Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Muhammad Ali Biography News Profile Relationships Pictures Wallpaper Online Video.

Full Name: Mr. Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. / Muhammad Ali
Date of Birth: January 17, 1942
Place of Birth: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Died: N/A
Place of Death: N/A
Classification: Heroes & Icons

Boxer, philanthropist, social activist. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. Once one of the top American boxers, Muhammad Ali has shown that he is not afraid of any fight—inside or outside the ring. Growing up in the segregated South, Ali experienced firsthand the prejudice and discrimination that African-Americans faced during this era.

At the age of 12, Ali discovered his talent for boxing through an odd twist of fate. His bike was stolen, and Ali told a police officer, Joe Martin, that he wanted to beat up the thief. "Well, you better learn how to fight before you start challenging people," Martin reportedly told him at the time. In addition to being a police officer, Martin also trained young boxers at a local gym.

Ali started working with Martin to learn how to box, and soon began his boxing career. In his first amateur bout in 1954, he won the fight by split decision. Ali went on to win the 1956 Golden Gloves Championship for novices in the light heavyweight class. Three years later, he won the Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions and the Amateur Athletic Union's national title for the light-heavyweight division.

In 1960, Ali won a spot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team. He traveled to Rome, Italy, to compete. At 6 feet 3 inches tall, Ali was an imposing figure in the ring. He was known for his footwork, and for possessing a powerful jab. After winning his first three bouts, Ali then defeated Zbigniew Pietrzkowski from Poland to win the gold medal.

After his Olympic victory, Ali was heralded as an American hero. He soon turned professional with the backing of the Louisville Sponsoring Group. During the 1960s Ali seemed unstoppable, winning all of his bouts with majority of them being by knockouts. He took out British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper in 1963 and then knocked out Sonny Liston in 1964 to become the heavyweight champion of the world.

Often referring to himself as "the greatest," Ali was not afraid to sing his own praises. He was known for boasting about his skills before a fight and for his colorful descriptions and phrases. In one of his more famously quoted descriptions, Ali told reporters that he could "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" in the boxing ring.

This bold public persona belied what was happening in Ali's personal life, however. He was doing some spiritual searching and decided to join the black Muslim group, the Nation of Islam, in 1964. At first he called himself Cassius X, but then settled into the name Muhammad Ali. Two years later, Ali started a different kind of fight when he refused to acknowledge his military service after being drafted. He said that he was a practicing Muslim minister, and that his religious beliefs prevented him from fighting in the Vietnam War.

In 1967, Ali put his personal values ahead of his career. The U.S. Department of Justice pursued a legal case against Ali, denying his claim for conscientious objector status. He was found guilty of refusing to be inducted into the military, but Ali later cleared his name after a lengthy court battle. Professionally, however, Ali did not fare as well. The boxing association took away his title and suspended him from the sport for three and a half years.

The Stolen Bicycle: Muhammad Ali Becomes a Boxer
When Muhammad Ali was 12 years old, he and a friend went to the Columbia Auditorium to partake in the free hot dogs and popcorn available for visitors of the Louisville Home Show. When the boys were done eating, they went back to get their bicycles only to discover that Muhammad Ali's had been stolen.

Furious, Muhammad Ali went to the basement of the Columbia Auditorium to report the crime to police officer Joe Martin, who was also a boxing coach at the Columbia Gym. When Muhammad Ali said he wanted to beat up the person who stole his bike, Martin told him that he should probably learn to fight first. A few days later, Muhammad Ali began boxing training at Martin's gym.

From the very beginning, Muhammad Ali took his training seriously. He trained six days a week. On schooldays, he woke early in the morning so that he could go running and then would go workout at the gym in the evening. When Martin's gym closed at 8 pm, Ali would then go train at another boxing gym. Over time, Muhammad Ali also created his own eating regimen that included milk and raw eggs for breakfast. Concerned about what he put in his body, Ali stayed away from junk food, alcohol, and cigarettes so that he could be the best boxer in the world.

The 1960 Olympics
Even in his early training, Muhammad Ali boxed like no one else. He was fast. So fast that he didn't duck punches like most other boxers; instead, he just leaned back away from them. He also didn't put his hands up to protect his face; he kept them down by his hips.

In 1960, the Olympic Games were held in Rome. Muhammad Ali, then 18 years old, had already won national tournaments such as the Golden Gloves and so he felt ready to compete in the Olympics. On September 5, 1960, Muhammad Ali (then still known as Cassius Clay) fought against Zbigniew Pietrzyskowski from Poland in the light-heavyweight championship bout. In a unanimous decision, the judges declared Ali the winner, which meant Ali had won the Olympic gold medal.

Having won the Olympic gold medal, Muhammad Ali had attained the top position in amateur boxing. It was time for him to turn professional.

Wins the Heavyweight Title
As Muhammad Ali started fighting in professional boxing bouts, he realized that there things he could do to create attention for himself. For instance, before fights, Ali would say things to worry his opponents. He would also frequently declare, "I am the greatest of all time!" Often before a fight, Ali would write poetry that would either called the round his opponent would fall or boast of his own abilities. Muhammad Ali's most famous line was when he stated he was going to "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."

His theatrics worked. Many people paid to see Muhammad Ali's fights just to see such a braggart lose. In 1964, even the heavyweight champion, Charles "Sonny" Liston got caught up in the hype and agreed to fight Muhammad Ali.

On February 25, 1964, Muhammad Ali fought Liston for the heavyweight title in Miami, Florida. Liston tried for a quick knockout, but Ali was too fast to catch. By the 7th round, Liston was too exhausted, had hurt his shoulder, and was worried about a cut under his eye. Liston refused to continue the fight. Muhammad Ali had become the heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

The Nation of Islam and Name Change
The day after the championship bout with Liston, Muhammad Ali publicly announced his conversion to Islam. The public was not happy. Ali had joined the Nation of Islam, a group led by Elijah Muhammad that advocated for a separate black nation. Since many people found the Nation of Islam's beliefs to be racist, they were angry and disappointed that Ali had joined them.

Up to this point, Muhammad Ali was still known as Cassius Clay. When he joined the Nation of Islam in 1964, he shed his "slave name" (he had been named after a white abolitionist that had freed his slaves) and took on the new name of Muhammad Ali.

Banned From Boxing: Draft Evasion
During the three years after the Liston fight, Ali won every bout. He had become one of the most popular athletes of 1960s. He had become a symbol of black pride. Then in 1967, Muhammad Ali received a draft notice.

The United States was calling up young men to fight in the Vietnam War. Since Muhammad Ali was a famous boxer, he could have requested special treatment and just entertained the troops. However, Ali's deep religious beliefs forbade killing, even in war, and so Ali refused to go.

In June 1967, Muhammad Ali was tried and found guilty of draft evasion. Although he was fined $10,000 and sentenced to five years in jail, he remained out on bail while he appealed. However, in response to public outrage, Muhammad Ali was banned from boxing and stripped of his heavyweight title.

For three and a half years, Muhammad Ali was "exiled" from professional boxing. While watching others claim the heavyweight title, Ali lectured around the country to earn some money.


Anonymous said...

Muhammad Ali's Likeness Captured in Unique Work of Art Let's face it, immortalizing an athlete with some kind of statue is getting to be pretty lame. Sure, a statue is probably the best way to create a lasting image of a given star. But if you can .

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