Muhammad Ali Passes Away
The former world heavyweight boxing champion, one of the world’s best-known sportsmen, died at a hospital in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, after being admitted on Thursday.
The funeral will take place in Ali’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, his family said in a statement.
He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, on 17 January 1942, the son of a sign painter. He was named after a prominent 19th Century abolitionist.
In 1960 he was selected in the US team for the Rome Olympics. On 5 September 1960, he beat Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzykowski to become the Olympic light-heavyweight champion.
He began his professional career later the same year with a six-round points win over Tunney Hunsaker, a police chief from West Virginia.
The following year he beat Sony Liston forcing him to quit in the sixth round.
The heavyweight champion of the world became Muhammad Ali.
After eight title defences Ali was stripped of his title for refusing to go to the Vietnam War.
Ali returned to the ring in 1970.
in 1971 he was beaten for the first time in his professional career by Joe Frazier. Ali would win the rematch a few years later.
In October 1974 when he defeated George Foreman in Zaire in the so-called Rumble in the Jungle.
At the age of 32, Ali had become only the second man in history to regain the heavyweight championship of the world.
A year later, Ali met Frazier for a third time in the so-called Thrilla in Manila.
He was victorious when Frazier’s corner halted the fight after 14 rounds.
Las Vegas in February 1978, he lost his title to Leon Spinks.
In the he return fight in New Orleans eight months later Ali took a unanimous decision and won the world title for a third time at age 36.
Ali he lost his title for the last time to Larry Holmes in Las Vegas in 1980.
Ali had one more fight, against Canadian Trevor Berbick in December 1981, and after losing on points he finally retired from the ring, at the age of 40.
He was eventually diagnosed,with Parkinson’s disease.
Ali Received several prestigious honours over the years : Lit the Olympic Tourch at the 1996 Atlanta Games; He was voted Sports Personality of the Century, in Britain and by Sports Illustrated in the US; In 2005, Ali received America’s two highest civilian awards – the Presidential Citizens Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom;
Ali’s professional career was impressiveover 21 years, during which he won 56 fights, 37 by knockout, and lost five.
Ali remained for 50 years one of the most recognizable people on the planet.
Ali biographer, Dave Kindred, wrote, “We forgive Muhammad Ali his excesses, because we see in him the child in us, and if he is foolish or cruel, if he is arrogant, if he is outrageously in love with his reflection, we forgive him because we no more can condemn him than condemn a rainbow for dissolving into the dark. Rainbows are born of thunderstorms, and Muhammad Ali is both.”