When it comes to boxing, the first name that comes to mind is Muhammad Ali. He is a true legend of the sport and stunned many fans by his bold demeanor on the boxing mat. Cassius Clay, better known as Muhammad Ali, first came into the limelight in 1964 when he defeated the heavyweight champion at the time, Sonny Liston. Muhammad Ali proclaimed to the world that he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” on his way to the top and that is exactly what he did. Here are a few interesting facts about this great boxer.
- Stolen Bicycle Started His Career – When 12-year-old Cassius Clay’s favorite bicycle was stolen, he went to Officer Joe Martin to report the theft. Little Clay also told Officer Martin that he would pound the thief when he was caught. Martin, who was a boxing trainer, suggested that Clay must learn how to fight before that. He started training Clay and six weeks later, Clay won his first fight.
- Was Named After A White Abolitionist – Cassius Clay was named after Cassius Marcellus Clay, who was an anti-slavery fighter. He lived till the age of 92, fighting against discrimination of color and creed.
- Originally Renamed As Cassius X – Before Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, he had chosen the name Cassius X. When Cassius became a member of the Nation of Islam, their leader, Elijah Muhammad, decided to give him a holy name, Muhammad Ali.
- Three Year Ban – When Muhammad Ali refused to serve in the US military during the Vietnam War, he was arrested. His boxing license was suspended and his title was taken away as well. The New York State Supreme Court finally reinstated his boxing license and Ali was finally back in the ring.
- Broadway Star – When Ali was forced to take an exile from boxing, he took the stage for the Broadway musical ‘Buck White’. He received decent reviews for his performance.
- Self Proclaimed Great One – Ali was known for composing verses where he taunted his opponents and showered praise upon himself. The star also performed poetry and released these albums that were backed by music.
- Irish Roots – Ali’s roots can be traced back to Ireland as his great grandfather, Abe Grady, was from Ireland. He migrated to the United States and settled there. Ali even paid a visit to his ancestral hometown and met a few fellow members of the O’Grady clan.
- His Best Bout Was Fought At 4am – When Ali was stripped of his title, he got an opportunity seven years later to win it back. Zaire’s President, Mobutu Sese Seko, planned to garner publicity for his country and offered Ali and champion, George Foreman, $5 million dollars each to fight in the capital of his country, Kinshasa. Since the time zones were different and America wanted to telecast the match live on primetime, Ali and Foreman had to fight in the early hours of the morning for American audiences to view the fight.
- Olympic Gold Medal – 18-year-old Ali traveled to Rome and won a lightweight Gold medal at the 1960 Olympics. When Ali returned to Ohio, he threw the medal into the Ohio river to protest against racism.
- Expensive Gloves – Almost fifty years after Ali won the heavyweight title for the first time, an unknown buyer bought the gloves he wore for almost $836,000. On the contrary, Ali only earned $630,000 for that victory.
Ali V/s Tyson Who is Best
Muhammad Ali has been the heavyweight champion five times and this is something no other boxer could ever achieve. While Tyson was amazing in the ring, people feared him. Ali for sure was one of those boxers who would have never been afraid of Tyson and he would kick his ass.
One of the main reasons for Tyson’s success is the fear he created in the opponents mind. Ali was too strong to succumb to this fear and he would definitely be the stronger person.
Another reason why Tyson would never defeat Ali is because unlike Ali, Tyson was never trained to fight 10 rounds in one go, forget 12 to 15. This is something Ali was a pro at.