Diamonds lasts forever but unfortunately, it doesn’t apply for human beings.The world was rocked with the news of a legend, an icon, an epitome of greatness that the world might never get to see anyone close to his legendary status.The legendary boxer, who passed away at the age of 74, has left behind him plenty of memories which his fan will cherish forever.His death was a massive loss not just to the boxing world but to the world in general.Everyone has paid tribute to his legendary status from the USA president Barack Obama to former rival George Foreman to Lebron James, etc. Therefore, here are 10 interesting facts about Muhammad Ali.
1. He was originally named in honor of a white abolitionist.
The fighter, like his father, was named for Cassius Marcellus Clay, a 19th-century farmer and anti-slavery crusader who emancipated the 40 slaves he inherited from his father. The abolitionist, a second cousin of Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, edited an anti-slavery newspaper, commanded troops in the Mexican-American War and served as minister to Russia under President Abraham Lincoln. In defying Southern conventions of the time, Clay faced more than death threats. He was beaten, stabbed and shot by political opponents but lived to the age of 92.
2. He fought one of his most famous bouts at 4 a.m.
In 1974, a 32-year-old Ali earned a title shot against undefeated 25-year-old champion George Foreman. Seeking to generate positive publicity for his country, Zaire’s dictatorial president Mobutu Sese Seko paid each fighter $5 million to stage the fight in his capital city of Kinshasa. In order for American audiences to watch the fight live in prime time, the bout began in the early morning hours before the sun dawned on Africa. In what was dubbed the “Rumble in the Jungle,” Ali won in an eight-round knockout to regain the heavyweight title that had been stripped from him seven years prior.
3. He had an album.
The loquacious Ali was boxing’s poet laureate, composing verses in which he taunted opponents and praised himself. His iambic pentameter was so popular that Columbia Records released a 1963 spoken word album called “I Am the Greatest” in which the 21-year-old rising star performed his poetry, backed my musical accompaniment, before an audience. The album also included two songs by the boxer, including a cover of the Ben E. King hit “Stand by Me.”
4. Ali refused to Join The U.S Army
As the Vietnam War raged in 1967, Ali refused to serve in the U.S. military for religious reasons. The heavyweight champion was arrested, and the New York State Athletic Commission immediately suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. Ali was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison and fined $10,000, although he remained free while the conviction was appealed. In 1970 the New York State Supreme Court ordered his boxing license reinstated, and he returned to the ring by knocking out Jerry Quarry in October 1970. The following year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali’s conviction in a unanimous decision.
5. Before becoming known as Muhammad Ali, he changed his name to Cassius X.
The morning after defeating Liston, the new heavyweight champion confirmed reports that he had become a member of the Nation of Islam. With Malcolm X at his side, the champ told reporters that he had renounced his surname, which he called his “slave name,” and would be known as “Cassius X” until Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad gave him a holy name. That name, Muhammad Ali, was bestowed on March 6, 1964.
6. His first Professional bout Was Against Tunney Hunsaker
His first professional fight was a six-round decision in 1960 over Tunney Hunsaker, whose day job was police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia. Ali and Hunsaker became friends and Ali wrote in an autobiography that one of the hardest body blows he ever received came from Hunsaker.
7. He had an awesome Fighting Record
In his six-year amateur career — which began at the age of 12 in 1954 and ended after his Olympics win — his record was 100-5. He was 19-0 while competing as a pro under the name Cassius Clay. Above, Clay is shown in his professional boxing debut against Tunney Hunsaker on Oct. 29, 1960, in Louisville.
8. He also ventured into Wrestling
In addition to boxing, Ali also had a lifelong connection to pro wrestling. Ali made an appearance at the WWF’s inaugural WrestleMania in Madison Square Garden in 1985 as a special guest referee. His biographer Thomas Houser wrote that Ali was first struck by the power of talking up a good fight when he met iconic wrestling bad guy Gorgeous George in 1961. In 1976, Ali famously took on Japanese pro wrestling legend Antonio Inoki in a 15-round closed-circuit television spectacle, shown above, in Tokyo.
9. He was very poor in Education
His amateur boxing career made concentrating on school difficult. The only classes Clay passed with satisfactory grades were art and gym, and he graduated from high school 376th out of a class of 391 students, having to repeat the 10th grade in the process. This explains one of his famous quotes: “I said I was the greatest, not the smartest!”
10. He Married Four Times And Had Nine Children
Ali, who called himself “The Greatest,” was married four times and had nine children, including daughter Laila, who also became a professional boxer. Ali and his fourth wife, Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams, had been married since 1986.