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12 facts that justify why Muhammad Ali was 'The Greatest'

Here are 12 facts that will give an insight into the life and career of the silver-tongues boxer:

India TV Sports Desk India TV Sports Desk Published on: June 04, 2016 12:51 IST
Muhammad Ali
Image Source : PTI Muhammad Ali

New Delhi: Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, breathed his last today morning at a Phoenix hospital.

Suffering from the illness since a long time, the three-time heavyweight champion had been hospitalized multiple times. The 74-year-old legendary boxer with a magical career of 35 years was considered by many to be the greatest boxer ever.

Here are 12 facts that will give an insight into the life and career of the silver-tongues boxer:

1. Born as Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior on January 17, 1942, the legendary boxer changed his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964 after joining Nation of Islam.

2. One of the biggest turning points in Ali’s career came on February 25, 1964, when the 22-year-old boxer defeated the reigning heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in Miami Beach, Florida. 

3. Muhammad Ali was banned from boxing for three years when he refused to serve the U.S. military for religious reasons during the Vietnam War in 1967. The heavyweight champion was arrested and his boxing license was immediately suspended by the New York State Athletic Commission. 

4. His most famous bouts included the one in which he won in an eight-round knockout against the undefeated 25-year-old champion George Foreman in 1974 to regain the heavyweight title that had been stripped from him during his suspension in 1967. The fight was known as ‘Rumble in the Jungle’. 

5. Ali dominated sports for two decades before time and Parkinson's Syndrome, triggered by thousands of blows to the head, ravaged his magnificent body, muted his majestic voice and ended his storied career in 1981.

6. He fought in three different decades, finished with a record of 56-5 with 37 knockouts and was the first man to win heavyweight titles three times.

 7. In his autobiography The Greatest: My Own Story, Ali stated that he threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River after being refused service at a ‘whites-only’ restaurant, and fighting with a white gang. 

8.  His thrilling fight with Zoe Frazier in 1975, famous as ‘Thrilla in Manila’, is regarded as one of the best boxing clashes of all time. Ali won that fight in the fifteenth round. 

9. Muhammad Ali developed Parkinson’s disease due to the injuries he sustained throughout his career. However, that didn't stop him from traveling tirelessly to promote Islam, meet with world leaders and champion legislation dubbed the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. While slowed in recent years, he still managed to make numerous appearances, including a trip to the 2012 London Olympics.

10. In 1999, BBC crowned Ali as “Sports Personality of the Century”, whereas the three-time heavyweight champion was named “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated. 

11. Ali lost the first professional fight of his career to Frazier on March 8, 1971 at Madison Square Garden. The fight was known as “The Fight of the Century”. 

12. Married four times, Ali has seven daughters and two sons.

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