Full name: Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.
Nickname(s): The Greatest
Height: 6'2" (187 cm)
Weight: 176 lbs (80 kg)
Born: January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Affiliations: Kentucky Amateur Athletic Union
Country: United States
Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)
He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, the son of Odessa and Marcellus Clay but he would not keep the name. He preferred instead a name which dignified the black man, and he wore it well as the most famous athlete of his time. His story began as a reed-thin middleweight when he won the 1959 Golden Gloves championship. He repeated that victory in 1960, adding to it the AAU title and the Olympic light-heavyweight crown. Thus was born the saga of "The Greatest." Clay turned pro right after the Rome Olympics and fought his first fight against Tunney Hunsaker. He won easily and continued to win as he worked his way up the heavyweight ranks. He punctuated his pugilistic abilities by composing doggerel verse to predict the outcome of his fights – "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, his hands can't hit, what his eyes can't see."
Clay was the fastest heavyweight anybody had ever seen but few gave him a chance against "the Big Bear," Sonny Liston, when they met for the heavyweight title on 25 February 1964. But Clay disarmed the menacing Liston, winning by a TKO in seven, and afterwards told the world he had embraced the Black Muslim faith and taken the name Muhammad Ali. The Muhammad Ali of the late 60s was an awesome fighting machine. With great speed, deceptive power, and an unequaled ability to take a punch, he was never beaten, never even seriously challenged. But the courts took away the title that other boxers could not. He refused induction into the U.S. Army claiming a conscientious objection because of his faith, so he was stripped of his titles and a conviction was sought.
The attempted conviction was overturned. Ali was vindicated and allowed to fight again but he had lost three years of his prime. He made a comeback, losing to then undefeated champion and former Olympian, Joe Frazier, in a 15-round decision. However, Ali would later win back the heavyweight title by defeating George Foreman, another Olympic champion. He would eventually lose the title again, and regain it again, against 1976 Olympian Leon Spinks. But he was never the same fighter after his three-year exile.
In the late 70’s, Ali attempted to regain the title again, but he was overweight and out of shape. A mere caricature of the once great fighter, he was punished by heavyweight champion Larry Holmes. Ali finally was convinced to retire but not before he had made his mark on the world of sport – as The Greatest. Ali’s career professional record was 56 wins, 37 by knockout, and 5 losses. Later in life, he developed post-traumatic Parkinsonism and now walks and speaks very slowly. In 1996 at Atlanta, he was honored, and honored us all, by lighting the Olympic Flame at the Opening Ceremony.
|1960 Summer||18||Roma||Boxing||Men's Light-Heavyweight||United States||USA||1||Gold|
|1960 Summer||18||Roma||Boxing||United States||USA||Final Round||Match 1/2||1||1960-09-05||Clay (USA) , Pietrzykowski (POL)||decision||5||59||59||60||59||60||297|
|1960 Summer||18||Roma||Boxing||United States||USA||Semi-Finals||Match #1||1||1960-09-03||Clay (USA) , Madigan (AUS)||decision||5||60||60||59||60||60||299|
|1960 Summer||18||Roma||Boxing||United States||USA||Quarter-Finals||Match #1||1||1960-09-01||Clay (USA) , Shatkov (URS)||decision||5||60||59||60||60||60||299|
|1960 Summer||18||Roma||Boxing||United States||USA||Round Two||Match #2||1||1960-08-30||Clay (USA) , Becot (BEL)||referee stops contest||2||2:55|
|1960 Summer||18||Roma||Boxing||United States||USA||Round One||Match #3||1||1960-08-26||Clay (USA)||bye|