecturer. The production ran for just four days in December 1969. A natural as with everything, Ali was even praised by the New York Times.

A reviewer from the newspaper, said that: “Ali sings with a pleasant slightly impersonal voice, acts without embarrassment and moves with innate dignity.”

The Irishman

The great grandson to Irishman Abe Grady, Ali’s charm almost certainly descended from his maternal County Clare routes. Grady emigrated from Ennis, Ireland to the United States in the 1860’s and eventually settled in Kentucky. In 2009, Ali visited and went to explore the town of Ennis for himself. Upon arrival, the world’s greatest pugilist was presented with a Freedom of The City certificate!

Sink or swim

An icon both within and outside of sport, Ali thrived in all walks of life. Watched by an estimated 3.5 billion viewers as he lit the 1996 Olympic torch in Atlanta, it was after graduating from high school that the 18-year-old began his Olympic journey.

Travelling to Rome for the 1960 games and triumphing in Italy with the gold medal around his neck, Ali explained in his 1975 autobiography that the silverware didn’t stay there for very long.

Ali claimed that after returning to Louisville, he threw his award off a bridge and into the Ohio River. Whilst the story has been disputed, it is believed that the Olympian sunk his medal to protest against the racism that he still encountered in his hometown.

When lighting the torch 36-years-later, Ali was presented with a replacement medal.

Rumours suggest that on the flight to Rome, Ali wore a parachute due to his fear of flying!

The negotiator

As a respected Muslim and advocate for peace in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Ali was requested by those at the top of American government to help procure the release of US hostages oversees. A symbol of hope, Ali famously rescued 15 of his own countrymen from Iraq in 1990.

Boxing was in the blood of Laila Ali. The eighth of her father’s nine children, ‘Madame Butterfly’ retired from an eight-year professional boxing career undefeated.

Holding the WBC, WIBA, IWBF and IBA female super middleweight titles, ‘Pretty Baby’ even turned back time and won the IWBF light heavyweight title in 2004.

Ali made history as she starred on the first Pay Per View boxing card ever to be headlined by women, beating the daughter of Joe Frazier – Jacqui Frazier-Lyde. Ali’s 10 th victory, she won by majority decision in New York, 2001.

Ali, now an American television personality, retired from boxing with an impressive 24-0 record.

The Wrestler

A wrestling fans dream come true Ali fought an MMA fight! On the 26 th June 1976, Ali challenged Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki to a wrestling bout in Japan.

Team Ali had no idea the seriousness of the contest. Presuming that the fight was staged, Ali was in for a nasty surprise when his leg almost had to be amputated.

Inoki caused serious damage to Ali’s legs in the event coined ‘The War of The Worlds.’ A gruelling display from both athletes resulted in a draw.

Fascinatingly, the two fighters formed a friendship as the years went by. Ali flew out to Japan and watched Inoki win his final match-up, beating former wrestler Don “The Predator” Frye.

Frank Sinatra

Dubbed ‘The Fight of The Century’, Ali’s return to boxing was spectacular. In the March of 1971, ‘The GOAT’ bounced back from his draft evasion suspension and took on ‘Smokin Joe’ Frazier at Maddison Square Garden.

The demand for tickets was so high that even the world’s most famous simply could not watch from inside the arena. Perhaps the best-known singer of all time, Frank Sinatra could only gain access to MSG as a photographer for Life magazine!

Ali was beaten by an extraordinary unanimous decision in favour of Frazier. Sinatra’s cover photo for Life shows Ali protecting himself from a deadly ‘Billy Boy’.

Tougher than a rock

According to his younger brother and former heavyweight boxer Rahman Ali, Muhammad would dodge rocks when practising movement and improving his speed as a youngster.

“He used to ask me to throw rocks at him,” Rahman said. “I thought he was crazy, but he’d dodge every one. No matter how many I threw, I could never hit him.”

Ali’s younger brother lived his life on the undercard. Winning 14 of his 17 professional bouts, Rahman knew full well that his older brother was the boss!


10 Things You Didin’t Know About Muhammad Ali by Fedia Lafortune

On January 17,1942, the author F.M.Milverstedt wrote a book called “In This Corner: Muhammad Ali”, he talked about Muhammad Ali’s early life. Muhammad were born as Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. Ali started boxing when he was 12 years old, he was winning amateur fights in gyms and clubs around Louisville, Kentucky, the town where he grew up.

Thomas Hauter, an American author who wrote a biography of Ali “Muhammad Ali: His Life In Times” tells that after Muhammad Ali have been advanced in boxing he was ready to participate in the Olympics Games in Rome. And he won a gold medal in the 175-pounds division in 1960 and began a professional career since then. After starting getting more and more professional in boxing, Clay challenged Sonny Liston for the heavyweight Championship of the World. Everyone was saying that Liston is the most powerful fighter of his era.

According to Thomas Hauter, he said that the boxer competing Ali was named Liston and he was 8 years older than him. Everybody was saying that Ali will never knockout Liston because he is older and his chest is bigger than Ali’s. Ali insult Liston by saying that Liston is nothing but a ugly old bear. Actually Ali showed them fallos they were wrong, and he knockout after six rounds on February 25, 1964, he called himself the “I’m the Greatest of all time” since then. On March 6, 1964 announced the nation that he is no longer Cassius Clay Jr. but Muhammad Ali because now he is muslim.

According to Richard Durham in the article “Muhammad Ali and The Draft”, he explains that the draft was a law in the 1960s in America that was forcing teens who were 18 years old to participate in Vietnam war. The vietnam war with the American started in 1964 and it ended in 1975. Many Athletes expressed their support toward the war, but Muhammad Ali refused to be part of the war.

On April 28, 1967, Ali was ask to participate in the Vietnam war, however he refused because of religious beliefs. Furthermore his refusal cost him a lot, because he did not want be part of the U.S army force. He was take away from his championship title and the government did not allow him to box. They also seized his passport so he won’t leave the country because they said Ali was breaking the law and he was sentenced years of prison.

In the biography of “Muhammad Ali: His Life In Times” writing by Thomas Hauter explains how Ali stood up for himself by saying that he have nothing to do the Vietcong and he also said that if someone don’t have a good reason for killing it consider like a wrong action toward human life.

In 1971 the court declared that he was not guilty and was put out in jail. After all those years going through conflict with the government in the draft law, Ali lost a lot of his ability of boxing, but he still tried to gained his title as a champion by knocking out George foreman with a eighth-rounds on Oct. 30, 1974, in Kinshasa.

In the history of boxing Ali is the champion of all time, no one in his time was never that courageous and ready to fight for what he believe in. Ali sacrificed almost his career for his religion. Ali shown the nation that he did not choice boxing to be famous or to have money, he shown it not than that, boxing is a way to shown the nation what he like and also a way to stand up for his people.

In the book “In The Corner: Muhammad Ali” by F.M.Milverstedt talked about Ali’s victories and losses. Ali won 56 times, lost 5 games with 37 knockout. Ali fought with Sonny Liston,Floyd Patterson in Europe, Ali defeating George Foreman in Kinshasa

In 1979 Ali announced his retirement, Ali had brain damage caused by blow to the head, slow movement, and other symptoms of parkinson syndromes, Ali married his fourth wife Yolanda Williams and had nine children. In the mid-1970s, he began to study the Qurʾan seriously and turned to Orthodox Islam and got more involved in his religion.

Works Cited

“Muhammad Ali and the Draft.” American Decades Primary Sources. Ed. Cynthia Rose. Vol. 7: 1960-1969. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 644-649. Biography in Context. Web. 18 Mar. 2014.

Milverstedt, F. M., Sonia Katchian, and Heinz Kluetmeier. In This Corner, Muhammad Ali. Milwaukee: Raintree Editions, 1976.


Ten Things You Probably Didn't Know About Muhammad Ali

Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) was the greatest boxer ever to lift a glove. Heavyweight boxing, without his amazing presence, is nowadays dull and almost completely uninteresting. Can anyone name the current heavyweight champion of the world? Ali turns 71 today, and in his honor, here are ten facts about "The Greatest."

1. He never turns down an autograph request.

As a young boy, Cassius Clay asked his idol, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson for an autograph. Robinson rudely told the boy "I don't got time." Young Cassius never forgot how hurt he was by Robinson's rejection. To this day, he has never once turned down a request for an autograph. He even has a special P.O. box for anyone who wants his autograph.

2. He used to race the school bus.

As a kid growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius didn't ride the bus to school like other kids. Instead of riding, Cassius would literally race the bus to school every morning.

3. A stolen bicycle started his boxing career.

Why did Cassius Clay become a boxer? As a 12-year-old boy, he was given a beautiful new bicycle as a gift. The bicycle was stolen, and when Cassius went to the local police department to report the theft, he met officer Joe Martin. Martin introduced Cassius to the world of boxing, and this was the beginning of his boxing career. Also Cassius vowed that he was "going to whip whoever stole his bike," but the stolen bicycle never turned up.

4. He only wore Elvis' robe once.

Elvis Presley gave Ali a boxing robe as a gift, with the words "The People's Champion" inscribed on the back. Ali wore it to his next fight, but he lost. He never wore the robe to fight again, thinking it was bad luck.

5. He threw away his gold medal.

Young Cassius Clay won a gold medal as a light heavyweight at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Later, upon returning to the United States, Clay was refused service at a small diner because of his race. Clay walked out of the diner and threw his gold medal (which he wore all the time) off a bridge and into the Ohio River. He claimed he didn't want to wear a medal in a country where he couldn't be served.

6. He rode in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

In 1988, Ali rode on a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade. The float commemorated the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution.

7. He record a record album and a single.

In 1963, the 21-year-old Clay recorded a record of Ben E. King's song "Stand By Me." The record was released in early 1964 and hit #102 on the charts. The single was from the Columbia album he recorded that year called I Am The Greatest. I Am The Greatest was mostly a spoken-word album, with the sound of a bell separating each individual sequence.

8. He was KOed by Kent Green.

Want a good bar bet? In over 110 amateur fights, Cassius Clay was only knocked out once. Who KOed Clay? Kent Green is the only boxer to knock out Cassius Clay, defeating him in the third round on a technical knockout. Green's record as a pro boxer was 14 and 2.

9. Ali helped give us Rocky.

In 1975, Ali fought a little-known boxer named Chuck Wepner ("The Bayonne Bleeder"). Ali was a heavy favorite, and he did win, but it took him the full 15 rounds to get the decision. Wepner's courage in going the full distance with the famous world champion inspired a young, unknown writer/actor named Sylvester Stallone to write the screenplay for his classic film Rocky. Rocky's opponent in the film, Apollo Creed, was based on Ali.

10. Ali has quite a show business resume.

Ali has starred as himself in four motion pictures. In December of 1969, he had the lead in a Broadway show called Buck White. A 21-year-old Cassius Clay was actually interviewed by Jerry Lewis on the biggest flop of Lewis' career, the ill-fated talk show The Jerry Lewis Show in 1963. The Lewis-Clay interview is a fairly solemn, unfunny affair, especially considering the two such colorful personalities. The Jerry Lewis Show was cancelled after a handful of episodes shortly after Clay's appearance.

"The Story Of Muhammad Ali" by Udi Verma & Paul Lane
(YouTube link)


His book weighs 75 pounds

TASCHEN published a book entitled GOAT: A Tribute To Muhammad Ali, which weighs a whooping 75 pounds and comprises of 762 pages, with 600,000 words and 3,000 images. The collector’s editions come in pink leather, the color of the Cadillac Ali purchased for his parents following his first professional fight in 1960. The leather itself is produced by the official bindery for the Vatican, and each edition is presented in a silk-covered box. The limited collector’s editions sell for between $6,000 and $15,000.


Muhammad Ali ‘The Greatest’ Boxer and 20th-Century Icon Dies at 74

by Patrick J. Kiger, June 5, 2016 | Comments: 0

Muhammad Ali lived with Parkinson’s disease for more than three decades

Muhammad Ali, who died on June 3rd in Phoenix at age 74, was known for his inimitable virtuosity as a boxer that was overshadowed by his charismatic, larger-than-life personality. He was a controversial figure due in large part to his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War, but his courage in sticking to his beliefs and his resilience in living for more than three decades with Parkinson’s disease made him a hero around the world.

Here are 10 things you might not know about him.

1. He started boxing at age 12 in Louisville, Ky., after reporting the theft of his bicycle to a police officer who ran a gym.

2. He was relatively soft-spoken until a 1961 introduction to flamboyant professional wrestler Gorgeous George, whose outlandish antics helped attract big audiences.

3. After predicting he would win a 1962 bout in five rounds, Ali knocked out his opponent in the fourth and explained that he’d subtracted a round because the fighter had refused to shake hands with him.

4. He recited his poetry at the Bitter End coffeehouse in Greenwich Village in 1963.

5. On the day before his title fight with Sonny Liston in 1964, the Beatles visited him at his gym in Miami.

6. Invited to the White House in 1974, Ali told President Gerald Ford, “You made a big mistake letting me come, because now I’m going after your job.”

7. In 1981 he helped talk a suicidal man off a window ledge in Los Angeles.

8. He liked watching vintage westerns on TV.

9. Despite his Parkinson’s tremors, Ali made a surprise appearance at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, to light the torch at the opening ceremonies. His wife, Lonnie, said, “It was like he’d won the heavyweight title a fourth time.”

10. In April he appeared at a fund-raiser for the Barrow Neurological Institute’s Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, which cares for patients with movement disorders


All you want to know about Muhammad Ali, “The Greatest”

One of the most recognised sportspersons in the world, Ali was crowned “Sportsman of the Century.

Muhammad Ali, A Pixabay picture

After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, boxing legend Muhammad Ali died on Saturday following his hospitalisation two days ago for respiratory ailments in Phoenix in the USA.

With his demise, an era has come to an end because Ali was not just one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of boxing.

He was a crusader for human rights often taking up issues that were considered sensitive, controversial and even anti-national.

One of the most recognised sportspersons in the world, Ali was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by the Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by BBC.

Here are 10 things you would like to know about “The Greatest”, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee in the boxing ring:

1. Muhammad Ali was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

His father’s name was Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. Both the father and son were named after Cassius Marcellus Clay, the 19th-century abolitionist and politician.

2. A police officer guided Ali to boxing when he was 12-year-old after the boy told him that he would “whup” a thief who stole his bicycle. The officer told him to learn boxing first.

3. Clay went on to win six Kentucky Gold Gloves titles, two National Gold Gloves titles, an Amateur Athletic Union title and a gold medal in Light Heavyweight category in the Rome Olympics in 1960. He won 100 amateur bouts and lost only five.

4. On October 29, 1960, Clay made his professional boxing debut defeating Tony Hunsaker. For the next three years, he was unbeaten with a record of 19-0.

5. On February 25, 1964, 22-year-old Clay became the youngest boxer to snatch the coveted world heavyweight title from a reigning champion when he beat Sony Liston. Soon after becoming world champion, he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

6. He remained unbeaten for till March 22, 1967, when he was stripped of his title due to his refusal to join US Army that was fighting Vietnam War on the ground of religious beliefs and opposition to America’s attack on the far-eastern country.

He famously said: “No Vietcong ever called me nigger.” His boxing license was cancelled by the state of New York and he was barred for three years.

He was convicted for draft evasion (refusal to join US Army) and sentenced to five years in jail. He was granted bail after paying a bond and successfully challenged the sentence in US Supreme Court.

7. Ali returned to the ring on October 26, 1970 winning the bout and was set to face world champion Joe Frazier in a bout billed as “Fight of the Century”. Ali lost the fight, his first professional defeat. He, however, avenged his defeat three years later.

8. Ali regained the heavyweight title on October 30, 1974, by beating reigning champion George Foreman, who, after the fight, said: “Ali outthought and outfought me”.

9. Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion winning title in 1964, 1974 and 1978. He lost only thrice in his professional career – to Frazier in 1970, Larry Homes in 1980 and Trever Berbick in 1981 in his last fight.

10. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome in 1984. But despite failing health, he involved himself in several social and cultural activities including meeting former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to negotiate the release of American hostages in 1991 and going to Afghanistan in 2002 as the UN Messenger of Peace. His biopic “Ali’ was published in 2001.


On This Day in History: Muhammad Ali refuses Army induction

On April 28, 1967, boxing champion Muhammad Ali refuses to be inducted into the U.S. Army and is immediately stripped of his heavyweight title. Ali, a Muslim, cited religious reasons for his decision to forgo military service.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 14, 1942, the future three-time world champ changed his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964 after converting to Islam. He scored a gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome and made his professional boxing debut against Tunney Husaker on October 29, 1960, winning the bout in six rounds. On February 25, 1964, he defeated the heavily favored bruiser Sonny Liston in six rounds to become heavyweight champ.

On April 28, 1967, with the United States at war in Vietnam, Ali refused to be inducted into the armed forces, saying “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.” On June 20, 1967, Ali was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to five years in prison, fined $10,000 and banned from boxing for three years. He stayed out of prison as his case was appealed and returned to the ring on October 26, 1970, knocking out Jerry Quarry in Atlanta in the third round. On March 8, 1971, Ali fought Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century” and lost after 15 rounds, the first loss of his professional boxing career. On June 28 of that same year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction for evading the draft.

At a January 24, 1974, rematch at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, Ali defeated Frazier by decision in 12 rounds. On October 30 of that same year, an underdog Ali bested George Foreman and reclaimed his heavyweight champion belt at the hugely hyped “Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasa, Zaire, with a knockout in the eighth round. On October 1, 1975, Ali met Joe Frazier for a third time at the “Thrilla in Manila” in the Philippines and defeated him in 14 rounds. On February 15, 1978, Ali lost the title to Leon Spinks in a 15-round split decision. However, seven months later, on September 15, Ali won it back.

In June 1979, Ali announced he was retiring from boxing. He returned to the ring on October 2, 1980, and fought heavyweight champ Larry Holmes, who knocked him out in the 11th round. After losing to Trevor Berbick on December 11, 1981, Ali left the ring for the final time, with a 56-5 record. He is the only fighter to be heavyweight champion three times. In 1984, it was revealed Ali had Parkinson’s disease. He died on June 3, 2016.


Before 1973, the media were not invited to attend the Logies. This was due to the Logies not receiving much attention or deemed a must-see show. In 1961, ABC first aired the Logies but only in a 30 minute ‘highlights’ form. When the media attended the event for the first time in the early 70s, many stories arose which surprised and sparked media interest.

A famous international actor from the TV show Mod Squad accepted his award for Best International Show completely intoxicated. He ended his speech by cussing. It marked the first ever swear word to be aired on Australian television. According to host Bert Newton, Nine Network received thousands of complaints and since that moment, media have closely monitored the Logies.