Muhammad Ali The Superman
Muhammad Ali, "Cassius Marcellus Clay", was born in Louisville, Kentucky on January 17, 1942. He was named for a white, Kentucky abolitionist, Cassius M. Clay, and received the name Marcellus from his father’s name. Ali’s father, Marcellus Clay was a mural painter who did a lot of work for many churches in the community and his mother Odessa (Grady) Clay was a domestic worker. As a young boy, Cassius Clay was full of energy and carried a loud mouth wherever he went. One day when Ali discovered that someone stole his bicycle, he became enraged and made loud threatening comments by exclaiming that he would “whup whoever stole it.” Upon hearing these threats, Louisville police officer Joe Martin persuaded Ali to take out his frustration in the boxing ring rather than on the dangerous streets of Louisville. At age 12, Ali’s boxing career had officially begun. Martin started Ali working out in Louisville’s Columbia Gym, and Ali became passionately devoted to the sport. With the help of a black trainer named Fred Stoner, who taught Ali the techniques of boxing and to move with the grace of a dancer, Ali became a very skilled and deadly competitor. Between 1955 and 1960, Ali had participated in 108 bouts, in which he won six Kentucky Golden Glove titles, two National Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championships, two National Golden Glove crowns, and received the Gold Medal in the light heavyweight division in the 1960 Summer Olympics held in Rome, Italy. Ali was only 18 years old when he won the Olympic Gold Medal by defeating Zbigniew Pietrzykowski, a tough fighter from Poland. Shortly after winning the Gold Medal, Ali started looking for better opportunities by saying, “that was my last amateur fight, I’m turning pro, but I don’t know exactly how. I want a good contract with a good manager.” Ali felt that he was on top of the world after winning in the Olympics and felt confident that people of the U.S. would be proud of his accomplishment...
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