by on December 31, 2022  in Boxing /
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Muhammad Ali, was a heavyweight boxing champion, had a phenomenal 56-win record. He was well known for publicly opposing the Vietnam War in a valiant manner.

Ali’s Personal Life

Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 17, 1942. His full name at birth was Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. Young Clay showed early on that he had no fear of any fight, whether it took place inside or outside of the ring. When he was a child, he had to deal with racial prejudice and discrimination in the divided South.

A strange turn of events led Clay to discover his boxing aptitude at 12. Clay informed policeman Joe Martin that he wanted to beat up the bike thief after they took his bike. Martin reportedly warned him at the time, "Well, you better learn how to fight before you start challenging others." Martin served as a police officer and a local gym's boxing instructor.

Clay began training with Martin to learn how to spar, and his boxing career soon followed. In 1954, he competed in his first amateur match and prevailed via split decision.

In 1956, Clay went on to win the novice light heavyweight Golden Gloves competition. Three years later, he won the Amateur Athletic Union's national light heavyweight championship as well as the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions

                             

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His Career

After winning his 19 fights, including 15 knockouts, Clay earned his first title opportunity on February 25, 1964, against then-reigning heavyweight champion Sonny Liston (1932-1970). The 22-year-old Clay continuously teased Liston before the fight, pledging to "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," and forecasting a knockout even though he was a 7-1 underdog when he arrived in Miami Beach, Florida.

 At the beginning of the seventh round, when Liston didn't answer the bell, Clay was declared the world's heavyweight champion. The new champion exclaimed, "I am the greatest!" in the ring after the match.

Clay, spotted in Miami with controversial Nation of Islam member Malcolm X (1925–1955), confirmed the rumors of his conversion to Islam at a news conference the following morning. Elijah Muhammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam (1897–1975), gave Clay the name Muhammad Ali on March 6, 1964.

On May 25, 1965, Ali defeated Liston in the first round of their rematch to clinch the heavyweight championship, and he went on to successfully defend it eight more times. Ali then showed up on April 28, 1967, for his scheduled induction into the U.S. Armed Forces despite the ongoing Vietnam War. He objected to serving, citing his religious convictions. As soon as they took Ali into custody, the New York State Athletic Commission canceled his heavyweight title and suspended his boxing license.

Ali was found guilty of draught evasion and given a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, but he was allowed to remain free while the case was being appealed. Ali's popularity fell due to what many believed to be his draught evasion. Ali, suspended from boxing for three years, protested the Vietnam War on college campuses.

Support for Ali grew as public opinion toward the war shifted. His boxing license was restored by the New York State Supreme Court in 1970, and his conviction was unanimously overturned by the United States Supreme Court the following year.

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