The champion, the phenomenon, the legend of boxing, Muhammad Ali breathed his last yesterday. Ali had been struggling with Parkinson’s disease for over thirty years. He was rushed to the hospital after he had problem breathing. Ali’s passing delivered a huge blow to boxing fans and the world at large.
Muhammad Ali went down as the greatest boxer of all time. A 3-time world boxing heavyweight champion, he was a man who was ahead of his time and in his prime, his aura and fighting were purely divine.
Here are some facts about the late champion that you probably weren’t aware of. Ali was a notorious champion and these facts corroborate this:
1. Ali married four times
A person with a not-so-winning personal life, Ali entered into three marriages between 1964-1977. He had 9 children from six women, of which he was married to four. He married his widow Yolonda Williams in 1986.
2. Ali has only been beaten by 5 boxers
Starting with the first from left to right, Larry Holmes, Ken Norton, Joe Frazier, Leon Spinks Leone and Trevor Berbick. These are the only people in the whole world who were able to get the better of the legendary Ali. Ali fought over 500 rounds and only lost five bouts in his career.While he was surely a force to be reckoned, he lost most of these via decision and only got knocked out by Holmes, a match where Ali was way past his prime.
3. Star of Hollywood
The true respect that the world had for the greatest boxer of all time can be seen in the above photo. Ali is the only celebrity whose star is on the wall instead being placed on the walkway like the rest of the people.
4. Ali Vs Superman
Ali was featured in a Superman comic book where he was pitched against the Man of Steel and guess what? Ali totally floored Superman. The catch here was, Superman was exposed to Kryptonite before the match which brought him at par with Ali. The idea was to see how Superman would fare without his powers and Ali emerged the winner.
5. Banned from boxing
When fighters hit their prime they go on to achieve such accomplishments that register them as the greatest of all times. Not in case of Ali, who was banned for 3 years from boxing and was also stripped off his world title- all because he refused to be inducted in the military forces.
6. India cheered for Ali
It was in January 1980 that Ali came to India to fight former heavyweight champion Jimmy Ellis. The bout may have been held in a neutral zone but to Ali it surely felt like a home in India. The bout was set to take place in Chennai’s Nehru stadium. The whole of Madras cheered for the legend in this match.
7. Ali’s Olympic Gold rests in the Ohio river
Ali won the gold medal in light heavyweight boxing division in the 1960 Olympics at Rome. He made his country and people happy by accomplishing such a feat, but the champ did not receive a champion’s welcome. In those days racism was still prevalent. When Ali visited a restaurant for lunch, people refused to serve him, all because of his skin colour. This infuriated Ali and angrier than ever he threw his medal which he had on him, down to the bed of Ohio river.