Muhammad Ali

February 1, 2011

Very Important People

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali career began as an amateur boxer (1954-60), winning 100 of 108 matches. He became the 1960 Olympic light-heavyweight champion. Financed by a group of Louisville businessmen, he turned professional, and by 1963 had won his first 19 fights. He won the world heavyweight title in 1964, defeating the purportedly invincible Sonny Liston when he retired at the end of the sixth round.

At the time he joined the Black Muslims and adopted the name Muhammad Ali. After defending the championship nine times within two years, in 1967 he refused to be drafted into the army on religious grounds, and was stripped of his title and barred from the ring.

Ali’s action earned him both respect and anger from different quarters, but he did not box for three-and-a-half years; he took his case to the Supreme Court and had his boxing license restored in 1970. In 1971, he was beaten by Joe Frazier, but beat him in 1974 in Zaire, and went on to meet George Foreman later that year, knocking him out in eight rounds to regain his title. He was beaten by Leon Spinks in a split decision (Feb. 1978) but regained the title the same year – the first man to win the world heavyweight title three times.

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