Muhammad Ali is one of the best boxers ever to enter the ring. He fought for 21 years between 1960 to 1981 before he retired. During that period, he participated in some of the biggest bouts and produced memorable historical moments. He left an enviable record in the sport. Let’s examine Muhammed Ali’s record.
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Muhammad Ali’s Early Career
Muhammad Ali’s real name was Cassius Marcellus Clay. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on 17 January 1942. He discovered his ability to fight at the age of 12. This moment was inspired by some thieves who stole his bike.
In an interview with the late Irish broadcaster Cathal O’Shanon, he explained how he got into boxing:
“When I was 12 years old, someone stole my bicycle. I went to a home show and left my bicycle outside. When I came out it was drizzling and raining outside and by nine O’clock the bicycle was gone. I just got it for Christmas,”
Muhammad Ali said, “Joe Martin trained people how to fight. A police officer said in a joking fashion that I should learn how to box so I could beat up the person who stole the bicycle. That’s how I started boxing.”
This led him into the boxing ring, where he trained others. In 1954, Clay participated in his first amateur fight and won. Two years later, he won a tournament for the light heavyweight boxers. Clay won two more competitions from there – the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions and the Amateur Athletic Union’s title.
His victory at the Olympic Games in 1960 propelled him to global prominence, and after that, he went professional. Did he know he was going to be an Olympic medalist?
“No. The Olympics wasn’t in mind. I boxed just to get on a local television show called Tomorrows Champion. I then found out that I was good and just kept fighting.” He explained.
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Muhammad Ali’s Record
18 Muhammad Ali fought in his first professional fight against Tunney Hunsaker. He demonstrated his ability and left the police officer on the canvas. From then on, he had 60 more professional fights.
By the time of his retirement, Muhammad Ali’s record was:
- 61 fights
- 56 wins
- 5 losses
- 0 draws
- 0 contested
Muhammad Ali clinched eight heavyweight titles. His first world title came in 1964 against Sonny Liston, and he claimed the World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA) and The Ring Heavyweight world-champion titles.
His five losses came against:
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Muhammad Ali’s Biggest Fights
Muhammad Ali was a big talker and always delivered in the big moments. Some of his fights remain to be a reference point in the sport. Let’s look at some of his biggest fights.
1. The Rumble in the Jungle
The Rumble in the Jungle is Muhammad Ali’s biggest fight. It took place in 1974 and was fought over 8 rounds. Ali faced George Foreman, who had a 37-0 record then. Ali provided the fight of a lifetime and boxed Foreman to the canvas.
2. Joe Frazier Trilogy
Ali and Frazier faced each other three times. Their first meeting in 1971 was dubbed the ‘Fight of the Century. Frazier won this, and Muhammad Ali’s ego was bruised and showed this by how he belittled Frazier. He even said that he won the fight, but Frazier was declared champion by the judges’ decision.
“Joe Frazier is ugly. He’s flat-footed, he can’t fight, can’t talk, can’t sing, and he has no personality. He’s a slugger, a street fighter. Besides, he’s not skilled. He’s known for taking many punches,” Ali said in his interview.
“The reason he beat me was because he got the decision. He was in bad shape physically after our fight and spent one month in hospital. That’s a terrible beating. I then found out that the judges were part of the local draft board and I contested the decision to go to war.” Muhammad added.
In the rematch, Ali won against Frazier before, and in their last bout, dubbed ‘Thrilla in Manilla, ’ Ali underscored his status.
3. First World Title Fight Against Sonny Liston
This was Muhammad Ali’s first world title bout. He was competing for the WBC, WBA and Ring championships. It took him only 6 rounds to decisively beat Sonny Liston and rise to the top of the boxing world. This was his last fight as Cassius Clay and the beginning of his dominance in the sport.
Muhammad Ali left an indelible mark on boxing and sports in general. His aura and larger-than-life personality attracted people to him and made him enjoyable to watch and listen to.
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