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U.S.LIFE > People > Biographies of Famous Americans > Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali, the former heavyweight-boxing champ, is called 'The greatest fighter in the 20th century.' However, we may not need to invent any other descriptions for his achievements which had been already elaborated too much by Ali himself.

His famous expression is to "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." It is true that the graceful footwork and the lightening punch made him the first boxer to win the world heavyweight championship title three different times.

Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1942. His original name was Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. He changed his name after he converted to Islam in 1964. According to his religious belief , Ali refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army in the middle of the Vietnam War in 1967, which caused a serious controversy across the country. He was convicted, which resulted in the deprivation of his first championship. His boycott has been remembered as one of the most prominent conscientious objections against the war.

He came back to the ring in 1971 for the highly promoted bout with Joe Frazier as "The Fight of the Century" but he lost the 15-round fight. His challenges continued to fight against George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974. The bout was called "The Rumble in the Jungle." At this bout, Ali performed the surprised but famous 'Rope-A-Dope' strategy to tire out Foreman, who was knocked out in the eighth round.

Next year Ali met Foreman again in Manila, Philippines to protect his championship. He defended his title in this brutal 15-round battle called "The Thrilla in Manila." In February 1978, Ali lost his second championship to a young and strong boxer, Leon Spinks in Las Vegas, Nevada. seven months later the two fighters had a rematch in New Orleans, Louisiana and Ali regained the title. It was the record that a boxer gained three-time world heavyweight-boxing champion. In 1981, he was stopped by Larry Holmes, a former sparring partner.

His boxing record was 108 wins and 8 losses in his amateur competition including the Olympic gold medal in Rome, 1960 and 56 wins (37 knockouts) and 5 losses as a professional boxer until he retired in 1981.

Now, in spite of suffering from Parkinsons' Disease, Muhammad Ali is devoting his life to activities for charity organizations. He is especially active for Jubilee 2000, the organization that campaigns for the cancellation of Third World debt. During the Gulf war in 1991, he met with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to negotiate the release of American hostages in Baghdad. In 1996, he came to the Olympic game in Atlanta, Georgia. He suddenly appeared above the rim Olympic Stadium at the most dramatic moment at the Olympic Ceremony. He lit the torch and moved people to tears.

This information was provided courtesy of Heroism Project from Maiden Voyage Products.


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