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Muhammad Ali: 10 must know facts about the late boxing legend

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 4 June 2016, 12:48 IST

A 22-year-old brash boxing athlete stepped into in the world of boxing by defeating the reigning heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in Miami Beach, Florida, on 25 February 1964.

Muhammad Ali was one the greatest legends in the world of boxing. Born 17 January 1942, he was an American former professional boxer who was generally associated with the heavyweight category of the game. He was crowned "Sportsman of the Century" by Sports Illustrated and "Sports Personality of the Century" by the BBC.

He always lived by his "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can't hit what the eyes can't see," and fought every match the same way. He was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease in 1980s.

Ali is the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion. He won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Between February 25, 1964 and September 19, 1964 Muhammad Ali reigned as the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion.

Lets take a look at 10 must know things about the Legend:

1. He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr but later converted his name to Muhammad Ali.As a kid growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali never took the school bus; rather, he raced the school bus every morning to the school.

2. When his new bicycle was stolen, he went to the police station and told officer Joe Martin that he would plummet the criminal. Joe Martin, who incidently was a boxing trainer, told Ali that he should first learn how to fight. And this gave a kickstart to his boxing career.

3. The morning in which he defeated the champion Sonny Liston, he changed his name to Cassius X. The name, Muhammad Ali, was bestowed on him on 6 March, 1964.

4. As the Vietnam war raged in 1967, Ali was asked to serve in the military. Since he refused to serve, he was banned for three years by the New York State Athletic Commission. He was also stripped of his title. Ali was sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison and fined $10,000.

5. While he was off-field, he starred in a broadway musical "Buck White". He also has an album of spoken verse, "I Am the Greatest". The album also included a cover of the Ben E. King hit "Stand by Me".

6. The glove with which he defeated Sonny Liston was sold at a mammoth price of $836,000. Ali only earned $630,000 for the victory itself.

7. Kent Green was the only man to knock out Muhammad Ali. He did so in the third round of an amateur fight.

8. For the American audiences to view the match in prime-time, Muhammad Ali fought one of his famous bouts "Rumble in the jungle", against the undefeated champion George Foreman, in 1974, at 4 AM.

9. He won a Gold medal in the 1960 Rio Olympics, which may now be lying on the Ohio river bed. He threw the medal in the river in protest against the racism that he faced in his hometown. However, he was awarded a replacement gold medal in 1996 Summer Olympics.

10. He had fought a total of 61 matches. Out of which he won 56 matches and a staggering 37 matches via KO alone. However, he also has 5 loses under his belt.

First published: 4 June 2016, 12:48 IST