Muhammad Ali
Overview
 
Muhammad Ali is an American former professional boxer
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

, philanthropist
Philanthropist
A philanthropist is someone who engages in philanthropy; that is, someone who donates his or her time, money, and/or reputation to charitable causes...

 and social activist. Considered a cultural icon
Cultural icon
A cultural icon can be a symbol, logo, picture, name, face, person, building or other image that is readily recognized and generally represents an object or concept with great cultural significance to a wide cultural group...

, Ali was both idolized and vilified.

Originally known as Cassius Clay, Ali changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam
Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

 in 1964, subsequently converting to Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 in 1975, and more recently practicing Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

. In 1967, three years after Ali had won the World Heavyweight Championship, he was publicly vilified for his refusal to be conscripted into the U.S.
Quotations

While I'm talking to you I'm thinking up the greatest short poem of all time. This poem tells how it feels to be great as I am: Me — wheee!

In response to the question "Who writes your stuff?" in 1963, as quoted in "Brash Clay waxed poetic in 1963 visit to Nashville" by Bill Traughber in The CIty Paper [Nashville] (4 June 2002)

Ain't no reason for me to kill nobody in the ring, unless they deserve it.

Comment after the match with Jimmy Ellis|Jimmy Ellis was stopped by the referee in the twelfth round (July 1971)

I never thought of losing, but now that it's happened, the only thing is to do it right. That's my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.

Statement after losing his fight to Ken Norton|Ken Norton (1973-03-31)

If you were surprised when Nixon resigned, just watch what happens when I whup Foreman's behind!

Comment prior to the "Rumble in the Jungle" (30 October 1974) as documented in When We Were Kings (1996)

You been hearing about how bad I am since you were a little kid with mess in your pants! Tonight, I'm gonna whip you till you cry like a baby.

To George Foreman|George Foreman before the start of the "Rumble in the Jungle" as the referee is giving them instructions (30 October 1974).

Encyclopedia
Muhammad Ali is an American former professional boxer
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

, philanthropist
Philanthropist
A philanthropist is someone who engages in philanthropy; that is, someone who donates his or her time, money, and/or reputation to charitable causes...

 and social activist. Considered a cultural icon
Cultural icon
A cultural icon can be a symbol, logo, picture, name, face, person, building or other image that is readily recognized and generally represents an object or concept with great cultural significance to a wide cultural group...

, Ali was both idolized and vilified.

Originally known as Cassius Clay, Ali changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam
Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

 in 1964, subsequently converting to Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 in 1975, and more recently practicing Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

. In 1967, three years after Ali had won the World Heavyweight Championship, he was publicly vilified for his refusal to be conscripted into the U.S. military, based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. Ali stated, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong... No Viet Cong ever called me nigger
Nigger
Nigger is a noun in the English language, most notable for its usage in a pejorative context to refer to black people , and also as an informal slang term, among other contexts. It is a common ethnic slur...

" – one of the more telling remarks of the era.

Widespread protests against the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 had not yet begun, but with that one phrase, Ali articulated the reason to oppose the war for a generation of young Americans
Americans
The people of the United States, also known as simply Americans or American people, are the inhabitants or citizens of the United States. The United States is a multi-ethnic nation, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds...

, and his words served as a touchstone for the racial and antiwar upheavals that would rock the '60s. Ali's example inspired Martin Luther King Jr. – who had been reluctant to alienate the Johnson Administration and its support of the civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

 agenda – to voice his own opposition to the war for the first time.

Ali would eventually be arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges; he was stripped of his boxing title, and his boxing license was suspended. He was not imprisoned, but did not fight again for nearly four years while his appeal worked its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was eventually successful.

Ali would go on to become the first and only three-time Lineal
Lineal championship
In professional boxing, the lineal championship of a weight class is a notional world championship title. It is initially held at some moment in time by a boxer universally acclaimed as the best in the class. Another boxer can win the lineal championship only by defeating the reigning lineal...

 World Heavyweight Champion.

Nicknamed "The Greatest," Ali was involved in several historic boxing
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

 matches. Notable among these were three with rival Joe Frazier
Joe Frazier
Joseph William "Joe" Frazier , also known as Smokin' Joe, was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981....

, which are considered among the greatest in boxing history, and one with George Foreman
George Foreman
George Edward Foreman is an American two-time former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Olympic gold medalist, ordained Baptist minister, author and successful entrepreneur...

, where he finally regained his stripped titles seven years later. Ali was well known for his unorthodox fighting style, which he described as "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", and employing techniques such as the Ali Shuffle and the rope-a-dope
Rope-a-dope
The Rope-a-dope is a boxing fighting style commonly associated with Muhammad Ali in his 1974 Rumble in the Jungle match against George Foreman.-Technique:...

. Ali had brought beauty and grace to the most uncompromising of sports and through the wonderful excesses of skill and character, he had become the most famous athlete in the world. He was also known for his pre-match hype, where he would "trash talk
Trash-talk
Trash-talk is a form of boast or insult commonly heard in competitive situations , primarily in the US. It is often used to intimidate the opposition, but can also be used in a humorous spirit...

" opponents, often with rhymes.

In 1999, Ali was crowned "Sportsman of the Century" by Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

and "Sports Personality of the Century" by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

.

Amateur career and Olympic gold

Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, Kentucky. The younger of two boys, he was named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr.
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr.
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr. was the father of American three-time World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali and Rudolph Valentino Clay, who is now named Rahman Ali, and also was the grandfather of Muhammad's daughter Laila Ali. He married Odessa Grady Clay in the 1930s and worked as a painter and a...

, who was named after the 19th century abolitionist
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 and politician of the same name. His father painted billboards and signs, and his mother, Odessa O'Grady Clay
Odessa Grady Clay
Odessa Lee Clay was the mother of three-time World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali and Rudolph Valentino Clay, now Rahman Ali and grandmother of Laila Ali. She married Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr...

, was a household domestic. Although Cassius Sr. was a Methodist, he allowed Odessa to bring up both Cassius and his elder brother Rudolph "Rudy" Clay
Rahman Ali
Rahman Ali was born as Rudolph Valentino Clay and was known as Rudy Clay. Rahman Ali was a heavyweight boxer.-Biography:...

 (later renamed Rahman Ali) as Baptists. He is a descendant of pre-Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 era American slaves in the American South, and is predominantly of African-American descent, with some Irish
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

 and English ancestry.

Clay was first directed toward boxing by the white Louisville police officer and boxing coach Joe E. Martin
Joe E. Martin
Joe Elsby Martin, Sr., was an American boxing coach who trained two world heavyweight champions, Muhammad Ali and Jimmy Ellis, as well as several national Golden Gloves champions.- Early life :...

, who encountered the 12-year-old fuming over the theft of his bicycle. For the last four years of Clay's amateur career he was trained by legendary boxing cutman
Cutman
A cutman is a person responsible for preventing and treating physical damage to a fighter during the breaks between rounds of a full contact match such as a boxing, kickboxing or a mixed martial arts bout. Cutmen typically handle swelling, nosebleeds and lacerations...

 Chuck Bodak
Chuck Bodak
Vasil "Chuck" Bodak was an American boxing cutman who worked with over 50 world champions including Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano, Tommy Hearns, Julio Cesar Chavez, Evander Holyfield and Oscar De La Hoya....

.

Clay won six Kentucky Golden Gloves
Golden Gloves
The Golden Gloves is the name given to annual competitions for amateur boxing in the United States. The Golden Gloves is often the term used to refer to the National Golden Gloves competition, but it also can represent several other amateur tournaments, including regional golden gloves...

 titles, two national Golden Gloves titles, an Amateur Athletic Union
Amateur Athletic Union
The Amateur Athletic Union is one of the largest non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs.-History:The AAU was founded in 1888 to...

 National Title, and the Light Heavyweight
Light heavyweight
In boxing, the light heavyweight is a weight division above 168 pounds [12 Stone or 76.204 kilograms] and up to 175 pounds [12.5 stone or 79.38 kilograms]), falling between super middleweight and cruiserweight...

 gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics
1960 Summer Olympics
The 1960 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVII Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held from August 25 to September 11, 1960 in Rome, Italy...

 in Rome. Clay's amateur record was 100 wins with five losses.

Ali states (in his 1975 autobiography) that he threw his Olympic gold medal
Gold medal
A gold medal is typically the medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloying in its manufacture...

 into the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 after being refused service at a 'whites-only' restaurant, and fighting with a white gang. Whether this is true is still debated, although he was given a replacement medal at a basketball intermission during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta
1996 Summer Olympics
The 1996 Summer Olympics of Atlanta, officially known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and unofficially known as the Centennial Olympics, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States....

, where he lit the torch to start the games.

Early professional career

After his Olympic triumph, Clay returned to Louisville to begin his professional career. There, on October 29, 1960, he won his first professional fight, a six-round decision over Tunney Hunsaker
Tunney Hunsaker
Tunney Morgan Hunsaker was the police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia in 1960 when Hunsaker was Cassius Clay's first opponent in a professional boxing bout. After the fight Hunsaker said "Clay was as fast as lightning ... I tried every trick I knew to throw at him off balance but he was just...

, who was the police chief of Fayetteville
Fayetteville, West Virginia
Fayetteville is a town in and the county seat of Fayette County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,754 at the 2000 census.Fayetteville was listed as one of the 2006 "Top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America" by Budget Travel Magazine ....

, West Virginia.

Standing tall, at 6-ft, 3-in (1.91 m), Clay had a highly unorthodox style for a heavyweight boxer. Rather than the normal style of carrying the hands high to defend the face, he instead relied on foot speed and quickness to avoid punches, and carried his hands low.

From 1960 to 1963, the young fighter amassed a record of 19–0, with 15 knockouts. He defeated boxers such as Tony Esperti, Jim Robinson
Jim Robinson (boxer)
"Sweet Jimmy" Jim Robinson is a retired American boxer from Miami. Robinson fought Muhammad Ali in Miami Beach on Feb. 7, 1961 as a last minute replacement for Willie Gullatt. Robinson became Ali's fourth professional opponent...

, Donnie Fleeman, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, Lamar Clark (who had won his previous 40 bouts by knockout), Doug Jones
Doug Jones (boxer)
Doug Jones is a former American heavyweight boxer.- Boxing career :Doug "Pugilism" Jones started off his career successfully with 18 consecutive wins against mostly lightly regarded opponents, until his first loss occurred at the hands of Eddie Machen. He lost his next two fights, and the third a...

 and Henry Cooper
Henry Cooper (boxer)
Sir Henry Cooper OBE KSG was an English heavyweight boxer known for the effectiveness of his left hook, "Enry's 'Ammer", and his knockdown of the young Muhammad Ali...

.

Clay built a reputation by correctly predicting the round in which he would "finish" several opponents, and by boasting before his triumphs. Clay admitted he adopted the latter practice from "Gorgeous" George Wagner
George Wagner
George Raymond Wagner was an American professional wrestler best known by his ring name Gorgeous George...

, a popular professional wrestling champion in the Los Angeles area
Greater Los Angeles Area
The Greater Los Angeles Area, or the Southland, is a term used for the Combined Statistical Area sprawled over five counties in the southern part of California, namely Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Ventura County...

 who drew thousands of fans. Often referred to as "the man you loved to hate," George could incite the crowd with a few heated remarks, and Ali followed suit.

Among Clay's victims were Sonny Banks
Sonny Banks
Sonny Banks , born Lucien Banks,was an American boxer best known for being the first fighter to drop a young Muhammad Ali . At the time Banks was a rising prospect and known for a fast sharp left hook....

 (who knocked him down during the bout), Alejandro Lavorante, and the aged Archie Moore
Archie Moore
Archie Moore, born Archibald Lee Wright , was light heavyweight world boxing champion who had one of the longest professional careers in the history of that sport....

 (a boxing legend who had fought over 200 previous fights, and who had been Clay's trainer prior to Angelo Dundee
Angelo Dundee
Angelo Dundee is an American boxing cornerman. He is best known for his work with Muhammad Ali , and has worked with 15 world boxing champions, including Sugar Ray Leonard, José Nápoles, George Foreman, Jimmy Ellis, Carmen Basilio, Luis Rodriguez and Willie Pastrano.-Professional career:Born in...

). Clay had considered continuing using Moore as a trainer following the bout, but Moore had insisted that the cocky "Louisville Lip" perform training camp chores such as sweeping and dishwashing. He considered having his idol, Sugar Ray Robinson
Sugar Ray Robinson
Sugar Ray Robinson was an African-American professional boxer. Frequently cited as the greatest boxer of all time, Robinson's performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions prompted sportswriters to create "pound for pound" rankings, where they compared fighters regardless of weight...

, as a manager, but instead hired Dundee.

Clay first met Dundee when the latter was in Louisville with light heavyweight champ Willie Pastrano
Willie Pastrano
Wilfred Raleigh Pastrano was a light heavyweight boxer who held the world crown from 1963 until 1965.-Early life:...

. The teenaged Golden Gloves
Golden Gloves
The Golden Gloves is the name given to annual competitions for amateur boxing in the United States. The Golden Gloves is often the term used to refer to the National Golden Gloves competition, but it also can represent several other amateur tournaments, including regional golden gloves...

 winner traveled downtown to the fighter's hotel, called Dundee from the house phone, and was asked up to their room. He took advantage of the opportunity to query Dundee (who had worked with champions Sugar Ramos
Sugar Ramos
Ultiminio Ramos is a Cuban-Mexican boxer who is better known as Sugar Ramos. Ramos fought out of Mexico where he was adopted as a national hero...

 and Carmen Basilio
Carmen Basilio
Carmine Basilio better known in the boxing world as Carmen Basilio, is an American former professional boxer who was a two weight world boxing champion...

) about what his fighters ate, how long they slept, how much roadwork (jogging) they did, and how long they sparred.

Following his bout with Moore, Clay won a disputed 10-round decision over Doug Jones in a matchup that was named "Fight of the Year" for 1963. Clay's next fight was against Henry Cooper
Henry Cooper (boxer)
Sir Henry Cooper OBE KSG was an English heavyweight boxer known for the effectiveness of his left hook, "Enry's 'Ammer", and his knockdown of the young Muhammad Ali...

, who knocked Clay down with a left hook near the end of the fourth round. The fight was stopped in the fifth due to deep cuts over Cooper's eyes.

Despite these close calls, Clay became the top contender for Sonny Liston
Sonny Liston
Charles L. "Sonny" Liston was a professional boxer and ex-convict known for his toughness, punching power, and intimidating appearance who became world heavyweight champion in 1962 by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round...

's title. However, although he had an impressive record, he was not widely expected to defeat the champ. The fight was scheduled for February 25, 1964 in Miami, Florida, but was nearly canceled when the promoter, Bill Faversham, heard that Clay had been seen around Miami and in other cities with the controversial Malcolm X
Malcolm X
Malcolm X , born Malcolm Little and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz , was an African American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of African Americans, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its...

, a member of The Nation of Islam. Because of this, news of this association was perceived as a potential gate-killer to a bout which, given Liston's overwhelming status as the favorite to win (7–1 odds), had Clay's colorful persona and nonstop braggadocio as its sole appeal.

Faversham confronted Clay about his association with Malcolm X (who, at the time, was actually under suspension by the Nation as a result of controversial comments made in the wake of President Kennedy's assassination). While stopping short of admitting he was a member of the Nation, Clay protested the suggested cancellation of the fight. As a compromise, Faversham asked the fighter to delay his announcement about his conversion to Islam
Religious conversion
Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

 until after the fight. The incident is described in the 1975 book The Greatest: My Own Story by Ali (with Richard Durham).

During the weigh-in on the day before the bout, the ever-boastful Clay, who frequently taunted Liston during the buildup by dubbing him "the big ugly bear" (among other things), declared that he would "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee," and, summarizing his strategy for avoiding Liston's assaults, said, "Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see."

First title fight and aftermath

At the pre-fight weigh-in, Clay's pulse rate was around 120, more than double his norm of 54. Liston, among others, misread this as nervousness. In the opening rounds, Clay's speed kept him away from Liston's powerful head and body shots, as he used his height advantage to beat Liston to the punch with his own lightning-quick jab
Jab
A jab is a type of punch used in the martial arts.Several variations of the jab exist, but every jab shares these characteristics: while in a fighting stance, the lead fist is thrown straight ahead and the arm is fully extended...

.

By the third round, Clay was ahead on points and had opened a cut under Liston's eye. Liston regained some ground in the fourth, as Clay was blinded by a substance in his eyes. It is unconfirmed whether this was something used to close Liston's cuts, or deliberately applied to Liston's gloves; however, Bert Sugar has claimed that "in two of his previous fights, Liston's opponents had complained about their eyes 'burning,'" suggesting the possibility that the Liston corner deliberately attempted to cheat.

Liston began the fourth round looking to put away the challenger. As Clay struggled to recover his vision, he sought to escape Liston's offensive. He was able to keep out of range until his sweat and tears rinsed the substance from his eyes, responding with a flurry of combinations near the end of the fifth round. By the sixth, he was looking for a finish and dominated Liston. Then, Liston shocked the boxing world when he failed to answer the bell for the seventh round, stating he had a shoulder injury. At the end of the fight, Clay boasted to the press that doubted him before the match, proclaiming, "I shook up the world!"

When Clay beat Liston, he was the youngest boxer (age 22) ever to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champion, a mark that stood until Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson
Michael Gerard "Mike" Tyson is a retired American boxer. Tyson is a former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles, he was 20 years, 4 months and 22 days old...

 won the title from Trevor Berbick
Trevor Berbick
Trevor Berbick was a Jamaican-Canadian heavyweight boxer who fought as a professional from 1976 until 2000. Berbick briefly held the WBC heavyweight championship in 1986 , before losing it to 20-year old Mike Tyson, via 2nd-round TKO...

 on November 22, 1986. At the time, Floyd Patterson (dethroned by Liston) had been the youngest heavyweight champ ever (age 21), but he won the title during an elimination tournament following Rocky Marciano's retirement by defeating Archie Moore, the light-heavyweight champion at the time.

In the rematch with Liston, which was held in May 1965 in Lewiston
Lewiston, Maine
Lewiston is a city in Androscoggin County in Maine, and the second-largest city in the state. The population was 41,592 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included within the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine...

, Maine, Ali (who had by then publicly converted to Islam and changed his name) won by knockout in the first round as a result of what came to be called the "phantom punch." Many believe that Liston, possibly as a result of threats from Nation of Islam extremists, or in an attempt to "throw" the fight to pay off debts, waited to be counted out (see Muhammad Ali versus Sonny Liston). Others, however, discount both scenarios and insist that it was a quick, chopping Ali punch to the side of the head that legitimately felled Liston.

Early title defenses

On November 22, 1965, Ali fought Floyd Patterson
Floyd Patterson
Floyd Patterson was an American heavyweight boxer and former undisputed heavyweight champion. At 21, Patterson became the youngest man to win the world heavyweight title. He was also the first heavyweight boxer to regain the title. He had a record of 55 wins 8 losses and 1 draw, with 40 wins by...

 in his second title defense. Patterson lost by technical knockout at the end of the 12th round. As would later occur with Ernie Terrell, many sportswriters accused Ali of "carrying" Patterson so that he could physically punish him without knocking him out. Ali countered that Patterson, who said his punching prowess was limited when he strained his sacroiliac, was not as easy to down as may have appeared.

Ali was scheduled to fight WBA
World Boxing Association
The World Boxing Association is a boxing organization that sanctions official matches, and awards the WBA world championship title at the professional level. It was previously known as the National Boxing Association before changing its name in 1962...

 champion Ernie Terrell
Ernie Terrell
Ernie Terrell is an American singer, record producer, and former World Boxing Association heavyweight boxing champion. At , he was very tall, by the standards of the day....

 (the WBA stripped Ali of his title after his agreement to fight a rematch with Liston) on March 29, 1966, but Terrell backed out. Ali won a 15-round decision against substitute opponent George Chuvalo
George Chuvalo
George Louis Chuvalo, CM is a retired Canadian heavyweight boxer who was never knocked down in ninety-three professional fights between 1956 and 1979. He is often considered to have had the greatest chin in the history of boxing and to be one of its most durable fighters...

. He then went to England and defeated Henry Cooper
Henry Cooper (boxer)
Sir Henry Cooper OBE KSG was an English heavyweight boxer known for the effectiveness of his left hook, "Enry's 'Ammer", and his knockdown of the young Muhammad Ali...

 by stoppage on cuts May 21, and knocked out Brian London
Brian London
Brian London, born Brian Sidney Harper, 19 June 1934, in West Hartlepool, is a retired English heavyweight boxer. He was British and Commonwealth Heavyweight champion from 1958 to 1959, and had two world heavyweight title fights...

 in the third round in August. Ali's next defense was against German southpaw Karl Mildenberger
Karl Mildenberger
Karl Mildenberger is a retired German heavyweight boxer. He was the European Heavyweight Champion from 1964 to 1968...

, the first German to fight for the title since Max Schmeling
Max Schmeling
Maximillian Adolph Otto Siegfried Schmeling was a German boxer who was heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932. His two fights with Joe Louis in the late 1930s transcended boxing, and became worldwide social events because of their national associations...

. In one of the tougher fights of his life, Ali stopped his opponent in round 12.

Ali returned to the United States in November 1966 to fight Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams
Cleveland Williams
Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams was an American heavyweight boxer who fought in the 1950s through the 1970s. A Ring Magazine poll once rated him as one of the finest boxers who never won a title...

 in the Houston Astrodome. According to the Sports Illustrated account, the bout drew an indoor world record 35,460 fight fans. A year and a half before the fight, Williams had been shot in the stomach at point-blank range
Point-blank range
In external ballistics, point-blank range is the distance between a firearm and a target of a given size such that the bullet in flight is expected to strike the target without adjusting the elevation of the firearm. The point-blank range will vary with the firearm and its particular ballistic...

 by a Texas policeman. As a result, Williams went into the fight missing one kidney and 10 feet (3 m) of his small intestine
Small intestine
The small intestine is the part of the gastrointestinal tract following the stomach and followed by the large intestine, and is where much of the digestion and absorption of food takes place. In invertebrates such as worms, the terms "gastrointestinal tract" and "large intestine" are often used to...

, and with a shriveled left leg from nerve damage from the bullet. Ali beat Williams in three rounds.

On February 6, 1967, Ali returned to a Houston boxing ring
Boxing ring
A boxing ring is the space in which a boxing match occurs. A modern ring, which is set on a raised platform, is square with a post at each corner to which four parallel rows of ropes are attached with a turnbuckle...

 to fight Terrell in what is regarded as one of the uglier fights in boxing. Terrell had angered Ali by calling him Clay, and the champion vowed to punish him for this insult. During the fight, Ali kept shouting at his opponent, "What's my name, Uncle Tom
Uncle Tom
Uncle Tom is a derogatory term for a person who perceives themselves to be of low status, and is excessively subservient to perceived authority figures; particularly a black person who behaves in a subservient manner to white people....

 ... What's my name?" Terrell suffered 15 rounds of brutal punishment, losing 13 rounds on two judges' scorecards, but Ali did not knock him out. Analysts, including several who spoke to ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

 on the sports channel's "Ali Rap" special, speculated that the fight continued only because Ali wanted to thoroughly punish and humiliate Terrell. After the fight, Tex Maule
Tex Maule
Hamilton Prieleaux Bee Maule, commonly known as Tex Maule was the lead American football writer for Sports Illustrated in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.-Career:...

 wrote, "It was a wonderful demonstration of boxing skill and a barbarous display of cruelty." When asked about this during a replay of the fight on ABC's popular "Wide World of Sports" by host Howard Cosell, Ali said he was not unduly cruel to Terrell- that boxers are paid to punch all their opponents into submission or defeat. He pointed out that if he had not hit and hurt Terrell, Terrell would have hit and hurt him, which is standard practice. Cosell's repeated reference to the topic surprised Ali. Following his final defense against Zora Folley
Zora Folley
Zora Folley was an American heavyweight boxer. He was well skilled with a good defence and also a punch to go with it....

 in March 1967 Ali would be stripped of his title the following month for refusing to be drafted into the Army and had his professional boxing license suspended.

Conversion to the Nation of Islam

After winning the championship from Liston in 1964, Clay revealed that he was a member of the Nation of Islam
Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

 (often called the Black Muslims at the time) and the Nation gave Clay the name Cassius X, discarding his surname as a symbol of his ancestors' enslavement, as had been done by other Nation members. On Friday, March 6, 1964, Malcolm X
Malcolm X
Malcolm X , born Malcolm Little and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz , was an African American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of African Americans, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its...

 took Clay on a guided tour
Tour guide
A tour guide provides assistance, information and cultural, historical and contemporary heritage interpretation to people on organized tours, individual clients, educational establishments, at religious and historical sites, museums, and at venues of other significant interest...

 of the UN building (for a second time). Malcolm X announced that Clay would be granted his "X." That same night, Elijah Muhammad
Elijah Muhammad
Elijah Muhammad was an African American religious leader, and led the Nation of Islam from 1934 until his death in 1975...

 recorded a statement over the phone to be played over the radio that Clay would be renamed Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 (one who is worthy of praise) Ali
Ali (name)
Ali is a male Arabic name, derived from the Arabic root which literally means "high". It is a common name in Arabic countries and the rest of the Muslim world....

 (fourth rightly guided caliph
Rashidun
The Rightly Guided Caliphs or The Righteous Caliphs is a term used in Sunni Islam to refer to the first four Caliphs who established the Rashidun Caliphate. The concept of "Rightly Guided Caliphs" originated with the Abbasid Dynasty...

). Only a few journalists (most notably Howard Cosell
Howard Cosell
Howard William Cosell was an American sports journalist who was widely known for his blustery, cocksure personality. Cosell said of himself, "Arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff. I have been called all of these...

) accepted it at that time. Venerable boxing announcer Don Dunphy
Don Dunphy
Don Dunphy was a United States television and radio sports announcer specializing in boxing broadcasts. Dunphy was noted for his fast paced delivery and enthusiasm for the sport. It is estimated that he did "blow-by-blow" action for over 2,000 fights. The Friday Night Fights were broadcast every...

 addressed the champion by his adopted name, as did British reporters. The adoption of this name symbolized his new identity as a member of the Nation of Islam
Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

.

Many sportswriters of the early 1960s reported that it was Ali's brother, Rudy Clay
Rahman Ali
Rahman Ali was born as Rudolph Valentino Clay and was known as Rudy Clay. Rahman Ali was a heavyweight boxer.-Biography:...

, who converted to Islam first (estimating the date as 1961). Others wrote that Clay had been seen at Muslim rallies a few years before he fought Liston. Ali's own version is that he would sneak into Nation of Islam meetings through the back door roughly three years before he fought Sonny Liston.

Aligning himself with the Nation of Islam made him a lightning rod for controversy, turning the outspoken but popular champion into one of that era's most recognizable and controversial figures. Appearing at rallies with Nation of Islam
Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

 leader Elijah Muhammad
Elijah Muhammad
Elijah Muhammad was an African American religious leader, and led the Nation of Islam from 1934 until his death in 1975...

 and declaring his allegiance to him at a time when mainstream America viewed them with suspicion—if not outright hostility—made Ali a target of outrage, as well as suspicion. Ali seemed at times to provoke such reactions, with viewpoints that wavered from support for civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

 to outright support of separatism
Separatism
Separatism is the advocacy of a state of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. While it often refers to full political secession, separatist groups may seek nothing more than greater autonomy...

. For example, Ali once stated, in relation to integration: "We who follow the teachings of Elijah Muhammad don't want to be forced to integrate. Integration is wrong. We don't want to live with the white man; that's all." And in relation to inter-racial marriage: "No intelligent black man or black woman in his or her right black mind wants white boys and white girls coming to their homes to marry their black sons and daughters." Indeed, Ali's religious beliefs
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 at the time included the notion that the white man was "the devil" and that white people were not "righteous." Ali claimed that white people hated black people
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

.

Ali converted from the Nation of Islam
Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

 sect to mainstream Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 in 1975. In a 2004 autobiography, written with daughter Hana Yasmeen Ali, Muhammad Ali attributes his conversion to the shift toward Sunni Islam made by Warith Deen Muhammad
Warith Deen Muhammad
Warith Deen Mohammed also known as W. Deen Mohammed or Imam W. Deen Muhammad, was a progressive African American Muslim leader, theologian, philosopher, Muslim revivalist and Islamic thinker who disbanded the original Nation of Islam in 1976 and transformed it into an orthodox mainstream Islamic...

 after he gained control of the Nation of Islam
Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

 upon the death of Elijah Muhammad
Elijah Muhammad
Elijah Muhammad was an African American religious leader, and led the Nation of Islam from 1934 until his death in 1975...

 in 1975. Later in 2005 he embraced spiritual practices of Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

.

Vietnam War

In 1964, Ali failed the U.S. Armed Forces
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 qualifying test because his writing and spelling skills were sub-par. However, in early 1966, the tests were revised and Ali was reclassified as 1A. This classification meant he was now eligible for the draft and induction into the U.S. Army during a time when the United States was involved in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. When notified of this status, he declared that he would refuse to serve in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 and publicly considered himself a conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

. Ali stated that "War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

. I'm not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 or The Messenger. We don't take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers." Ali famously said in 1966: "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong
National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam
The Vietcong , or National Liberation Front , was a political organization and army in South Vietnam and Cambodia that fought the United States and South Vietnamese governments during the Vietnam War . It had both guerrilla and regular army units, as well as a network of cadres who organized...

 ... They never called me nigger
Nigger
Nigger is a noun in the English language, most notable for its usage in a pejorative context to refer to black people , and also as an informal slang term, among other contexts. It is a common ethnic slur...

." Rare for a heavyweight boxing champion in those days, Ali spoke at Howard University
Howard University
Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

, where he gave his popular "Black Is Best" speech to 4,000 cheering students and community intellectuals after he was invited to speak by sociology professor, Nathan Hare
Nathan Hare
Nathan Hare was the first person hired to coordinate a black studies program in the United States, at San Francisco State University in 1968.-Early life and education:...

, on behalf of the Black Power Committee, a student protest group.

Appearing shortly thereafter for his scheduled induction into the U.S. Armed Forces on April 28, 1967 in Houston, he refused three times to step forward at the call of his name. An officer warned him he was committing a felony punishable by five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Once more, Ali refused to budge when his name was called. As a result, he was arrested and on the same day the New York State Athletic Commission
New York State Athletic Commission
The New York State Athletic Commission or NYSAC, also known as the New York Athletic Commission, regulates all contests and exhibitions of unarmed combat within the state of New York, including licensure and supervision of promoters, boxers, professional wrestlers, seconds, ring officials,...

 suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. Other boxing commissions followed suit.

At the trial on June 20, 1967, after only 21 minutes of deliberation, the jury found Ali guilty. After a Court of Appeals
Court of Appeals
A court of appeals is an appellate court generally.Court of Appeals may refer to:*Military Court of Appeals *Corte d'Assise d'Appello *Philippine Court of Appeals*High Court of Appeals of Turkey*United States courts of appeals...

 upheld the conviction, the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. During this time, the public began turning against the war and support for Ali began to grow. Ali supported himself by speaking at colleges and universities across the country, where opposition to the war was especially strong. On June 28, 1971, the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 reversed his conviction for refusing induction by unanimous decision in Clay v. United States
Clay v. United States
Clay v. United States, , was boxer Muhammad Ali's appeal of his conviction for refusing to report for induction into the United States military forces during the Vietnam War. His local draft board had rejected his application for conscientious objector classification...

. The decision was not based on, nor did it address, the merits of Clay's/Ali's claims per se; rather, the Government's failure to specify which claims were rejected and which were sustained, constituted the grounds upon which the Court reversed the conviction.

Quotes about Vietnam war

The Fight of the Century

In 1970, while his case was still on appeal, Ali was allowed to fight again. On August 12, 1970, with the help of Leroy R. Johnson, a Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 State Senator, he was granted a license to box by the City of Atlanta Athletic Commission. In Atlanta on October 26, 1970, he stopped Jerry Quarry
Jerry Quarry
Jerry Quarry , nicknamed "Irish" or “The Bellflower Bomber,” was an Irish-American heavyweight boxer. Quarry was rated by Ring Magazine as the most popular fighter in the sport, 1968–1971, and was one of the biggest stars of arguably the greatest era in the history of the heavyweight division.-...

 on a cut after three rounds. Shortly after the Quarry fight, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that Ali had been unjustly denied a boxing license. Once again able to fight in New York, he fought Oscar Bonavena
Oscar Bonavena
Oscar Natalio "Ringo" Bonavena was a heavyweight professional boxer with a career record of 58 wins, 9 losses and 1 draw. A rugged, wild-swinging puncher, he was nicknamed "Ringo" because of his Beatles haircut, and enjoyed professional success in both Argentina and the United States...

 at Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the...

 in December 1970. After a tough 14 rounds, Ali stopped Bonavena in the 15th, paving the way for a title fight against Joe Frazier
Joe Frazier
Joseph William "Joe" Frazier , also known as Smokin' Joe, was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981....

, who was himself undefeated.

Ali and Frazier met in the ring on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the...

. The fight, known as "The Fight of the Century
Fight of the Century
Fight of the Century was the promotional nickname given to the first boxing match between champion Joe Frazier and challenger Muhammad Ali , held on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York....

," was one of the most eagerly anticipated bouts of all time and remains one of the most famous. It featured two skilled, undefeated fighters, both of whom had legitimate claims to the heavyweight crown. Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

—unable to acquire a ringside seat—took photos of the match for Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

magazine. Legendary boxing announcer Don Dunphy
Don Dunphy
Don Dunphy was a United States television and radio sports announcer specializing in boxing broadcasts. Dunphy was noted for his fast paced delivery and enthusiasm for the sport. It is estimated that he did "blow-by-blow" action for over 2,000 fights. The Friday Night Fights were broadcast every...

 and actor and boxing aficionado Burt Lancaster
Burt Lancaster
Burton Stephen "Burt" Lancaster was an American film actor noted for his athletic physique and distinctive smile...

 called the action for the broadcast, which reached millions of people. The fight lived up to the hype, and Frazier punctuated his victory by flooring Ali with a hard, leaping left hook in the 15th and final round. Frazier retained the title on a unanimous decision, dealing Ali his first professional loss.

In 1972 Muhammad Ali held the "Muhammad Ali Boxing Show," a series of exhibition matches between himself and other wrestlers. In San Antonio, Texas, during the exhibition series, on October 24, 1972, Ali lost against boxer Elmo Henderson
Elmo Henderson
Elmo Henderson was an African-American boxer from Texas. Despite his 1972 win against Muhammad Ali in an exhibition match in San Antonio, Texas, he did not become particularly well known in the boxing community; John Spong of the Texas Monthly said that the match was the "shot not heard round the...

.

In 1973, Ali fought Ken Norton
Ken Norton
Kenneth Howard Norton Sr. is a former heavyweight boxer. He is best known for his 12-round victory over a peak Muhammad Ali where he famously broke Ali's jaw, on March 31, 1973, becoming only the second man to defeat Ali as a professional .He and Ali...

, who had broken Ali's jaw and won by split decision over 12 rounds in their first bout in 1972. Ali won the rematch, by split decision, on September 10, 1973, which set up Ali-Frazier II
Ali-Frazier II
Ali vs. Frazier II was a boxing fight, the second of three bouts between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, that took place at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, on January 28, 1974.- Significance :...

, a nontitle rematch with Joe Frazier
Joe Frazier
Joseph William "Joe" Frazier , also known as Smokin' Joe, was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981....

, who had already lost his title to George Foreman. The bout was held on January 28, 1974, with Ali winning a unanimous 12-round decision.

The Rumble in the Jungle

In one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, Ali regained his title on October 30, 1974 by defeating champion George Foreman
George Foreman
George Edward Foreman is an American two-time former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Olympic gold medalist, ordained Baptist minister, author and successful entrepreneur...

 in their bout in Kinshasa, Zaire. Hyped as "The Rumble in the Jungle
The Rumble in the Jungle
The Rumble in the Jungle was a historic boxing event that took place on October 30, 1974, in the Mai 20 Stadium in Kinshasa, Zaire . It pitted then world Heavyweight champion George Foreman against former world champion and challenger Muhammad Ali...

", the fight was promoted by Don King.

Almost no one, not even Ali's long-time supporter Howard Cosell
Howard Cosell
Howard William Cosell was an American sports journalist who was widely known for his blustery, cocksure personality. Cosell said of himself, "Arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff. I have been called all of these...

, gave the former champion a chance of winning. Analysts pointed out that Joe Frazier
Joe Frazier
Joseph William "Joe" Frazier , also known as Smokin' Joe, was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981....

 and Ken Norton
Ken Norton
Kenneth Howard Norton Sr. is a former heavyweight boxer. He is best known for his 12-round victory over a peak Muhammad Ali where he famously broke Ali's jaw, on March 31, 1973, becoming only the second man to defeat Ali as a professional .He and Ali...

 had given Ali four tough battles in the ring and won two of them, while Foreman had knocked out both of them in the second round. As a matter of fact, so total was the domination that, in their bout, Foreman had knocked down Frazier an incredible six times in only four minutes and 25 seconds.

During the bout, Ali employed an unexpected strategy. Leading up to the fight, he had declared he was going to "dance" and use his speed to keep away from Foreman and outbox him. However, in the first round, Ali headed straight for the champion and began scoring with a right hand lead, clearly surprising Foreman. Ali caught Foreman nine times in the first round with this technique but failed to knock him out. He then decided to take advantage of the young champion's weakness: staying power. Foreman had won 37 of his 40 bouts by knockout, mostly within three rounds. Eight of his previous bouts did not go past the second round. Ali saw an opportunity to outlast Foreman, and capitalized on it.

In the second round, the challenger retreated to the ropes—inviting Foreman to hit him, while counterpunching and verbally taunting the younger man. Ali's plan was to enrage Foreman and absorb his best blows to exhaust him mentally and physically. While Foreman threw wide shots to Ali's body, Ali countered with stinging straight punches to Foreman's head. Foreman threw hundreds of punches in seven rounds, but with decreasing technique and potency. Ali's tactic of leaning on the ropes, covering up, and absorbing ineffective body shots was later termed "The Rope-A-Dope
Rope-a-dope
The Rope-a-dope is a boxing fighting style commonly associated with Muhammad Ali in his 1974 Rumble in the Jungle match against George Foreman.-Technique:...

".

By the end of the seventh round, Foreman was exhausted. In the eighth round, Ali dropped Foreman with a combination at center ring and Foreman failed to make the count. Against the odds, Ali had regained the title.

The "Rumble in the Jungle" was the subject of a 1996 Academy Award winning documentary film, When We Were Kings
When We Were Kings
When We Were Kings is a 1996 documentary film directed by Leon Gast about the famous Rumble in the Jungle heavyweight championship match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The fight was held in Zaire on October 30, 1974.The film features a number of celebrities, including James Brown, Jim...

. The fight and the events leading up to it are extensively depicted in both John Herzfeld
John Herzfeld
John Herzfeld is an American motion picture and television director, screenwriter, actor and producer. His feature film directing credits include Two of a Kind , 2 Days in the Valley , 15 Minutes and The Death and Life of Bobby Z...

's 1997 docudrama
Docudrama
In film, television programming and staged theatre, docudrama is a documentary-style genre that features dramatized re-enactments of actual historical events. As a neologism, the term is often confused with docufiction....

 Don King: Only in America
Don King: Only in America
Don King: Only in America is a 1997 television film directed by John Herzfeld and written by Kario Salem...

and Michael Mann's 2001 docudrama, Ali
Ali (film)
Ali is a 2001 American biographical film directed by Michael Mann. The film tells the story of boxing icon Muhammad Ali, played by Will Smith, from 1964 to 1974 featuring his capture as of the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston , his conversion to Islam, criticism of the Vietnam War, banishment...

.

The Thrilla in Manila

In March 1975, Ali faced Chuck Wepner
Chuck Wepner
Charles "Chuck" Wepner is a former heavyweight boxer from Bayonne, New Jersey. As a tough but journeyman boxer he went 15 rounds with world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in a 1975 fight. Wepner is credited as the inspiration for Rocky Balboa. Wepner also appeared in the book Operation Bullpen...

 in a bout that inspired the original Rocky
Rocky
Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and both written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. It tells the rags to riches American Dream story of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated but kind-hearted debt collector for a loan shark in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania...

. While it was largely thought that Ali would dominate, Wepner surprised everyone by not only knocking Ali down in the ninth round, but nearly going the distance. Ali eventually stopped Wepner in the fading minutes of the 15th round. Following a title defense with Ron Lyle
Ron Lyle
Ron Lyle was an American professional boxer in the heavyweight division. He is considered to have been one of the best contenders of his era. He was a crowd-pleasing power puncher.-Early life:...

, in July Ali faced Joe Bugner
Joe Bugner
József Kreul "Joe" Bugner is a Hungarian-born British-Australian former top heavyweight boxer. He holds triple nationality, being a citizen of Hungary and a naturalized citizen of both Australia and the United Kingdom where he learned to box and spent his peak years.Born in Szőreg, a southeastern...

, winning a 15 round decision.

On October 1, 1975, Ali fought Joe Frazier
Joe Frazier
Joseph William "Joe" Frazier , also known as Smokin' Joe, was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981....

 for the third time. Taking place in the Philippines, the bout was promoted as the Thrilla in Manila
Thrilla in Manila
The Thrilla in Manila was the third and final famous boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship of the World, fought at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines on October 1, 1975....

 by Don King, who had ascended to prominence following the Ali-Foreman fight. The anticipation was enormous for this final clash between two great heavyweights. Ali believed Frazier was "over the hill" by that point. Ali's frequent insults, slurs and demeaning poems increased the anticipation and excitement for the fight, but enraged a determined Frazier. Regarding the fight, Ali famously remarked, "It will be a killa... and a chilla... and a thrilla... when I get the gorilla in Manila."

The fight lasted 14 grueling rounds in temperatures approaching 100 °F (37.8 °C). Ali won many of the early rounds, but Frazier staged a comeback in the middle rounds, while Ali lay on the ropes. By the late rounds, however, Ali had reasserted control and the fight was stopped when Frazier was unable to answer the bell for the 15th and final round (his eyes were swollen closed). Frazier's trainer, Eddie Futch, refused to allow Frazier to continue.

Subsequent bouts and retirement

In February 1976, Ali easily beat Jean-Pierre Coopman
Jean-Pierre Coopman
Jean-Pierre Coopman is a retired Belgian boxer who is best known for his title fight against Muhammad Ali in 1976, which Ali won by KO in round 5.-Early life:Coopman's first fully paid job was as a stone cutter....

. In April 1976 he defeated Jimmy Young
Jimmy Young (boxer)
Jimmy Young was a fast highly skilled Philadelphia heavyweight boxer who had his greatest success during the 1970s, when he most notably beat George Foreman, and many fans felt also Ali . He also fought many top names...

 and then Richard Dunn the following month, which would turn out to be Ali's last knockout victory. Following that fight, he staged an exhibition match with professional wrestler and martial artist
Martial arts
Martial arts are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development....

 Antonio Inoki
Antonio Inoki
is a Japanese professional wrestling promoter and retired professional wrestler and mixed martial artist who now resides between New York City and Tokyo. He was also the founder and former owner of New Japan Pro Wrestling before selling his controlling share in the promotion to Yukes...

. Although widely perceived as a publicity stunt, the match against Inoki would have a long-term detrimental affect on Ali's mobility. Inoki spent much of the fight on the ground trying to damage Ali’s legs, while Ali spent most of the fight dodging the kicks or staying on the ropes. At the end of 15 rounds, the bout was called a draw. Ali's legs, however, were bleeding, leading to an infection. He suffered two blood clots in his legs as well.

In September 1976, at Yankee Stadium, Ali faced Ken Norton
Ken Norton
Kenneth Howard Norton Sr. is a former heavyweight boxer. He is best known for his 12-round victory over a peak Muhammad Ali where he famously broke Ali's jaw, on March 31, 1973, becoming only the second man to defeat Ali as a professional .He and Ali...

 in their third fight, with Ali winning a close but unanimous 15-round decision. Soon after the fight, Ali temporarially quit boxing to spread the faith of Islam.

1977 saw Ali defend his title against Alfredo Evangelista and Earnie Shavers
Earnie Shavers
Earnie Dee Shaver , better known as Earnie Shavers, is an American former professional boxer and is widely considered along with George Foreman as the hardest punchers of all time...

. Fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco
Ferdie Pacheco
Dr. Ferdie Pacheco was the cornerman for multiple boxing champions, most famously Muhammad Ali, for whom he was also a personal physician. Beginning in the late 1970s, Pacheco was a TV boxing analyst for several networks, most notably Showtime. Pacheco is also a prolific author and painter...

 left Ali's camp following the Shavers fight after being rebuffed for advising Ali to retire.

In February 1978, Ali lost the heavweight title to 1976 Olympic Light-Heavyweight Champion Leon Spinks
Leon Spinks
Leon Spinks is a former American boxer. He had an overall record of 26 wins, 17 losses and 3 draws as a professional, with 14 knockout wins, and was the former World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association heavyweight champion of the world...

. On September 15, 1978, Ali fought a rematch in the New Orleans Louisiana Superdome
Louisiana Superdome
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, previously known as the Louisiana Superdome and colloquially known as the Superdome, is a sports and exhibition arena located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA...

 against Spinks for the WBA version of the Heavyweight title, winning it for a record third time. Ali retired following this victory on June 27, 1979, but returned in 1980 to face current champion Larry Holmes
Larry Holmes
Larry Holmes is a former professional boxer. He grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania, which gave birth to his boxing nickname, The Easton Assassin....

 in an attempt to win a heavyweight title an unprecedented four times. Angelo Dundee refused to let his man come out for the 11th round, in what became Ali's only loss by anything other than a decision. Ali's final fight, a loss by unanimous decision after 10 rounds, was to up-and-coming challenger Trevor Berbick
Trevor Berbick
Trevor Berbick was a Jamaican-Canadian heavyweight boxer who fought as a professional from 1976 until 2000. Berbick briefly held the WBC heavyweight championship in 1986 , before losing it to 20-year old Mike Tyson, via 2nd-round TKO...

 in 1981.

Ali's legacy

Muhammad Ali defeated every top heavyweight in his era, which has been called the golden age of heavyweight boxing. Ali was named "Fighter of the Year" by Ring Magazine
The Ring (magazine)
The Ring is an American boxing magazine that was first published in 1922 as a boxing and wrestling magazine. As the sporting legitimacy of professional wrestling came more into question, The Ring shifted to becoming exclusively a boxing oriented publication...

more times than any other fighter, and was involved in more Ring Magazine "Fight of the Year" bouts than any other fighter. He is an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame
International Boxing Hall of Fame
The modern International Boxing Hall of Fame is located in Canastota, New York, United States, within driving distance from the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown and the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta...

 and holds wins over seven other Hall of Fame inductees. He is one of only three boxers to be named "Sportsman of the Year
Sportsman of the Year
Since its inception in 1954, Sports Illustrated magazine has annually presented the "Sportsman of the Year" award to "the athlete or team whose performance that year most embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement." Both Americans and non-Americans are eligible, though in the past the...

" by Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

.

In 1978, three years before Ali's permanent retirement, the Board of Aldermen in his hometown of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, Kentucky voted 6–5 to rename Walnut Street to Muhammad Ali Boulevard. This was controversial at the time, as within a week 12 of the 70 street signs
Traffic sign
Traffic signs or road signs are signs erected at the side of roads to provide information to road users. With traffic volumes increasing over the last eight decades, many countries have adopted pictorial signs or otherwise simplified and standardized their signs to facilitate international travel...

 were stolen. Earlier that year, a committee of the Jefferson County Public Schools
Jefferson County Public Schools (Kentucky)
Jefferson County Public Schools is a public school district located in Jefferson County, Kentucky and operating all but one of the public schools in the county...

 considered renaming Central High School in his honor, but the motion failed to pass. At any rate, in time, Muhammad Ali Boulevard—and Ali himself—came to be well accepted in his hometown.

In 1993, the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 reported that Ali was tied with Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

 as the most recognized athlete, out of over 800 dead or alive athletes, in America. The study found that over 97% of Americans over 12 years of age identified both Ali and Ruth.

He was the recipient of the 1997 Arthur Ashe Courage Award
Arthur Ashe Courage Award
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is an award that is part of the ESPY Awards. Although it is a sport-oriented award, it is not limited to sports-related people or actions.-List of recipients:-External links:***...

.

In retirement

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome in 1984, a disease to which those subject to severe head trauma, such as boxers, are many times more susceptible than average. Despite the disability, he remains a beloved and active public figure
Public figure
Public figure is a legal term applied in the context of defamation actions as well as invasion of privacy. A public figure cannot base a lawsuit on incorrect harmful statements unless there is proof that the writer or publisher acted with actual malice...

. In 1985, he served as a guest referee at the inaugural WrestleMania
WrestleMania (1985)
WrestleMania was the first annual WrestleMania professional wrestling event produced by the World Wrestling Federation. It took place on March 31, 1985, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The attendance for the event was 19,121 fans...

 event. In 1987 he was selected by the California Bicentennial Foundation for the U.S. Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 to personify the vitality of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights
United States Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

 in various high profile activities. Ali rode on a float at the 1988 Tournament of Roses Parade
Tournament of Roses Parade
The Tournament of Roses Parade, better known as the Rose Parade, is "America's New Year Celebration", a festival of flower-covered floats, marching bands, equestrians and a college football game on New Year's Day , produced by the non-profit Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.The annual...

, launching the U.S. Constitution's 200th birthday commemoration. He published an oral history
Oral history
Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interviews...

, Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times
Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times
Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times is an award-winning biography of the boxer Muhammad Ali, written in 1991 by Thomas Hauser. It won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award in that year....

by Thomas Hauser, in 1991. That same year Ali traveled to Iraq during the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 and met with Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 in an attempt to negotiate the release of American hostages. Ali received a Spirit of America Award calling him the most recognized American in the world. In 1996, he had the honor of lighting the flame at the 1996 Summer Olympics
1996 Summer Olympics
The 1996 Summer Olympics of Atlanta, officially known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and unofficially known as the Centennial Olympics, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States....

 in Atlanta, Georgia.

He appeared at the 1998 AFL
Australian Football League
The Australian Football League is both the governing body and the major professional competition in the sport of Australian rules football...

 (Australian Football League) Grand Final
AFL Grand Final
The AFL Grand Final is an annual Australian rules football match, traditionally held on the final Saturday in September at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia to determine the Australian Football League premiership champions for that year...

, where Anthony Pratt
Anthony Pratt (businessman)
Anthony Pratt is Chairman and CEO of Pratt Industries and Group Deputy Chairman of Visy Industries, the world’s largest privately-owned paper and packaging company...

 invited him to watch the game. He greets runners at the start line of the Los Angeles Marathon
Los Angeles Marathon
The Honda LA Marathon is an annual running event held each spring in Los Angeles, California. The 26.219 mile footrace, inspired by the success of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, has been contested every year since 1986...

 every year.

In 1999, the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

produced a special version of its annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year is an awards ceremony that takes place annually in December. Devised by Paul Fox in 1954, it originally consisted of one titular award. Several new awards have been introduced, and , eight awards are presented. The oldest of these are the Team of the Year and...

 Award ceremony, and Ali was voted their Sports Personality of the Century, receiving more votes than the other four contenders combined. His daughter Laila Ali
Laila Ali
Laila Amaria Ali is a retired American professional boxer. She is the daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali from his third wife Veronica Porsche Ali.-Boxing career:...

 became a boxer in 1999, despite her father's earlier comments against female boxing in 1978: "Women are not made to be hit in the breast, and face like that... the body's not made to be punched right here [patting his chest]. Get hit in the breast... hard... and all that."

On September 13, 1999, Ali was named "Kentucky Athlete of the Century" by the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Galt House East
Galt House
The Galt House is a 25-story, 1300-room hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. The original hotel was erected in 1837. The current Galt House is presently the city's only hotel on the Ohio River. Many noted people have stayed at the Galt House, including Jefferson Davis, Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln...

.

In 2001, a biographical film
Biographical film
A biographical film, or biopic , is a film that dramatizes the life of an actual person or people. They differ from films “based on a true story” or “historical films” in that they attempt to comprehensively tell a person’s life story or at least the most historically important years of their...

, entitled Ali
Ali (film)
Ali is a 2001 American biographical film directed by Michael Mann. The film tells the story of boxing icon Muhammad Ali, played by Will Smith, from 1964 to 1974 featuring his capture as of the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston , his conversion to Islam, criticism of the Vietnam War, banishment...

, was made, directed by Michael Mann, with Will Smith
Will Smith
Willard Christopher "Will" Smith, Jr. , also known by his stage name The Fresh Prince, is an American actor, producer, and rapper. He has enjoyed success in television, film and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him the most powerful actor in Hollywood...

 starring as Ali. The film received mixed reviews, with the positives generally attributed to the acting, as Smith and supporting actor
Supporting actor
A supporting actor is an actor who performs roles in a play or film other than that of the leads.These roles range from bit parts to secondary leads. They are sometimes but not necessarily character roles. A supporting actor must also use restraint not to upstage the main actor/actress in the...

 Jon Voight
Jon Voight
Jonathan Vincent "Jon" Voight is an American actor. He has received an Academy Award, out of four nominations, and three Golden Globe Awards, out of nine nominations. Voight is the father of actress Angelina Jolie....

 earned Academy Award nominations. Prior to making the Ali movie, Will Smith had continually rejected the role of Ali until Muhammad Ali personally requested that he accept the role. According to Smith, the first thing Ali said about the subject to him was: "Man, you're almost pretty enough to play me."

On November 17, 2002, Muhammad Ali went to Afghanistan as "U.N. Messenger of Peace
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

". He was in Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 for a three-day goodwill mission as a special guest of the UN.

On January 8, 2005, Muhammad Ali was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal
Presidential Citizens Medal
The Presidential Citizens Medal is the second highest civilian award in the United States, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is awarded by the President of the United States, and may be given posthumously....

 by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

 at a White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 ceremony on November 9, 2005, and the "Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold
Otto Hahn Peace Medal
The Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold is named after the German nuclear chemist and 1944 Nobel Laureate Otto Hahn, an honorary citizen of Berlin....

" of the UN Association of Germany (DGVN) in Berlin for his work with the US civil rights movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

 and the United Nations (December 17, 2005).

On November 19, 2005 (Ali's 19th wedding anniversary
Wedding anniversary
-Official recognition:In the Commonwealth realms, one can receive a message from the monarch for 60th, 65th, and 70th wedding anniversaries, and any wedding anniversary after that...

), the $60 million non-profit Muhammad Ali Center
Muhammad Ali Center
The Muhammad Ali Center, a museum and cultural center built as a tribute to the champion athlete and his values, is located in Louisville, Kentucky's "Museum Row" in the West Main District of downtown....

 opened in downtown Louisville
Downtown Louisville
Downtown Louisville is the largest central business district in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the urban hub of the Louisville, Kentucky Metropolitan Area. Its boundaries are the Ohio River to the north, Hancock Street to the east, York and Jacob Streets to the south, and 9th Street to the west...

. In addition to displaying his boxing memorabilia, the center focuses on core themes of peace, social responsibility
Social responsibility
Social responsibility is an ethical ideology or theory that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual or organization has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the...

, respect, and personal growth
Personal development
Personal development includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitates employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations...

.

According to the Ali Center website, "Since he retired from boxing, Ali has devoted himself to humanitarian endeavors around the globe. He is a devout Muslim, and travels the world over, lending his name and presence to hunger and poverty relief, supporting education efforts of all kinds, promoting adoption and encouraging people to respect and better understand one another. It is estimated that he has helped to provide more than 22 million meals to feed the hungry. Ali travels, on average, more than 200 days per year."

At the FedEx
FedEx
FedEx Corporation , originally known as FDX Corporation, is a logistics services company, based in the United States with headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee...

 Orange Bowl on January 2, 2007, Ali was an honorary captain for the Louisville Cardinals
Louisville Cardinals
The Louisville Cardinals are the athletic teams representing the University of Louisville. A member of the Big East Conference since 2005, they are known nationally as traditional powers in men's basketball, women's volleyball, and dance team...

 wearing their white jersey, number 19. Ali was accompanied by golf legend Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer
Arnold Daniel Palmer is an American professional golfer, who is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of men's professional golf. He has won numerous events on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, dating back to 1955...

, who was the honorary captain for the Wake Forest
Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University is a private, coeducational university in the U.S. state of North Carolina, founded in 1834. The university received its name from its original location in Wake Forest, north of Raleigh, North Carolina, the state capital. The Reynolda Campus, the university's main campus, is...

 Demon Deacon
Demon Deacon
The Demon Deacon is the mascot of Wake Forest University, a school located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Probably best known for its slightly unorthodox name and appearance, the Demon Deacon has become a mainstay in the world of U.S. college mascots....

s, and Miami Heat
Miami Heat
The Miami Heat is a professional basketball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. The team is a member of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association . They play their home games at American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami...

 star Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr. nicknamed Flash or D-Wade, is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat. Awarded 2006 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated, Wade has established himself as one of the most well-known and popular players in the league...

.

A youth club
Youth club
A youth club or youth social club is a place where young people can meet and enjoy activities such as football, soccer, basketball, table tennis, or video games, and other religious, sports activities are frequently sponsored by a community center....

 in Ali's hometown and a species of rose
Rose
A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species. They form a group of erect shrubs, and climbing or trailing plants, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers are large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows...

 (Rosa ali) have been named after him. On June 5, 2007, he received an honorary doctorate
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

 of humanities at Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

's 260th graduation ceremony
Graduation
Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the ceremony that is sometimes associated, where students become Graduates. Before the graduation, candidates are referred to as Graduands. The date of graduation is often called degree day. The graduation itself is also...

.

Ali lives in Scottsdale
Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale is a city in the eastern part of Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, adjacent to Phoenix. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010 the population of the city was 217,385...

, Arizona with his fourth wife, Yolanda "Lonnie" Ali. They own a house in Berrien Springs
Berrien Springs, Michigan
Berrien Springs is a village in Berrien County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 1,862 at the 2000 census. The village is located within Oronoko Charter Township. Berrien Springs is best known for its Seventh-day Adventist community and Andrews University...

, Michigan, which is for sale. On January 9, 2007, they purchased a house in eastern Jefferson County
Jefferson County, Kentucky
As of the census of 2000, there were 693,604 people, 287,012 households, and 183,113 families residing in the county. The population density was . There were 305,835 housing units at an average density of...

, Kentucky for $1,875,000. Lonnie converted to Islam from Catholicism in her late 20s.

On August 17, 2009, it was voted unanimously by the town council of Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland to make Ali the first Freeman of Ennis
Ennis
Ennis is the county town of Clare in Ireland. Situated on the River Fergus, it lies north of Limerick and south of Galway. Its name is a shortening of the original ....

. Ennis was the birthplace of Ali's great grandfather before he emigrated to the U.S. in the 1860s, before eventually settling in Kentucky. On September 1, 2009, Ali visited the town of Ennis and at a civic reception he received the honour of the freedom of the town.

Ranking in heavyweight history

Ali is generally considered to be one of the greatest heavyweights of all time by boxing commentators and historians. Ring Magazine
The Ring (magazine)
The Ring is an American boxing magazine that was first published in 1922 as a boxing and wrestling magazine. As the sporting legitimacy of professional wrestling came more into question, The Ring shifted to becoming exclusively a boxing oriented publication...

, a prominent boxing magazine, named him number 1 in a 1998 ranking of greatest heavyweights from all eras.

Ali was named the second greatest fighter in boxing history by ESPN.com
ESPN.com
ESPN.com is the official website of ESPN and a division of ESPN Inc. Since launching in 1995 as ESPNet.SportsZone.com, the website has developed numerous sections including: Page 2, SportsNation, ESPN 3.com, ESPN Motion, My ESPN, ESPN Sports Travel, ESPN Video Games, ESPN Insider, ESPN.com's...

behind only welterweight and middleweight great Sugar Ray Robinson
Sugar Ray Robinson
Sugar Ray Robinson was an African-American professional boxer. Frequently cited as the greatest boxer of all time, Robinson's performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions prompted sportswriters to create "pound for pound" rankings, where they compared fighters regardless of weight...

. In December 2007, ESPN listed Ali second in its choice of the greatest heavyweights of all time, behind Joe Louis
Joe Louis
Joseph Louis Barrow , better known as Joe Louis, was the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1937 to 1949. He is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweights of all time...

.

Personal life

Muhammad Ali has been married four times and has seven daughters and two sons. Ali met his first wife, cocktail waitress
Cocktail waitress
A cocktail waitress is a type of server who specializes in bringing drinks to patrons of bars, casinos, comedy clubs, live music venues and other drinking establishments and often wears revealing clothing in order to get more tips...

 Sonji Roi, approximately one month before they married on August 14, 1964. Roi's objections to certain Muslim customs in regard to dress for women contributed to the breakup of their marriage. They divorced on January 10, 1966.

On August 17, 1967, Ali married Belinda Boyd. After the wedding, she, like Ali, converted to Islam and more recently to Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

, changed her name to Khalilah Ali, though she was still called Belinda by old friends and family. They had four children: Maryum (b. 1968), Jamillah and Rasheda (b. 1970), and Muhammad Ali Jr. (b. 1972).

In 1975, Ali began an affair with Veronica Porsche
Veronica Porsche Ali
Veronica Porsche Ali is an American professional psychologist and the former wife of boxing legend Muhammad Ali.Porsche was born in Louisiana on December 16, 1955 to Ethel and Horace Porche and is of Louisiana Creole descent...

, an actress and model. By the summer of 1977, Ali's second marriage was over and he had married Veronica. At the time of their marriage, they had a baby girl, Hana, and Veronica was pregnant with their second child. Their second daughter, Laila
Laila Ali
Laila Amaria Ali is a retired American professional boxer. She is the daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali from his third wife Veronica Porsche Ali.-Boxing career:...

, was born in December 1977. By 1986, Ali and Veronica were divorced.

On November 19, 1986, Ali married Yolanda Ali. They had been friends since 1964 in Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

. They have one son, Asaad Amin, who they adopted when Amin was five.

Ali was a resident of Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Cherry Hill is a township in Camden County, New Jersey, in the United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township had a population of 71,045, representing an increase of 1,080 from the 69,965 residents enumerated during the 2000 Census...

 in the early 1970s.

Ali has two other daughters, Miya and Khaliah, from extramarital relationships.

In later life, Ali developed Parkinson's syndrome.

Ali in the media and popular culture

As a world champion boxer and social activist, Ali has been the subject of numerous books, films and other creative works. In 1963, he released an album of spoken word
Spoken word
Spoken word is a form of poetry that often uses alliterated prose or verse and occasionally uses metered verse to express social commentary. Traditionally it is in the first person, is from the poet’s point of view and is themed in current events....

 on Columbia Records
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

 titled I am the Greatest! He has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

on 37 different occasions, second only to Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan
Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a former American professional basketball player, active entrepreneur, and majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats...

. He appeared in the documentary film Black Rodeo
Black Rodeo
Black Rodeo is a 1972 documentary by filmmaker Jeff Kanew. It captures the events surrounding the first-time performance of an all black rodeo in Harlem in New York City. The film's tagline, "Nobody ever told you there were Black Cowboys," was accurate for its time...

(1972) riding both a horse and a bull. His autobiography The Greatest: My Own Story, written with Richard Durham, was published in 1975. In 1977 the book was adapted into a film called The Greatest, in which Ali played himself and Ernest Borgnine
Ernest Borgnine
Ernest Borgnine is an American actor of television and film. His career has spanned more than six decades. He was an unconventional lead in many films of the 1950s, including his Academy Award-winning turn in the 1955 film Marty...

 played Angelo Dundee
Angelo Dundee
Angelo Dundee is an American boxing cornerman. He is best known for his work with Muhammad Ali , and has worked with 15 world boxing champions, including Sugar Ray Leonard, José Nápoles, George Foreman, Jimmy Ellis, Carmen Basilio, Luis Rodriguez and Willie Pastrano.-Professional career:Born in...

. When We Were Kings
When We Were Kings
When We Were Kings is a 1996 documentary film directed by Leon Gast about the famous Rumble in the Jungle heavyweight championship match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The fight was held in Zaire on October 30, 1974.The film features a number of celebrities, including James Brown, Jim...

, a 1996 documentary about the Rumble in the Jungle, won an Academy Award, and the 2001 biopic Ali
Ali (film)
Ali is a 2001 American biographical film directed by Michael Mann. The film tells the story of boxing icon Muhammad Ali, played by Will Smith, from 1964 to 1974 featuring his capture as of the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston , his conversion to Islam, criticism of the Vietnam War, banishment...

garnered an Oscar nomination for Will Smith
Will Smith
Willard Christopher "Will" Smith, Jr. , also known by his stage name The Fresh Prince, is an American actor, producer, and rapper. He has enjoyed success in television, film and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him the most powerful actor in Hollywood...

's portrayal of the lead role.

For contributions to the entertainment industry, Muhammed Ali was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

 at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Boulevard
-Revitalization:In recent years successful efforts have been made at cleaning up Hollywood Blvd., as the street had gained a reputation for crime and seediness. Central to these efforts was the construction of the Hollywood and Highland shopping center and adjacent Kodak Theatre in 2001...

.

Professional boxing record

|-
| style="text-align:center;" colspan="8"|56 Wins (37 knockouts, 19 decisions), 5 Losses (4 decisions, 1 TKO), 0 Draws
|- style="text-align:center; background:#e3e3e3; background:#e3e3e3;"
| style="border-style:none none solid solid; "|Res.
| style="border-style:none none solid solid; "|Opponent
| style="border-style:none none solid solid; "|Type
| style="border-style:none none solid solid; "|Round, Time
| style="border-style:none none solid solid; "|Date
| style="border-style:none none solid solid; "|Age
| style="border-style:none none solid solid; "|Location
| style="border-style:none none solid solid; "|Notes
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Loss
| Trevor Berbick
Trevor Berbick
Trevor Berbick was a Jamaican-Canadian heavyweight boxer who fought as a professional from 1976 until 2000. Berbick briefly held the WBC heavyweight championship in 1986 , before losing it to 20-year old Mike Tyson, via 2nd-round TKO...


| Decision
| 10
|
|
| Align=left|  Nassau, Bahamas
Nassau, Bahamas
Nassau is the capital, largest city, and commercial centre of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The city has a population of 248,948 , 70 percent of the entire population of The Bahamas...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Loss
| Larry Holmes
Larry Holmes
Larry Holmes is a former professional boxer. He grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania, which gave birth to his boxing nickname, The Easton Assassin....


| TKO
| 10
|
|
| Align=left|  Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Leon Spinks
Leon Spinks
Leon Spinks is a former American boxer. He had an overall record of 26 wins, 17 losses and 3 draws as a professional, with 14 knockout wins, and was the former World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association heavyweight champion of the world...


| Decision
| 15
|
|
| Align=left|  New Orleans, LA
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Loss
| Leon Spinks
Leon Spinks
Leon Spinks is a former American boxer. He had an overall record of 26 wins, 17 losses and 3 draws as a professional, with 14 knockout wins, and was the former World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association heavyweight champion of the world...


| Decision
| 15
|
|
| Align=left|  Las Vegas, NV
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Earnie Shavers
Earnie Shavers
Earnie Dee Shaver , better known as Earnie Shavers, is an American former professional boxer and is widely considered along with George Foreman as the hardest punchers of all time...


| Decision
| 15
|
|
| Align=left|  New York City, NY
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Alfredo Evangelista
| Decision
| 15
|
|
| Align=left|  Landover, MD
Landover, Maryland
Landover is an unincorporated community in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, within the census-designated place of Greater Landover. The Prince Georges County Sports and Learning Complex is in Landover...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Ken Norton
Ken Norton
Kenneth Howard Norton Sr. is a former heavyweight boxer. He is best known for his 12-round victory over a peak Muhammad Ali where he famously broke Ali's jaw, on March 31, 1973, becoming only the second man to defeat Ali as a professional .He and Ali...


| Decision
| 15
|
|
| Align=left|  The Bronx, New York
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Richard Dunn
| TKO
| 5
|
|
| Align=left|  Munich, West Germany
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Jimmy Young
Jimmy Young (boxer)
Jimmy Young was a fast highly skilled Philadelphia heavyweight boxer who had his greatest success during the 1970s, when he most notably beat George Foreman, and many fans felt also Ali . He also fought many top names...


| Decision
| 15
|
|
| Align=left|  Landover, MD
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Jean-Pierre Coopman
Jean-Pierre Coopman
Jean-Pierre Coopman is a retired Belgian boxer who is best known for his title fight against Muhammad Ali in 1976, which Ali won by KO in round 5.-Early life:Coopman's first fully paid job was as a stone cutter....


| KO
| 5
|
|
| Align=left|  San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan , officially Municipio de la Ciudad Capital San Juan Bautista , is the capital and most populous municipality in Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 395,326 making it the 46th-largest city under the jurisdiction of...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Joe Frazier
Joe Frazier
Joseph William "Joe" Frazier , also known as Smokin' Joe, was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981....


| TKO
| 14 , 0:59
|
|
| Align=left|  Quezon City, Philippines
Quezon City
Quezon City is the former capital and the most populous city in the Philippines. Located on the island of Luzon, Quezon City is one of the cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manila, the National Capital Region. The city was named after Manuel L...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Joe Bugner
Joe Bugner
József Kreul "Joe" Bugner is a Hungarian-born British-Australian former top heavyweight boxer. He holds triple nationality, being a citizen of Hungary and a naturalized citizen of both Australia and the United Kingdom where he learned to box and spent his peak years.Born in Szőreg, a southeastern...


| Decision
| 15
|
|
| Align=left|  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the second largest city in Malaysia by population. The city proper, making up an area of , has a population of 1.4 million as of 2010. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.2 million...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Ron Lyle
Ron Lyle
Ron Lyle was an American professional boxer in the heavyweight division. He is considered to have been one of the best contenders of his era. He was a crowd-pleasing power puncher.-Early life:...


| TKO
| 11
|
|
| Align=left|  Las Vegas, NV
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Chuck Wepner
Chuck Wepner
Charles "Chuck" Wepner is a former heavyweight boxer from Bayonne, New Jersey. As a tough but journeyman boxer he went 15 rounds with world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in a 1975 fight. Wepner is credited as the inspiration for Rocky Balboa. Wepner also appeared in the book Operation Bullpen...


| TKO
| 15 , 2:41
|
|
| Align=left|  Richfield, OH
Richfield, Ohio
Richfield is a village in Summit County, Ohio, United States. The population was 3,286 at the 2000 census. The village and the adjacent Richfield Township are approximately equidistant between the downtown areas of Akron and Cleveland...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| George Foreman
George Foreman
George Edward Foreman is an American two-time former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Olympic gold medalist, ordained Baptist minister, author and successful entrepreneur...


| KO
| 8 , 2:58
|
|
| Align=left|  Kinshasa, Zaire
Kinshasa
Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city is located on the Congo River....


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Joe Frazier
Joe Frazier
Joseph William "Joe" Frazier , also known as Smokin' Joe, was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981....


| Decision
| 12
|
|
| Align=left|  New York City, NY
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Rudi Lubbers
| Decision
| 12
|
|
| Align=left|  Jakarta, Indonesia
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...


|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Ken Norton
Ken Norton
Kenneth Howard Norton Sr. is a former heavyweight boxer. He is best known for his 12-round victory over a peak Muhammad Ali where he famously broke Ali's jaw, on March 31, 1973, becoming only the second man to defeat Ali as a professional .He and Ali...


| Decision
| 12
|
|
| Align=left|  Inglewood, CA
Inglewood, California
Inglewood is a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, southwest of downtown Los Angeles. It was incorporated on February 14, 1908. Its population stood at 109,673 as of the 2010 Census...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Loss
| Ken Norton
Ken Norton
Kenneth Howard Norton Sr. is a former heavyweight boxer. He is best known for his 12-round victory over a peak Muhammad Ali where he famously broke Ali's jaw, on March 31, 1973, becoming only the second man to defeat Ali as a professional .He and Ali...


| Decision
| 12
|
|
| Align=left|  San Diego, CA
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Joe Bugner
Joe Bugner
József Kreul "Joe" Bugner is a Hungarian-born British-Australian former top heavyweight boxer. He holds triple nationality, being a citizen of Hungary and a naturalized citizen of both Australia and the United Kingdom where he learned to box and spent his peak years.Born in Szőreg, a southeastern...


| Decision
| 12
|
|
| Align=left|  Las Vegas, NV
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Bob Foster
| KO
| 7
|
|
| Align=left|  Stateline, NV
Stateline, Nevada
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 1,215 people, 510 households, and 245 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,803.3 people per square mile . There were 562 housing units at an average density of 834.1 per square mile...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Floyd Patterson
Floyd Patterson
Floyd Patterson was an American heavyweight boxer and former undisputed heavyweight champion. At 21, Patterson became the youngest man to win the world heavyweight title. He was also the first heavyweight boxer to regain the title. He had a record of 55 wins 8 losses and 1 draw, with 40 wins by...


| TKO
| 7
|
|
| Align=left|  New York City, NY
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Alvin Lewis
Alvin Lewis (boxer)
Alvin Lewis, also known as Al Lewis, is a professional boxer who fought in the heavyweight division under the alias "Al "Blue" Lewis"....


| TKO
| 11 , 1:15
|
|
| Align=left|  Dublin, Ireland
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Jerry Quarry
Jerry Quarry
Jerry Quarry , nicknamed "Irish" or “The Bellflower Bomber,” was an Irish-American heavyweight boxer. Quarry was rated by Ring Magazine as the most popular fighter in the sport, 1968–1971, and was one of the biggest stars of arguably the greatest era in the history of the heavyweight division.-...


| TKO
| 7 , 0:19
|
|
| Align=left|  Las Vegas, NV
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| George Chuvalo
George Chuvalo
George Louis Chuvalo, CM is a retired Canadian heavyweight boxer who was never knocked down in ninety-three professional fights between 1956 and 1979. He is often considered to have had the greatest chin in the history of boxing and to be one of its most durable fighters...


| Decision
| 12
|
|
| Align=left|  Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Mac Foster
| Decision
| 15
|
|
| Align=left|  Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...


|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Jürgen Blin
Jürgen Blin
Jürgen Blin was a German boxer who on 26 December 1971 was knocked out in the seventh round by Muhammad Ali.Blin's record in the ring was 31-11-6 with nine knockouts. He was greatly admired by German boxing fans for his toughness and stamina in the ring...


| KO
| 7 , 2:12
|
|
| Align=left| Zurich, Switzerland
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...


|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Buster Mathis
Buster Mathis
Buster Mathis was a boxer who had a very successful career as an amateur heavyweight boxer. He qualified for a spot in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. However, he was injured and was unable to compete there. Instead of him, the fighter Mathis beat in the Olympic Trials went to the Olympics...


| Decision
| 12
|
|
| Align=left|  Houston, TX
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Jimmy Ellis
Jimmy Ellis
James Albert "Jimmy" Ellis is a retired boxer from Louisville, Kentucky. He fought in what some consider to be the greatest heavyweight era of all-time, which included Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Jerry Quarry, Floyd Patterson, Oscar Bonavena, Earnie Shavers and George Chuvalo among...


| TKO
| 12 , 2:10
|
|
| Align=left|  Houston, TX
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Loss
| Joe Frazier
Joe Frazier
Joseph William "Joe" Frazier , also known as Smokin' Joe, was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981....


| Decision
| 15
|
|
| Align=left|  New York City, NY
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Oscar Bonavena
Oscar Bonavena
Oscar Natalio "Ringo" Bonavena was a heavyweight professional boxer with a career record of 58 wins, 9 losses and 1 draw. A rugged, wild-swinging puncher, he was nicknamed "Ringo" because of his Beatles haircut, and enjoyed professional success in both Argentina and the United States...


| TKO
| 15 , 2:03
|
|
| Align=left|  New York City, NY
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Jerry Quarry
Jerry Quarry
Jerry Quarry , nicknamed "Irish" or “The Bellflower Bomber,” was an Irish-American heavyweight boxer. Quarry was rated by Ring Magazine as the most popular fighter in the sport, 1968–1971, and was one of the biggest stars of arguably the greatest era in the history of the heavyweight division.-...


| TKO
| 3
|
|
| Align=left|  Atlanta, GA
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Zora Folley
Zora Folley
Zora Folley was an American heavyweight boxer. He was well skilled with a good defence and also a punch to go with it....


| KO
| 7 , 1:48
|
|
| Align=left|  New York City, NY
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Ernie Terrell
Ernie Terrell
Ernie Terrell is an American singer, record producer, and former World Boxing Association heavyweight boxing champion. At , he was very tall, by the standards of the day....


| Decision
| 15
|
|
| Align=left|  Houston, TX
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Cleveland Williams
Cleveland Williams
Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams was an American heavyweight boxer who fought in the 1950s through the 1970s. A Ring Magazine poll once rated him as one of the finest boxers who never won a title...


| TKO
| 3
|
|
| Align=left|  Houston, TX
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Karl Mildenberger
Karl Mildenberger
Karl Mildenberger is a retired German heavyweight boxer. He was the European Heavyweight Champion from 1964 to 1968...


| TKO
| 12
|
|
| Align=left|  Frankfurt, West Germany
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Brian London
Brian London
Brian London, born Brian Sidney Harper, 19 June 1934, in West Hartlepool, is a retired English heavyweight boxer. He was British and Commonwealth Heavyweight champion from 1958 to 1959, and had two world heavyweight title fights...


| KO
| 3
|
|
| Align=left|  London, England
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Henry Cooper
Henry Cooper (boxer)
Sir Henry Cooper OBE KSG was an English heavyweight boxer known for the effectiveness of his left hook, "Enry's 'Ammer", and his knockdown of the young Muhammad Ali...


| TKO
| 6 , 1:38
|
|
| Align=left|  London, England
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| George Chuvalo
George Chuvalo
George Louis Chuvalo, CM is a retired Canadian heavyweight boxer who was never knocked down in ninety-three professional fights between 1956 and 1979. He is often considered to have had the greatest chin in the history of boxing and to be one of its most durable fighters...


| Decision
| 15
|
|
| Align=left|  Toronto, Canada
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Floyd Patterson
Floyd Patterson
Floyd Patterson was an American heavyweight boxer and former undisputed heavyweight champion. At 21, Patterson became the youngest man to win the world heavyweight title. He was also the first heavyweight boxer to regain the title. He had a record of 55 wins 8 losses and 1 draw, with 40 wins by...


| TKO
| 12 , 2:18
|
|
| Align=left|  Las Vegas, NV
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Sonny Liston
Sonny Liston
Charles L. "Sonny" Liston was a professional boxer and ex-convict known for his toughness, punching power, and intimidating appearance who became world heavyweight champion in 1962 by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round...


| KO
| 1 , 2:12
|
|
| Align=left|  Lewiston, ME
Lewiston, Maine
Lewiston is a city in Androscoggin County in Maine, and the second-largest city in the state. The population was 41,592 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included within the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Sonny Liston
Sonny Liston
Charles L. "Sonny" Liston was a professional boxer and ex-convict known for his toughness, punching power, and intimidating appearance who became world heavyweight champion in 1962 by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round...


| TKO
| 7
|
|
| Align=left|  Miami Beach, FL
Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach is a coastal resort city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States, incorporated on March 26, 1915. The municipality is located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the latter which separates the Beach from Miami city proper...


| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Henry Cooper
Henry Cooper
Henry Cooper may refer to:*Sir Henry Cooper , British Heavyweight boxer*Henry Cooper from Tennessee*Henry Cooper , English recipient of the Victoria Cross...


| TKO
| 5 , 2:15
|
|
| Align=left|  London, England
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Doug Jones
Doug Jones (boxer)
Doug Jones is a former American heavyweight boxer.- Boxing career :Doug "Pugilism" Jones started off his career successfully with 18 consecutive wins against mostly lightly regarded opponents, until his first loss occurred at the hands of Eddie Machen. He lost his next two fights, and the third a...


| Decision
| 10
|
|
| Align=left|  New York City, NY
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Charley Powell
| KO
| 3, 2:04
|
|
| Align=left|  Pittsburgh, PA
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Archie Moore
Archie Moore
Archie Moore, born Archibald Lee Wright , was light heavyweight world boxing champion who had one of the longest professional careers in the history of that sport....


| TKO
| 4 , 1:35
|
|
| Align=left|  Los Angeles, CA
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Alejandro Lavorante
| KO
| 5 , 1:48
|
|
| Align=left|  Los Angeles, CA
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Billy Daniels
| TKO
| 7 , 2:21
|
|
| Align=left|  New York City, NY
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| George Logan
| TKO
| 4 , 1:34
|
|
| Align=left|  New York City, NY
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Don Warner
| TKO
| 4, 0:34
|
|
| Align=left|  Miami Beach, FL
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Sonny Banks
Sonny Banks
Sonny Banks , born Lucien Banks,was an American boxer best known for being the first fighter to drop a young Muhammad Ali . At the time Banks was a rising prospect and known for a fast sharp left hook....


| TKO
| 4 , 0:26
|
|
| Align=left|  New York City, NY
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Willi Besmanoff
Willi Besmanoff
William David Besmanoff was a German boxer who was a heavyweight contender in the 1950s. He was born in Munich, Germany). His father was Jewish American. When Willi was 11, he was imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp for a short time. In the 1950s he moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and...


| TKO
| 7 , 1:55
|
|
| Align=left|  Louisville, KY
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...


|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Alex Miteff
| TKO
| 6 , 1:45
|
|
| Align=left|  Louisville, KY
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Alonzo Johnson
| Decision
| 10
|
|
| Align=left|  Louisville, KY
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Duke Sabedong
| Decision
| 10
|
|
| Align=left|  Las Vegas, NV
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| LaMar Clark
| KO
| 2 , 1:27
|
|
| Align=left|  Louisville, KY
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Donnie Fleeman
| TKO
| 7
|
|
| Align=left|  Miami Beach, FL
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Jim Robinson
Jim Robinson (boxer)
"Sweet Jimmy" Jim Robinson is a retired American boxer from Miami. Robinson fought Muhammad Ali in Miami Beach on Feb. 7, 1961 as a last minute replacement for Willie Gullatt. Robinson became Ali's fourth professional opponent...


| KO
| 1 , 1:34
|
|
| Align=left|  Miami Beach, FL
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Tony Esperti
| TKO
| 3 , 1:30
|
|
| Align=left|  Miami Beach, FL
| Align=left|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Herb Siler
Herb Siler
Herb Siler is a former heavyweight boxer. He won 15 fights and lost 12, but did not have any draws. His career started in 1960 and ended in 1967. Siler lost to Muhammad Ali through a 4th round knockout in 1960...


| KO
| 4
|
|
| Align=left|  Miami Beach, FL
|
|- style="text-align:center;"
| Win
| Tunney Hunsaker
Tunney Hunsaker
Tunney Morgan Hunsaker was the police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia in 1960 when Hunsaker was Cassius Clay's first opponent in a professional boxing bout. After the fight Hunsaker said "Clay was as fast as lightning ... I tried every trick I knew to throw at him off balance but he was just...


| Decision
| 6
|
|
| Align=left|  Louisville, KY
|

See also


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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