Muhammad Ali v. Sonny Liston 1964 | Ali defeated then-heavyweight champion Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964 at Miami Beach, United States
- Muhammad Ali was a formidable fighter both inside and outside the boxing ring. The heavyweight fighter was staunch opponent of the Vietnam War as he was appalled by the senseless loss of lives on both sides in the South China Sea. Starting right from the mid-1960s, the boxing legend did not mince words in his campaign against the United States’ involvement in the war.
Ali rose to even greater acclaim due to his unrelenting peace activism starting in the 1960s.
- In 1966, when the boxer received a draft call to join the armed forces, he vehemently declined, citing religious reasons and his pacifist doctrines. As punishment for his decision, the U.S. government banned him from the ring. Ali was also stripped off his heavyweight title and thereafter handed a 5-year prison sentence. Unperturbed by any of those punches thrown at him, he continued his anti-war campaign, giving speeches across the nation. Ultimately, his perseverance and unshakable fight outside the ring are what kept him going during those three and a half years that he was excommunicated from professional boxing.
- Another very remarkable achievement of Muhammad Ali is that he was the first boxer to clinch the heavyweight title three times. He won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978 by defeating Sonny Liston, George Foreman, and Leon Spinks. Bear in mind, all three of those boxers were absolutely fierce fighters in their own right. Take the example of George Foreman, a powerful fighter that Ali had the distinguished honor of fighting in a bout dubbed the “Rumble in the Jungle”. In that bout, which many consider as one of the greatest boxing fights of the 20th century, Ali was able to floor Foreman in the eighth round.
Muhammad Ali – accomplishments
- Muhammad Ali lost just five fights throughout his professional boxing career. The boxing legend’s career stats read as 56 wins, 37 knockouts and 5 losses. What this means is that he won over 90% of his professional bouts with the only defeats coming at the hands of Joe Frazier (in 1971), Leon Spinks (in 1978), Larry Holmes (October 2, 1980), and Trevor Berbick (December 11, 1981). His bout with Berbick was dubbed “Drama in Bahama”, and it was his last boxing match.
- Ali is famed for coming up with a boxing technique known as “Rope-a-dope”. The technique was very useful considering the fact that he came against some of boxing greatest fighters and heavy hitters. The technique is simple: take as many punches from an opponent before hitting back when the opponent least expected. Ali was a master at this technique. He blended it with his breathtaking speed and agility. Some historians say that it was Ali’s way of making his opponents outpunch themselves into exhaustion. Once the opponent was tired, Ali would then come out gun blazing, unleashing punch after punch until the opponent hits the deck. A case in point where Ali used this technique to great efficiency was during the fight against George Foreman in Zaire (present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo) on October 30, 1974.
Famous quotes by Muhammad Ali
Other notable achievements of Muhammad Ali
Accomplishments of Muhammad Ali
- In 2007, he was honored with a doctorate of humanities by Princeton University.
- He made the list of Time magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. Thus, he appeared on the same list as the likes of FDR, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, MLK, and Louis Armstrong.
- In the course of his life, he penned down two autobiographies – The Soul of a Butterfly (2003) and The Greatest: My Own Story (1975). The latter book was co-written with Richard Durham.
- Sports Illustrated places him as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. Similarly, World History Edu ranked him as the greatest American boxer of all time.
- In 2005, Muhammad Ali was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, by then-U.S. President George W. Bush. Four years prior to that he received the Presidential Citizens Medal (the second-highest civilian honor of our country) from President Bill Clinton.