Mumbai: Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali passed away today. The 74-year-old boxer was admitted to the Arizona Hospital a few days back. He was suffering from the respiratory disorder, Parkinson for quite some time now. Let’s have a brief look into the life of the great boxer.
Named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Ali was born on January 17, 1942. However, later, he changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam and subsequently converted to Sunni Islam in 1975.
He is one of the legendary boxers’, nicknamed ‘The Greatest’ and is known for his swift footwork, and powerful jab. The thing which distinguishes him from his contemporaries is the values that he has upholding all through his life.
Talking about his boxing career, it was a Louisville police officer who changed the fate of young Muhammad Ali. The latter was enraged at a thief who robbed his bicycle and told police officer, Joe Martin that he wished to whip the robber. It was then that Martin suggested him to learn boxing first. Martin served as his early coach, teaching him the technicalities involved in the game. In the last four years of his amateur career, he was trained by boxing cutman Chuck Bodak.
The 6 feet 3 inch tall boxer had a highly unorthodox style for a heavyweight boxer. Rather than the normal boxing style of carrying the hands high to defend the face, he instead relied on his ability to avoid a punch. In Louisville, on October 29, 1960, Cassius Ali won his first professional fight. He won a six-round decision over Tunney Hunsaker, who was the police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia. From 1960 to 1963, the young fighter amassed a record of 19-0, with 15 knockouts.
At 22 was one of the most efficient and renowned sportsperson in the game of boxing and created ripples in the boxing arena by knocking out the heavy weight Champion Sonny Liston from the game.
In 1999, Ali was crowned ‘Sportsman of the Century’ by Sports Illustrated. He won the World Heavyweight Boxing championship three times, and also won the North American Boxing Federation championship and an Olympic gold medal.
Ali played the last match of his life on December 11, 1981. Talking about his personal life, Ali married for four times his life. His life Partners were Sonji Roy, Belinda Boyd, Veronica Porsche and Yolanda. Overall, he has seven daughters and two sons.
In his career spanning 21 years, Ali recorded 56 wins. Also, recently he held the 13 place after Donald Trump in the Forbes Celebrity 100 list.
He was the proud recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he received in 2005 by then President George W. Bush.
Along with this Ali was inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was even honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.
(Report by Soumya Srivastava)