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Muhammad Ali’s life is one of the most inspirational stories of modern times. He is a boxer, He is a poet and a true icon to the young generation. Like Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali’s fought bigotry and racism. Alongside, he also fought Sonny Liston, Groege Foreman and Frazier and has beaten all of them to a pulp. He is an Olympic gold medalist in boxing. After retirement, Muhammad Ali has been a figurehead for world peace, too- refused the draft to fight in Vietnam, and even negotiated with a dictator for the release of hostages.
Muhammad Ali is “The People’s Champion“. He turns 73 this year. We have made a list of top 10 interesting Muhammad Ali facts and you’ll see it’s no wonder he’s the best chat show guest anybody ever had.
Top 10 interesting Muhammad Ali facts:
Muhammad Ali facts No. 1: He became a boxer because his bike was stolen
It was a 1954 story. His bike was nicked from outside the Columbia Auditorium. Muhammad Ali got furious and found a policeman and told him he wanted to “whup” whoever the thief was. As a matter of fact, the Policeman, Joe Martin was a boxing trainer. He took young Cassius Clay under his wing.
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Muhammad Ali facts No.2: Muhammad Ali practiced his speed by dodging rocks
It sounds crazy enough but it’s true. He used to ask his fella to throw rocks at him. The crazy Muhammad Ali dodged every single rocks threw at him. His younger brother, Rudy, the rock thrower said,
“No matter how many I threw, I could never hit him.”
Muhammad Ali facts No. 3: Muhammad Ali punched a cop in his first bout
It was on 29 October 1960, when Muhammad Ali won his first professional fight by defeating Tunney Hunsaker. Hunsaker was also a Chief of Police from West Virginia. It was an incredible match and Muhammad Ali won a unanimous decision after six rounds of play.
Muhammad Ali facts No. 4: Muhammad Ali was a singer and an actor and a poet, too
You know him better as a boxer, but he is a singer, an actor and a poet too. In 1963, Muhammad Ali released an album, “I AM The Greatest“, just six months before he defeated Sonny Liston to claim the World Heavyweight Title for the first time in his boxing career. His album included a cover of Ben E. King’s famous song “Stand by me” and it was sung all by himself. As an actor, Muhammad Ali also starred in titled Buck White and Broadway musical, which was closed after 5 nights.
Muhammad Ali facts No. 5: Muhammad Ali was scared of flying
The incident took place in 1960 Rome Olympics when Muhammad Ali flew to Europe. He was so scared on the air that he insisted on wearing a parachute in the plane. The journey by air was not wasted at all- Ali boxed his way to a Light-heavyweight Gold medal.
Muhammad Ali Facts No. 6: The Olympic Gold did not transcend racism back home
Muhammad Ali entered a diner at Kentucky with the Gold medal proudly wearing around his neck. The waitress told him, “Sorry, we don’t serve Negroes“. Muhammad Ali retorted “Well that’s okay- don’t eat ’em either.” This indicated that the racism was so cruel that time in the American society.
Muhammad Ali facts No. 7: He was expected to lose his first world-title fight
It seemed to be a huge upset when Muhammad Ali defeated Sonny Liston in February, 1964. It was Sonny Liston, who had just destroyed former champion Floyd Patterson in a first-round knockout. Ali was then only 22-year-lad and a 7-1 underdog. As a matter of fact, Muhammad Ali won and the rest remains as a history.
Muhammad Ali facts No. 8: He was an Irish!
Muhammad Ali’s great-grandfather was an Irish by name of Abe Grady. He was immigrated to Kentucky, United States in the mid-1800s. Here he married a freed slave- Odessa Lee Grandy Clay. As soon as Cassius (Mohammad Ali) defeated Sonny Liston in 1964, he publicly thrown off the slave name “clay“. Then, Cassius was allocated the name Muhammad Ali as a follower of Islam by the movement leader, Elijah Muhammad.
Mohammad Ali facts No. 9: Frank Sinatra had to work his ass off to watch Ali’s comeback
Muhammad Ali was suspended for three and a half years for refusing the draft to fight in Vietnam and the fight was against Joe Frazier in 1971. His comeback fight was dubbed ‘The Fight of the Century’. Demand of the ticket for that match was so high that Frank Sinatra could not get inside as a photographer of Life magazine. The cover photo Sinatra took for this match wasn’t bad after all.
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Muhammad Ali facts No. 10: Ali once convinced Saddam Hossein to free 15 innocent hostages:
When Iraqi dictator Saddam Hossein invaded Kuwait in 1990, he kept 2,000 foreigners as hostages. Muhammad Ali flew to Baghdad to meet the Iraqi leader with a hope that his status as the world’s most famous Muslim might help him to negotiate. It took 50 minutes to get released 15 captive Americans.