Muhammad Ali Essay, Research Paper
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. is better known as Muhammad Ali. He was born on
January 17,1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. His father s name was Cassius Clay, Sr. His
mother s name was Odessa Grady Clay. Cassius s father made his living as a painter.
Cassius got his first bike at age 12 but it was stolen after two days. He went to report it to
a police officer. The police officer he came upon was Joe Martin, an Irish-American who
owned an amateur boxing gym. He persuaded Cassius to learn boxing. That was the start
of his career. Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay, Jr.) is known as the greatest boxer of all time.
It didn t take long before Cassius was completely dedicated to boxing. Cassius was
now going to pursue his career. At the age of 16 Cassius won the Louisville Golden Glove
light heavyweight title. Then he won the Amateur Athletic Union (AUU) title in 1960 and
went on to represent the United States in the Rome Olympics. There he beat his opponent
Zibigniew Pietryzkowaski to win the gold medal. After this Cassius decided to become a
professional boxer. A group of businessmen formed a syndicate to sponsor him. On Oct-
ober 29,1960 Cassius became professional.
Cassius was starting to emerge as a champion. His first title shot was against
Sonny Liston, a big man who would give Mike Tyson a good run for his money. Cassius
was known for his mouth. He badmouthed all his opponents, his mouth had gotten him a
lot of key matches in his life. Before the match started Cassius said to Sonny I ve got you
now, sucker and he did get him. He beat Sonny in the 7th round. There was a rematch
held between Sonny & Cassius. This time Cassius knocked Sonny out in the 1st round. He
knocked him out with the infamous phantom punch. The punch was so fast the cameras
almost missed it.
After the match Cassius gave the news that he had converted to Islam. Before this
Cassius was baptized Catholic. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He became fri-
ends with Malcom X and Elijah Muhammad. Malcom went to all of Ali s matches. When
Malcom X was assassinated it hit Ali very hard. He was depressed and scared for his own
The biggest challenge was when he got drafted for the U.S. army. Ali refused to
go on the beliefs of the Islamic religion. The army still wanted him to go to the Vietnam
war. They put him on trial and if he was convicted he would get 9 years sentence in jail.
Ali s lawyers managed to get the sentences up to 5 years. Ali then came back in 1970,but
he didn t have the license to fight and his belt was striped from him.
Ali finally got his license back in some states and then the whole U.S. Ali now
wanted to get his belt back. The man who had his belt was Joe Franzier. The match
between them was called The fight of the century . Franzier beat him in the 15th round.
They had a rematch after Franzier lost the title to George Foreman, this time Ali beats
Franzier in th12th round. Ali goes on to beat George Foreman to regain his title.
Later in his career Ali began suffering the symptoms of the Parkinson s disease. It
affected his speech and movement. He got the honor of lighting the Olympic torch in the
1996 Olympics. He even went to Iraq to help free the 12 hostages being held by Saddam
Hussein. I consider Muhammad Ali a hero and a great boxer.
Muhammad Ali ,The People s Champion
New York, Chelsa House Publishers,1994
Muhammad Ali lights Olympic torch
Knight Ridder, July 20,1996
The real story
July 15,1996 Sports Illustrated