Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali NYWTS.jpg
Ali in 1967
Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.

(1942-01-17)January 17, 1942
DiedJune 3, 2016(2016-06-03) (aged 74)
Resting placeCave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky
EducationCentral High School (1958)
Criminal chargeDraft evasion[2]
Criminal penaltyFive years in prison (not served), fined $10,000 and banned from boxing for three years[2]
Criminal statusConviction overturned[2]
Children9, including Laila Ali
RelativesRahman Ali (brother)
AwardsAwards and accolades
Boxing career
Height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)[3]
Reach78 in (198 cm)[3]
Boxing record
Total fights61
Wins by KO37

Muhammad Ali (/;[4] born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.;[5] January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. He is nicknamed "The Greatest" and is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

Ali was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and began training as an amateur boxer at age 12. At 18, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics, and turned professional later that year. He converted to Islam and became a Muslim after 1961, and eventually took the name Muhammad Ali. He won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in a major upset at age 22 in 1964. In 1966, Ali refused to be drafted into the military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War.[6][7] He was arrested, found guilty of draft evasion, and stripped of his boxing titles. He appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971, but he had not fought for nearly four years and lost a period of peak performance as an athlete. His actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation,[8][9] and he was a high-profile figure of racial pride for African Americans during the civil rights movement.[6][10] As a Muslim, Ali was initially affiliated with Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam (NOI). He later disavowed the NOI, adhering to Sunni Islam, and supporting racial integration like his former mentor Malcolm X.

Ali was a leading heavyweight boxer of the 20th century, and he remains the only three-time lineal champion of that division. His joint records of beating 21 boxers for the world heavyweight title and winning 14 unified title bouts stood for 35 years.[note 1] Ali is the only boxer to be named The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year six times. He has been ranked the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time,[11] and as the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated, the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC, and the third greatest athlete of the 20th century by ESPN SportsCentury.[12][13] He was involved in several historic boxing matches and feuds, most notably his fights with Joe Frazier, such as the Thrilla in Manila, and his fight with George Foreman known as The Rumble in the Jungle which has been called "arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century"[14][15] and was watched by a record estimated television audience of 1 billion viewers worldwide,[16][17] becoming the world's most-watched live television broadcast at the time. Ali thrived in the spotlight at a time when many fighters let their managers do the talking, and he was often provocative and outlandish.[18][19][20] He was known for trash-talking, and often free-styled with rhyme schemes and spoken word poetry, anticipating elements of hip hop.[21][22][23]

Outside the ring, Ali attained success as a musician, where he received two Grammy nominations.[23] He also featured as an actor and writer, releasing two autobiographies. Ali retired from boxing in 1981 and focused on religion and charity. In 1984, he made public his diagnosis of Parkinson's syndrome, which some reports attribute to boxing-related injuries,[24] though he and his specialist physicians disputed this.[25] He remained an active public figure globally, but in his later years made increasingly limited public appearances as his condition worsened, and he was cared for by his family. Ali died on June 3, 2016.

Early life and amateur career

Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. (s/) was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky.[26] He had a sister and four brothers.[27][28] He was named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. (1912–1990), who himself was named in honor of the 19th-century Republican politician and staunch abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay, also from the state of Kentucky. Clay's father's paternal grandparents were John Clay and Sallie Anne Clay; Clay's sister Eva claimed that Sallie was a native of Madagascar.[29] He was a descendant of slaves of the antebellum South, and was predominantly of African descent, with smaller amounts of Irish[30] and English family heritage.[31][32] DNA testing performed in 2018 showed that, through his paternal grandmother, Ali was a descendant of the heroic former slave Archer Alexander who had been chosen from the building crew as the model of a freed man for the Emancipation Memorial, and was the subject of abolitionist William Greenleaf Eliot's book, The Story of Archer Alexander: From Slavery to Freedom.[33][34] Like Ali, Alexander fought for his freedom.[35]

His father was a sign and billboard painter,[26] and his mother, Odessa O'Grady Clay (1917–1994), was a domestic helper. Although Cassius Sr. was a Methodist, he allowed Odessa to bring up both Cassius Jr. and his younger brother, Rudolph "Rudy" Clay (later renamed Rahman Ali), as Baptists.[36] Cassius Jr. attended Central High School in Louisville. He was dyslexic, which led to difficulties in reading and writing, at school and for much of his life.[37] Ali grew up amid racial segregation. His mother recalled one occasion when he was denied a drink of water at a store—"They wouldn't give him one because of his color. That really affected him."[6] He was also affected by the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, which led to young Clay and a friend taking out their frustration by vandalizing a local rail yard.[38][39]

1960 Olympians: Ali won gold against Zbigniew Pietrzykowski.

Ali was first directed toward boxing by Louisville police officer and boxing coach Joe E. Martin,[40] who encountered the 12-year-old fuming over a thief's having taken his bicycle. He told the officer he was going to "whup" the thief. The officer told Clay he had better learn how to box first.[41] Initially, Clay did not take up Martin's offer, but after seeing amateur boxers on a local television boxing program called Tomorrow's Champions, Clay was interested in the prospect of fighting.[42] He then began to work with trainer Fred Stoner, whom he credits with giving him the "real training", eventually moulding "my style, my stamina and my system." For the last four years of Clay's amateur career he was trained by boxing cutman Chuck Bodak.[43]

Clay made his amateur boxing debut in 1954 against local amateur boxer Ronnie O'Keefe. He won by split decision.[44] He went on to win six Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, two national Golden Gloves titles, an Amateur Athletic Union national title, and the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.[45] Clay's amateur record was 100 wins with five losses. Ali said in his 1975 autobiography that shortly after his return from the Rome Olympics, he threw his gold medal into the Ohio River after he and a friend were refused service at a "whites-only" restaurant and fought with a white gang. The story was later disputed, and several of Ali's friends, including Bundini Brown and photographer Howard Bingham, denied it. Brown told Sports Illustrated writer Mark Kram, "Honkies sure bought into that one!" Thomas Hauser's biography of Ali stated that Ali was refused service at the diner but that he lost his medal a year after he won it.[46] Ali received a replacement medal at a basketball intermission during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where he lit the torch to start the games.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Muhammad Ali
Alemannisch: Muhammad Ali
አማርኛ: ሙሃማድ ዓሊ
العربية: محمد علي
aragonés: Muhammad Ali
arpetan: Muhammad Ali
asturianu: Muhammad Ali
Aymar aru: Muhammad Ali
azərbaycanca: Məhəmməd Əli
Bân-lâm-gú: Muhammad Ali
Basa Banyumasan: Muhammad Ali
башҡортса: Мөхәммәт Али
беларуская: Махамед Алі
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Махамад Алі
Bikol Central: Muhammad Ali
bosanski: Muhammad Ali
brezhoneg: Muhammad Ali
čeština: Muhammad Ali
Cymraeg: Muhammad Ali
Deutsch: Muhammad Ali
Ελληνικά: Μοχάμεντ Άλι
español: Muhammad Ali
Esperanto: Muhammad Ali
euskara: Muhammad Ali
føroyskt: Muhammad Ali
français: Mohamed Ali
Gaeilge: Muhammad Ali
Gàidhlig: Muhammed Ali
galego: Muhammad Ali
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: Muhammad Ali
Արեւմտահայերէն: Մուհամմէտ Ալի
hrvatski: Muhammad Ali
Bahasa Indonesia: Muhammad Ali
interlingua: Muhammad Ali
íslenska: Muhammad Ali
italiano: Muhammad Ali
ქართული: მუჰამედ ალი
қазақша: Мұхаммед Әли
Kiswahili: Muhammad Ali
kurdî: Muhammed Ali
Кыргызча: Мухаммед Али
لۊری شومالی: محمد علی کلی
latviešu: Muhameds Ali
Lëtzebuergesch: Muhammad Ali
lietuvių: Muhammad Ali
lingála: Muhammad Ali
lumbaart: Muhammad Ali
magyar: Muhammad Ali
македонски: Мухамед Али
Malagasy: Muhammad Ali
მარგალური: მუჰამედ ალი
Bahasa Melayu: Muhammad Ali
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အလီ၊ မိုဟာမက်
Nāhuatl: Muhammad Ali
Nederlands: Muhammad Ali
Napulitano: Muhammad Ali
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Ali Muhammad
Picard: Muhammad Ali
Piemontèis: Muhammad Ali
português: Muhammad Ali
română: Muhammad Ali
Runa Simi: Muhammad Ali
русский: Али, Мухаммед
sicilianu: Muhammad Ali
Simple English: Muhammad Ali
slovenčina: Muhammad Ali
slovenščina: Muhammad Ali
српски / srpski: Мухамед Али
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Muhammad Ali
svenska: Muhammad Ali
Tagalog: Muhammad Ali
татарча/tatarça: Мөхәммәт Али
Türkçe: Muhammed Ali
українська: Мухаммед Алі
Tiếng Việt: Muhammad Ali
West-Vlams: Muhammad Ali
Winaray: Muhammad Ali
Yorùbá: Muhammad Ali
粵語: 拳王阿里
Zazaki: Muhammad Ali