One of the greatest boxers, if not the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali unfortunately passed away last week, June 3, 2016. He was a major inspiration to many people all around the world, whether it be inside the ring or on the outside. Muhammad Ali was known for winning major titles like being the only boxer to win the world heavyweight championship three times.
But what many people overlook was his ability to inspire people and stand up for what he believed in. In the past week, countless athletes have publicly stated that Muhammad Ali inspired them to become the people they are today. For many, Ali was the only inspiration they had. All of Ali’s quotes were always there for words of wisdom. Quotes like, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'” helped push people, athletes or not to conquer whatever it may be that stands in their path. Ali was an inspiration to all of us and we can all take a page out of his book.
With the recent passing of Ali, the world mourned. There are many things that are obvious about Ali. We all know he was he was a great boxer, we all know he was a three-time heavyweight champion of the world, but there are many things about Ali’s life that may surprise you.
10. Gloves Worth More Than a Boxing Match
Muhammad Ali’s first world heavyweight championship came when he defeated Sonny Liston, the defending Heavyweight champion. It was a seven round bout and ended in a technical knockout when Muhammad Ali hit him with a “phantom punch.” As most people know, boxing matches bring in a lot of money, especially in today’s world with the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. The boxing match between Liston and Ali brought in about $630,000, however, about 50 days after the match, an anonymous buyer purchased Muhammad Ali’s gloves for an astounding amount of $836,000.
9. Where’s His Olympic Gold Medal?
Ali started becoming famous at a really young age, 18 to be exact, after he graduated from high school. After his graduation, he traveled to Rome to win a gold medal at the Olympics. In his autobiography in 1975, he claimed that he had thrown his medal into the Ohio River because of the racism he encountered in his hometown and he wanted to protest against it. Of course, throwing a gold medal away wasn’t the best in his interest. Luckily for him, he got a replacement medal in 1996 at the Olympics. He had the honor of lighting the cauldron at the Opening Ceremonies.
8. A Famous Fight at 4 A.M.
Muhammad Ali is always looking to win titles. In 1975, he had the chance to regain the heavyweight title from defending champion, George Foreman. Mobutu Sese Seko, dictatorial president of Zaire paid both fighters, Ali and Foreman $5 million to fight in Mobutu’s home country, Kinshasa. In order for Ali and Foremna’s fellow Americans to watch the fight in primetime, they would have to fight in the early hours in Africa. Known as the “Rumble in the Jungle,” Ali had defeated Foreman in seven rounds and had reclaimed his heavyweight title after he was stripped from it seven years prior.
7. No Boxing For Four Years
Muhammad Ali was winning titles and he was living his life. During his time, he lived during the Vietnamese War. Of course, America was drafting young Americans to fight in the war. Ali was one of them, however, Ali had a major career in boxing and he had refused to go to war. By refusing, he had his boxing licenses stripped away from him during his prime. Ali was not boxing through the age of 25 to 29, and this had a major affect on him and how he was seen by the people of America.
6. Broadway Musicals
Muhammad Ali was banned from boxing for four years, as previously mentioned. Of course, he was looking to do other things. He didn’t have the luxury to be silent in the media so he needed to put himself out there, a way other than boxing. A Broadway musical lured him in and he went for it. The musical Buck White starred himself and was about a black militant addressing a black power political group. The show ran for one week and he seemed very pleased with what he had done because he could now add one more thing to his resume if he ever needed one.
5. Fight With Antonio Inoki
Ali is always into a good match against famous boxers. When Muhammad Ali was 34 years old, he was offered to fight Antonio Inoki in Japan. Ali was a professional boxer and Inoki caught him by surprise. Inoki was a professional in boxing and a mixed martial artist. The fight ended bad for Muhammad Ali when he was being kicked for 15 minutes. It ended in a draw, but there were rumors that he may have had his leg amputated.
4. Talks With Saddam Hussein
Muhammad Ali was a great figure outside of the ring. He was involved in many things and was always on the news whether it be for winning a fight or doing something for the community or even for the country. In 1990, when Ali was 48, he had a serious case of Parkinson’s disease. He went to Iraq to attempt to free 15 U.S. hostages. Later, he had a negotiation with Saddam Hussein,the president of Iraq to talk about these hostages. He made an agreement and the next thing you know, the 15 U.S. hostages were on a plane back to the United States.
3. Talked Down Suicide Jumper
If you are looking for a man to look up to, it should be Muhammad Ali. He was a courageous man with a lot of success. In 1981, he was in California strolling around. When he looked up, he saw himself looking at a 21-year-old man threatening to jump and commit suicide. When he came to the realization of what was about to happen, he went over and talked to the man that needed help. He persuaded the man to come down and he basically saved his life. That is courageous.
2. Recording Music Albums
Ali, mostly known for his boxing and his skills inside the ring, had other plans when not boxing. He was most famous for his iambic pentameter. It was so popular that Columbia Records released a spoken word album called I Am The Greatest. In this album, Ali performed his poetry. He even had a song that he covered by the Ben E. King hit “Stand by Me.” Who knew Ali had a career in music?
1. A Bicycle Launched his Boxing Career
Ali’s birth name was Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. When Clay was 12 years old, he loved the bicycle he had. When it was stolen in 1954, he reported this robbery to a police officer in Louisville, Kentucky. Clay vowed to pummel the culprit. Joe Martin, the police officer, was also a boxing trainer and realized how mad Clay was about this incident. He promised Clay to start teaching him how to fight at a very young age. About six weeks later, Clay, or Muhammad Ali, won his first fight via a split decision.