Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr was born on January 17, 1942 in Louisville Kentucky. He was born into a middle class black family. He didn’t have what some would call a rough child hood. He began boxing at the age of twelve. When Cassius was 12 years old, he and a friend went to the Columbia Auditorium to partake in the free hot dogs and popcorn available for visitors of the Louisville Home Show. When the boys were done eating, they went back to get their bicycles only to discover that Cassius’ had been stolen. Furious, he went back into the auditorium to find a police man. He found police officer Joe Martin, a trainer at a Louisville gym. When Muhammad Ali said he wanted to beat up the person who stole his bike, Martin told him that he should probably learn to fight first. A few days later, Muhammad Ali began boxing training at Martin's gym. They started Ali working out in Louisville's Columbia Gym, where Ali met Fred Stoner who taught Ali the science of boxing. Stoner taught him to move with the grace of a dancer and impressed upon him the subtle skills necessary to move beyond good and into the realm of great. Ali had a highly unorthodox style for a heavyweight boxer. Rather than the normal boxing style of carrying the hands high to defend the face, he instead relied on his ability to avoid a punch. Bobbing and weaving, floating across the boxing rink. Striking when the moment was right.
In 1960, the Olympic Games were held in Rome. Cassius Clay, at 18 years old, had already won national tournaments such as the Golden Gloves and so he felt ready to compete in the Olympics. On September 5, 1960, Cassius fought against Zbigniew Pietrzyskowski from Poland in the light-heavyweight championship bout. In a unanimous decision, the judges declared Ali the winner, which meant Ali had won the Olympic gold medal. Having won the Olympic gold medal, Muhammad Ali had attained the top position in amateur boxing. It was time for him to turn professional.
After winning an...
Cited: "Muhammad Ali." Contemporary Black Biography. Vol. 52. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Biography in Context. Web. 8 Feb. 2014.
Michael Ezra, “The making of an icon” Temple University press 2009 Print
Schulberg, Budd, “Loser and Still a Champion: Muhammad Ali” Double Day, 1972 Print
Please join StudyMode to read the full document