Muhammad Ali is one of the most recognized faces on planet Earth; known not just for being one of the best fighters in the history of boxing, but for being one of the most knowledgeable persons of the twentieth century. Ali wasn't always known by that name though, he was born Cassius Marcellus Clay on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, him and his younger brother Rudolph had many small conflicts like any brothers would have, but they were, and still are blessed with having a very close relationship (Hauser, 2). Twelve-year-old Cassius was turned on to boxing after his brand-new bike was stolen at an annual Black fair called The Louisville Home Show (Jet). Joe Martin, a policeman who taught young kids how to box, was in a basement by the fair and after Cassius complained to him that he was going to "whup the person who stole his prized red-and-white Schwinn"(Jet). Officer Martin decided to push the frustrated youngster towards boxing. Six weeks later Cassius would win a three-minute, three-round split decision in his very first match (Hauser 7). Clay became more committed to boxing, fighting 108 amateur bouts, winning six Kentucky Golden Gloves Championships, two National Golden Gloves tournaments, and two National AAU titles (Ebony). Then the 1960 Rome Olympics came; a hesitant Cassius was afraid to travel over there in an airplane, but he eventually gave in and went, returning to America as a gold medal winner. Clay then came out with his very first published poem. After winning the gold medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics, eighteen-year-old Cassius Clay was ready to turn pro. He still kept Fred Stoner, the man who trained him as an amateur as trainer, but after his first win against an overmatched part-time fighter named Tunney Hunsaker, Clay switched to the late Archie Moore, who was still an active fighter (Tyers,15). They had a falling out though and Clay ended up meeting the popular Angelo Dundee. Eight days after the two began training with each other, Clay knocked out Herb Siler in the fourth round (Tyers,15). Clay fought many successful bouts after that; he began to do what no boxer has ever done in the history of the sport: predicting the round in which he would win. Although he was knocked down a couple of times against Sonny Banks and Henry Cooper, the up-and-coming boxer was too quick and smart for any opponent. He even knocked out his former trainer Archie Moore in four rounds. Next up was Sonny Liston, the World Champ who was then the equivalent to Mike Tyson in the late '80s (Jet). Clay began to tease Liston, making fun of his looks and even predicting that he would demolish the champ in eight rounds. Very few believed that Clay had a chance; Liston thought nothing of the loudmouth youngster and trained for a quick two-round fight (Jet). Liston did not know that he was to face an opponent who was too fast and untouchable for him. After fighting a fierce puncher while being temporarily blinded in the fifth round, Clay would use his quick fists to annoy the champ so bad that he refused to come out of the corner for the seventh round. Clay shook up the world and became the new World Heavyweight Champion, but he would shake up the world again two days later after announcing that he had joined the Nation Of Islam, becoming Muhammad Ali (Jet). The year of '64 was a big year for Muhammad Ali; after becoming World Champ and changing his religion and name, he was quickly becoming the most identifiable and the most outspoken athlete in the world (Hauser, 20). Muhammad was seen a lot in public with the well-known leader Malcolm X, and many Americans wondered why a "good boy" would stoop so low. They continued to call him Cassius Clay and rooted for him to lose in upcoming matches, but Ali continued to be unstoppable in the ring. In the summer of that same year, Ali married the beautiful Sonji Roi, a cocktail waitress and model, but Sonji's conflict with him being extremely loyal with the Nation Of Islam caused...
Cited: Hauser, Thomas. Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times. New York, NY,
Bantam Books, 1991
Tyers, Kathy. Muhammad Ali: The Greatest. San Mateo, Ca, IDG Books World
Muhammad Ali Definition of a champ
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