Muhammad Ali was an American professional legendary boxer and activist. He was born on 17 January 1942 and died on 3rd June 2016 at the age of 74. He is also considered as the legend and one of the greatest sports players of his generation. In 1960, Ali won his first Olympic gold medal for his country. He won the world heavyweight boxing title in 1964. He is also the first boxer to receive three Olympic gold medals by winning the heavyweight boxing title thrice. Ali competed in about 61 fights and won almost 56 times during his long 21-year boxing career. He was also recognized as an encouraging, inspiring, controversial, and dividing public figure both outside and inside the boxing ring. Ali used to spoke honestly about issues regarding race, religion and politics which also raise controversy during his career. In 1964, he converted his name to Muhammad Ali from Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. after joining Islam religion.
In 1966 citing his religion beliefs, he refused to conscript into the military involvement of USA during Vietnam War. Ali was ultimately arrested and found guilty. The court punished him by banning him from playing boxing for three years. He claimed further in Supreme Court for his release, which successfully capsized his conviction in 1971. He is also the only fighter to be enlisted six times as The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year. He was also nicknamed as The Greatest, The People’s Champion and The Louisville Lip due to his several historic wins in boxing matches. Ali also recorded two spoken word albums as a musician and a rhythm and blues song that made him the nominee for Grammy Awards. He appeared in several movies along with a Broadway musical. He authored one autobiography during his career and another one after his career. Ali was first connected with Nation of Islam (NOI) and promote their black separatist philosophy. He began to follow Sunni Islam leaving NOI and support racial unification same like his former tutor Malcolm X.
Muhammad Ali was born in Louisville City, Kentucky, USA. His parents were Odessa Lee (Grady) and Cassius Marcellus Clay. He had four brothers and one sister, His one brother named Rahman Ali is also a professional boxer. His ancestors were said to be American slaves in the South. His father was named after Republican politician and loyal abolitionist called Cassius Marcellus Clay. His maternal great-grandfather named Abe Grady is said to be an Irish immigrant but actually, he was almost an African-American man, who was born in Kentucky. He was raised in isolated place of South where he experienced racism and direct discrimination.
When Ali was 12, he luckily realized his skill for boxing. When a thief stole his bike, he reported and explained to the policeman Joe Martin that he wanted to beat the thief. The policeman reportedly answered him that he should have learned how to fight at first before challenging others. Martin was also a boxing trainer at a local gym who used to train youngsters. Ali also admitted being trained by Martin in a gym. In 1954, Ali won the fight due to the split decision in his first amateur boxing match. He had won a title of Kentucky Golden Gloves, two titles of national Golden Gloves, a National title of Amateur Athletic Union, and the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics held in Rome. His beginning record was almost 100 wins with only about five defeats. He illustrated in his 1975 autobiography that when a waiter in “white-only” restaurant refused to give service to him and his friend, he threw his medal into the river. Ali got another medal replacing his lost medal during the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta, where he participated in lighting the torch to start the games.
Muhammad Ali made his debut as a professional boxer on 29 October 1960, winning over Tunney Hunsaker. He set a record of score 19–0 and won total 15 matches up to the end of 1963. He defeated several boxers including his previous trainer and skilled boxer Archie Moore. His fight with the boxer Doug Jones which was held 13 on March 1963 was regarded as Ali’s hardest fight during this span. Ali and Jones also fought at Madison Square Garden (MSG) located in New York City. The match was later titled by The Ring magazine as “Fight of the Year”.
Muhammad Ali is also the Heavy Weight Champion of the world. After winning the titles of 19 fights along with 15 knockouts, Ali gained his first break when he won the fight against a dominant boxer and heavyweight champion Sonny Liston on 25 February 1964. The match was held in Miami Beach, Florida. When Sonny Liston was unable to return the bell at the beginning of the seventh round, Ali was certainly crowned the title of heavyweight champion of the world for the first time. After finishing the fight, the new champion roared that he was the greatest boxer. Next morning after the match, he approved the rumors about his religion conversion at a press conference. On 6 March 1964, leader of Nation of Islam Elijah Muhammad gave him a new name as Muhammad Ali. Ali strengthened his dominance on the heavyweight championship by winning over Liston on 25 May 1965. He was the title holder of the Heavyweight Champion for more eight times steadily. In 1966 citing his religion beliefs, he refused to conscript into the military involvement of USA during Vietnam War. Ali was ultimately arrested and found guilty.
The New York State Athletic Commission instantly canceled his boxing license and renounced his heavyweight champion belts. Ali was sent to prison for about five years along with $10,000 fine. He released from prison after 3 years as he appealed for Supreme Court and his punishment was dismissed. People watched him as a draft crook which minimized his popularity. Ali advocated out against the Vietnam War on college and campuses. As the people found out themselves against such war, Ali regained his popularity and support from public. New York State Supreme Court arranged to revive his boxing license in 1970, the Supreme Court of USA flipped his principle in a universal decision.
Muhammad Ali made his comeback to the ring after 4 years on 26 October 1970. He knocked out Jerry Quarry in the third round. Ali had a golden chance to recapture his heavyweight title against dominating champion Joe Frazier and the fight was also listed as “Fight of the Century. Ali lost the match with Joe Frazer. Ali won his next 10 sessions but later he lost with Ken Norton. He was able to win the rematch fight with Frazier after six months on the basis of the split decision in a non-title match. The fight in Kinshasa, Zaire, was indicated the “Rumble in the Jungle.” Ali succeeded to win an eighth-round knockout by applying his “rope-a-dope” strategy which helped him to regain his deprived title after seven years. Ali was successful to hold his title in 10 fights along with the remarkable “Thrilla in Manila” match in October 1975, where he won over his rival Frazier. Ali lost his fight to Leon Spinks on 15 February 1978 but after seven months, Ali defeated Spinks in a universal 15-round decision to regain the heavyweight title and become the first boxer to win the title of world heavyweight champion for three times. He retired from boxing in 1979, but he returned again which was not his successful comeback. However, Ali lost his match to Larry Holmes in 1980 and to Trevor Berbick on 11 December 1981. It was his last fight and the 39-year-old Ali finally retired his boxing career with 56 wins, 5 losses, and total 37 knockouts.
In 1984 Ali was found suffered from Parkinson’s disease (PD) caught during his boxing career. The disease affects the basic nerve cells presence in the brain. Due to the disease, he had to reduce his movement and his speeches were also limited. Ali also stepped in various social works along with fundraising and charity appearances. In 1990, he also met and request former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to release American hostages. He also went to Afghanistan in 2002 as a Messenger of Peace representing United Nations. Ali also received an honor of lighting the cauldron during the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta. Ali was also voted by the public as the BBC’s “Sporting Personality of the Century,” in 1999 and also named as “Sportsman of the Century.” In 2005, he received an honorable Presidential Medal of Freedom in a White House ceremony. Muhammad Ali Center, a nonprofit museum, and cultural center was established by dedicating Ali on 19 November 2005 in Louisville, Kentucky. Ring Magazine listed Muhammad Ali as “Fighter of the Year” for five times and in 1990, he was also conscripted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Ali lived in Cherry Hill, New Jersey during the early 1970s Ali did four marriages in his lifetime. He had 9 children i.e. seven daughters and two sons. Ali first wife was Sonji Roi who was introduced to him by Herbert Muhammad. They married on 14 August 1964. But the couple divorced on 10 January 1966. The main reason for their divorce was Sonja’s activities not following Islamic beliefs. On 17 august 1967, Ali married with Belinda Boyd. She followed Islam and converted her name as Khalilah Ali. The couple had four children: Maryum, twins Jamillah and Rasheda, and Muhammad Ali Jr. In 1974, Muhammad Ali started the affair with Wanda Bolton who was only 16. Later she changed her name to Aisha Ali and also became a mother of Ali’s daughter. Ali married with Aisha even he had his wife which was illegal. He also had another daughter from an affair relationship. Ali started to date an actress named Veronica Porché in 1975. His second wife Belinda Boyd also claimed that Ali had many other illegitimate children. In 1977, he divorced his second wife and married Porché. During their marriage, the couple already had a baby daughter and Veronica Porche was pregnant again. Porche deliver a second daughter in December 1977. Ali and Porché finally divorced in 1986.
Muhammad Ali again married Yolanda Williams as his fourth legalized wife on November 19, 1986. Yolanda was his friend since 1964 when they were in Louisville. The couple adopted a son when a baby was five months old. Kiiursti Ali also claimed that she was a daughter of Muhammad Ali and Barbara Mensah which was later biologically proved. In 2010, Ali was claimed by Osmon Williams as his father. He claimed that his mother Temica Williams accused Ali of sexual violation in 1981 and gave birth to him as Ali’s son. Ali then shifted to Scottsdale, Arizona, with Lonnie. They spent about $ 1.9 million to buy a house in eastern Jefferson County, Kentucky. Lonnie changed her religion to Islam from Christian during her late twenties. His daughter Laila also became a boxer. His daughter Hana is married to Kevin Casey, a UFC middleweight fighter. Ali’s daughter Maryum also served as a volunteer for the reality show in 2016.
Muhammad Ali’s brother Rahman Ali stated in February 2013 that Muhammad hadn’t ability to speak and could die soon. Ali’s daughter May May Ali illustrated that as the false rumors and told that he was fine and done conversation on February 3. On 20 December 2014, Ali was admitted to hospital as he was suffered from pneumonia. On 15 January 2015, He was found insensitive and again hospitalized, later found as urine infection. He got discharged on next day. He was again hospitalized on 2nd June 2016 due to the respiratory problem. When he was in the hospital, his health was described fair. But suddenly, his condition became worse and died from septic shock. His death became influenced topic in social media and main headlines in the news. ESPN telecasted non-stop four hours report about Muhammad Ali. Documentary on him was telecasted through BET. Several News networks including BBC, CNN, ABC News and Fox News also broadly telecasted about Muhammad Ali. His death was the loss of boxing legend in sports history.