Saturday, 04 June 2016 01:13

Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali dies at the age of 74

Written by C News
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Muhammad Ali, the three-time heavyweight champ, has died at the age of 74.

Ali, who declared himself "The Greatest," was hospitalised on Thursday with a respiratory issue and died late on Friday night.

He was born Cassius Clay on January 17th, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky and later changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964.

He first started boxing at the age of 12 and won 100 of 108 amateur fights before representing his country at the 1960 Olympics in Rome and winning Gold.

He won his first pro bout on October 29th, 1960 against Tunney Hunsaker.

One of his catch phrases "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" came in the lead up to a fight against Sonny Liston who was larger than him, yet he beat the champ in seven rounds in Miami to win his first heavyweight title.

They next met in 1965 and Ali again beat him to retain the title.

Muhammed Ali was well known for his religious and political beliefs which raised the ire of many when he refused in 1967 to serve in the US Army because of his religious convictions and his opposition to the Vietnam war.

For this, he was stripped of his heavyweight title in 1967, fined $10,000 and sentenced to five years in prison for draft evasion.

That conviction was overturned by the US Supreme Court in 1971 and a few months after, Ali went head-to-head with Joe Frazier in a legendary 15-round fight called "The Fight of the Century," which  Frazier won to become the heavyweight champ.

Ali then beat Frazier in their next two bouts, including a unanimous 12-round decision in 1974 that set up his heavyweight bout against George Foreman in Zaire (now Congo) 10 months later, in what was referred to as the "Rumble in the Jungle." There, he knocked out Foreman in the eighth round and reclaimed the world heavyweight title.

The outspoken boxer came up against Joe Frazier one last time in bout dubbed "The Thrilla in Manila" on October 1st 1975 in the Philippines, which he won.

In 1978, Ali lost his heavyweight title to Leon Spinks, but just seven months later, he beat Spinks to reclaim the title. 

Muhammad Ali retired in 1981 after losing to Trevor Berbick in his 61st career bout. The previous year he lost to Larry Holmes. He finished his career in 1981 with a record of 56 wins (including 37 by knockout) and five losses.

At the end of his boxing career, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and began receiving treatment. 

Ali was married four times and had nine children, including a daughter, Laila, who also became a professional boxer.

He left an indelible impression on the sporting world and this was demonstrated when he lit the Olympic cauldron at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and carried the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Games in London.

Read 706 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 09:17
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