Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on January 17, 1942 in Louisville Kentucky, U.S.A. Towering 6’3 feet, he became the three-time World Heavyweight champion. The young Clay, Jr. began boxing at 12 years when he was featured on Joe Martin’s TV Show “Tomorrow’s Champion”. He began training under Fred Stoner, who is credited for the dance-like footwork of the soon-to-be boxing superstar. When he converted to Islam in 1964, Clay, Jr. changed his name to Muhammad Ali, for which he was known for in his boxing career.
During his amateur career, Ali was received an Olympic gold medal for reigning as champion in the light heavyweight division in Rome in 1960. Thereafter, he retuned to his hometown Louisville to begin his professional boxing career. His first professional fight was against Tunney Hunsaker in 1960 where he was proclaimed winner. His career record from 1960 to 1963 was unstained by any losses. From this time forward, Ali began to train under Angelo Dundee.
Ali was one of the most exciting boxers of his time. He was notorious for being cocky in and out of court, which intimidated most of his opponents. He even went to the extent of writing poems saying his own predictions of his upcoming fights. For this, he came to be known as “The Louisville Lip.” He was also later known as “The Champ”, besting all his opponents in the ring in all world titles.
In 1964, Ali won his first title fight, claiming top boxer and more favored Sonny Liston’s title to become the champion for the WBA & WBC Heavyweight titles. In a second rematch held in 1965, Ali once again defeated Liston by KO. From 1965 until 1970, Ali never experienced defeat and most of his victories were KOs. One of his frowned fights was in 1967 when his opponent Ernie Terrell called him by his birth name “Clay”. Angered, it was said that Ali made it sure that Terrell was not knocked down but made to suffer all 15 rounds of punching.In 1970, after the suspension of his boxing license by U.S. boxing commissions for not appearing in his induction to the armed forces in 1967, Ali resumed his boxing career in Georgia, the only state in the U.S. without a boxing commission.
Ali’s most well-known ring rival is Joe Frazier. Ali and Frazier met in 1971 in the ring in the bout dubbed as the “Fight of the Century”. It is noteworthy that at the time Ali’s license was suspended, Joe Frazier topped the boxing rank. That fight held in Madison Square Garden is an all-time favorite boxing event. After 15 rounds of boxing, Frazier was declared winner by a unanimous decision, giving Ali his first career loss.