Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, generally considered the greatest heavyweight in the history of the sport.
He’s wrestled with alligators and tussled with a whale. He’s handcuffed lightning and thrown thunder in jail. He’s Muhammad Ali, one of the most famous figures of the 20th century. A three-time heavyweight champion, Ali has taken on boxers, bigots, governments, and Parkinson’s, all the while mocking his foes with freestyle poetry. There are quite a few crazy facts and strange stories about the self-proclaimed “Greatest,” the man who shook up the world.
Personal Details :
- Born : January 17, 1942
- Place : Louisville, Kentucky, United States
- Died : June 3, 2016
- Spouse : Yolonda Williams (m. 1986–2016)
- Children : Laila Ali, Rasheda Ali, Hana Ali, Asaad Amin, Maryum Ali, Jamillah Ali, Khaliah Ali, Muhammad Ali Jr., Miya Ali
- Siblings : Rahman Ali
Here are 10 interesting facts about 10 interesting :
1. He became a boxer because his bicycle was stolen
It was a 1954 story. His bicycle was nicked from outside the Columbia Auditorium. Muhammad Ali got furious and found a policeman and told him he wanted to “whup” whoever the thief was. As a matter of fact, the Policeman, Joe Martin was a boxing trainer. He took young Cassius Clay under his wing.
2. Muhammad Ali practiced his speed by dodging rocks
It sounds crazy enough but it’s true. He used to ask his fella to throw rocks at him. The crazy Muhammad Ali dodged every single rocks threw at him. His younger brother, Rudy, the rock thrower said, “NO MATTER HOW MANY I THREW, I COULD NEVER HIT HIM.”
3. Muhammad Ali punched a cop in his first bout
It was on 29 October 1960, when Muhammad Ali won his first professional fight by defeating Tunney Hunsaker. Hunsaker was also a Chief of Police from West Virginia. It was an incredible match and Muhammad Ali won a unanimous decision after six rounds of play.
4. Muhammad Ali was a singer and an actor and a poet, too
You know him better as a boxer, but he is a singer, an actor and a poet too. In 1963, Muhammad Ali released an album, “I AM The Greatest“, just six months before he defeated Sonny Liston to claim the World Heavyweight Title for the first time in his boxing career. His album included a cover of Ben E. King’s famous song “Stand by me” and it was sung all by himself. As an actor, Muhammad Ali also starred in titled Buck White and Broadway musical, which was closed after 5 nights.
5. Muhammad Ali was scared of flying
The incident took place in 1960 Rome Olympics when Muhammad Ali flew to Europe. He was so scared on the air that he insisted on wearing a parachute in the plane. The journey by air was not wasted at all- Ali boxed his way to a Light-heavyweight Gold medal.
6. The Olympic Gold did not transcend racism back home
Muhammad Ali entered a diner at Kentucky with the Gold medal proudly wearing around his neck. The waitress told him, “Sorry, we don’t serve Negroes“. Muhammad Ali retorted “Well that’s okay- don’t eat ’em either.” This indicated that the racism was so cruel that time in the American society.
7. He was expected to lose his first world-title fight
It seemed to be a huge upset when Muhammad Ali defeated Sonny Liston in February, 1964. It was Sonny Liston, who had just destroyed former champion Floyd Patterson in a first-round knockout. Ali was then only 22-year-lad and a 7-1 underdog. As a matter of fact, Muhammad Ali won and the rest remains as a history.
8. He was an Irish!
Muhammad Ali’s great-grandfather was an Irish by name of Abe Grady. He was immigrated to Kentucky, United States in the mid-1800s. Here he married a freed slave- Odessa Lee Grandy Clay. As soon as Cassius (Mohammad Ali) defeated Sonny Liston in 1964, he publicly thrown off the slave name “clay“. Then, Cassius was allocated the name Muhammad Ali as a follower of Islam by the movement leader, Elijah Muhammad.
9. Frank Sinatra had to work his ass off to watch Ali’s comeback
Muhammad Ali was suspended for three and a half years for refusing the draft to fight in Vietnam and the fight was against Joe Frazier in 1971. His comeback fight was dubbed ‘The Fight of the Century’. Demand of the ticket for that match was so high that Frank Sinatra could not get inside as a photographer of Life magazine. The cover photo Sinatra took for this match wasn’t bad after all.
10. Ali once convinced Saddam Hossein to free 15 innocent hostages:
When Iraqi dictator Saddam Hossein invaded Kuwait in 1990, he kept 2,000 foreigners as hostages. Muhammad Ali flew to Baghdad to meet the Iraqi leader with a hope that his status as the world’s most famous Muslim might help him to negotiate. It took 50 minutes to get released 15 captive Americans.
Muhammad Ali Quotes :
- Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
- He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
- The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
- Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
- I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.
- I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.
- The man who has no imagination has no wings.
- It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
- Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.
- It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.