Muhammad Ali, America’s professional boxer and ‘The Greatest’ of all time, died at 74 in Phoenix-area hospital, Arizona on Friday. Ali suffered with Parkinson’s disease for 32 years which slowly made his physical dexterity deteriorate. “After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening,” said Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman.
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, to middle-class parents, Ali started boxing when he was twelve and rose to enormous fame with a gold medal in 1960 Olympics in Rome.
Here we bring some of his knock-the-breath-out bouts of his career.
- 5th September, 1960: Won unanimously over Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland and bagged the Olympics light-heavyweight gold medal.
2. 25th February, 1964: Won heavyweight title at 24 by beating Sonny Liston with a 19-0 record.
3. 8th March, 1971: Ali faced Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century”. He started of strong but Frazier dominated the 15-round fight and won unanimously.
4. 30th October, 1974: Ali faced the younger and fearsome Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” with his strategic ‘rope-a-dope’ technique and knocked him out though entering as a decided underdog. This made him reclaim the major boxing championships.
5. 1st October, 1978: In a rematch with Frazier, called the “Thrilla in the Manilla”, Ali knocked him out and the temperature being approached 100 degrees, Ali described the fight as the closest he had come to death.
Ali battled his final fight on 11th December, 1981. Considering all his fighting glory and legendary verbal grace, Ali’s death is definitely an irreplaceable loss to the boxing world.