The life of Muhammad Ali is one of the most inspirational stories of modern times. He’s a boxer, a poet and a true icon for our young generation. Like Nelson Mandela, Ali fought racism and bigotry.
Alongside, he also fought George Foreman, Frazier, and Sonny Liston and had beaten all of them to a pulp. He’s an Olympic gold medalist in boxing. After retiring, Muhammad Ali has been championing for world peace, as well- turned down the draft to fight in Vietnam, and even negotiated with the dictator for the release of American hostages.
Diamonds can last forever but unfortunately; it does not apply to humans. In what seems to be one of the worst years regarding the passing of major celebrity and entertainment figures, 2016 continues to take from us one icon after another.
After Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and Prince most recently, we are in the sad position again to say goodbye to one of the great personality which made our world a brighter and better place: activist, humanitarian, and a boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
The world was rocked with the sad news of an icon, a legend, an epitome of greatness that we might never get to see an individual close to his legendary status. The legendary boxer, who passed on at the age of 74, has left behind him several memories that his fans will live to cherish.
His death was a huge blow not just to the boxing world but the entire world. Everyone paid tribute to his legendary status from the US president, Barack Obama to his former rival George Foreman to Lebron James, etc. Muhammad Ali left us on June 3, 2016, after suffering for many years from the Parkinson’s disease.
Ali began boxing at an early age; dominating many of his opponents to become the world heavyweight champion a record twice. He was very impressive in the ring and was well-known for his commanding jab and rapid deviousness.
What extricates him from his fellow boxers are the standards which he had managed to safeguard all through his lifespan. He was a supreme follower of ethnic justice and religious liberty.
Although several people have watched Muhammad Ali’s vintage matches, and appreciated the legend whenever he was in the ring, here’s a review of the cool facts about Muhammad Ali which many don’t know:
1. Ali Negotiated the Release of American Hostages
After Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saddam Hussein developed a plot to prevent American attacks by tactically placing foreign hostages (or the ‘guests’ as he referred them) in major locations.
As one of the most admired and influential Muslims in the world, it was agreed that Mohammad Ali would be a perfect ambassador to go over and negotiate the release of the 15 Americans being used as the ‘human shields.’
Ali was 6 years into his fight with the Parkinson’s disease at that time and came under fire from some sections of the press who accused him of only being interested in enhancing his own profile.
Undeterred, Ali met with Saddam Hussein and successfully negotiated with the dictator; he left Iraq on December 2, 1990, along with the 15 American men, while insisting that they shouldn’t thank him but instead give full credit to Allah.
2. He changed his name to Cassius X before becoming known as Muhammad Ali
The morning after knocking out Liston, the new heavyweight champion did confirm reports that he had become a full member of the Nation of Islam. Finally, the champion told journalists that he had renounced his surname that he referred as his “slave name,” and he would be called “Cassius X” up until Elijah Muhammad, the leader- Nation of Islam, gave him a holy name.
The name, Muhammad Ali, was granted on March 6, 1964.
3. Ali’s 836,000 Dollar Gloves
Since time immemorial, several sports personalities have always auctioned their memorabilia for record amounts of cash. But, only a few records have come close to the one set by Muhammad Ali’s gloves.
After defeating Sonny Liston in their world heavyweight bout that was held in Miami Florida in 1964, an unknown buyer bought Ali’s gloves for a whopping $836,000. The record sale of his championship gloves outshone the $630,000 Ali earned for the heart-throbbing championship victory.
4. Muhammad Ali was banned from boxing for 3 years.
As the Vietnam War intensified in 1967, Ali refused to serve in the United States military for religious reasons. The heavyweight champ was arrested, and the New York State Athletic Commission suspended his boxing license immediately and even stripped him of his title.
Ali was sentenced for draft evasion, imprisoned for a maximum of 5 years and fined $10,000, though he remained free as the conviction was appealed.
In 1970 the New York State’s Supreme Court gave orders for the reinstatement of his boxing license, and he managed to return to the ring by defeating Jerry Quarry on October 1970. The following year, the United States Supreme Court overturned Muhammad Ali’s conviction in a unanimous decision.
5. Interestingly, Schwinn bicycle launched his boxing career
When the twelve-year-old Clay’s favorite bicycle was stolen in October 1954, he reported the theft to the local police officer Joe Martin and vowed to beat the culprit.
Martin, who was a boxing trainer as well, suggested that the furious youngster first learn how to fight, and he took him under his wing. Clay won his first competition in a split decision six weeks later.
6. One Knockout Loss
Since he joined the boxing industry several years ago, Ali has had one of the most successful careers of all time. He has fought in about 61 professional fights and 110 armature fights. Nonetheless, he has been defeated only five times, five times in his professional career and once during his armature career.
But, Muhammad has only lost a single boxing bout by knockout. This was in his early years as an amateur boxer. Although Joe Fraser defeated Muhammad Ali once and defeated him for the championship belt on March 8, 1971, he only won by decision, not by knockout.