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Muhammed Ali: The Greatest (Part I)

Muhammed Ali is considered by many to be the greatest single athlete of the 20th century.

Muhammed Ali, born Marcellus Cassius Clay Jr., was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Many of the heavyweight champions mentioned have been widely considered among the greatest. Muhammed Ali is considered, without much thought, the greatest among these. Hence his nicknamed “the greatest” is well-earned. Ali was voted by Sports Illustrated as “Sportsman of the Century.”

Ali was voted “Sportsman of the 20th Century” by Sports illustrated.
Clay had an amateur boxing record of 100-5.
Clay used psychological battle against his opponents.

For a boy who began learning to box at 12, Ali has led a long and sometimes arduous life which led him from the obscurity of Louisville to the forefront of International society. His personality, controversial and at times flamboyant, drew all to him from everywhere. Even until this very day, whatever Ali tends to say not only is echoed in the media but in US gambling news as well.

Cassius Clay’s Early Years

Young Cassius Clay grew up in Louisville, Kentucky in a family of seven. The now classic encounter of Ali entrance into boxing involves Clay ranting to a police officer about a stolen bicycle. Officer Joe E. Martin heard Clay complaining about “whupping” the guy who stole his bicycle when he found him. Upon hearing this, Officer Martin, who was also a boxing coach, told Clay he better learn how to box first.

The last few years of Clay’s amateur career was overseen by cutman Chuck Bodak who was Clay’s boxing coach. Clay successfully won 6 Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, 2 National Golden Gloves titles and an Amateur Athletic Union National Title. The World became aware of Cassius Clay’s skill once we earned the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Clay ended is amateur status with 100 wins and 5 losses.

Muhammed Ali

(Photo: DailyMail)


Making his professional debut in 1960, Clay won a six-round bout over Tunney Hunsaker by decision. In three-years-time, Clay had a record of 19 wins and 0 losses. Two of those fighters knocked Clay down and 4 fights were won by decision. Punters, involved in online sports betting, would have had to be weary betting at this time. Several of Clay’s bouts had the odds against him which infuriated crowds when he won by decision.

The Style that would define Ali

These early professional matches were an outlet for Clay to hone in on his attitude that would predominantly become a forefront in Clay’s entire career. Clay took on a mental attack in which he would belittle his opponents vocally by “boasting” his skills, while belittling theirs. Clay would openly insult opponents targeting their skill level, ranking, physical beauty as well as their height.

Even as Muhammed Ali, Clay used hyped rhetoric and outlandish commentary to psychologically get into the heads of his opponents. This often stirred the masses so much they people would lose money betting on Clay’s opponents “just to shut Clay up and prove him wrong.” Opponents would already be partially defeated by the time they entered the ring with Ali.

Of course Clay’s boasting was insured by his incredible boxing abilities. Very unorthodox, Clay knew how to capitalize from his above average speed. Jim Jacobs, co-manager of Mike Tyson, used a synchronizer to measure Ali’s punching speed in comparison to Sugar Ray Robinson’s, the legendary middleweight. Even though he was nearly 50 pounds heavier, Ali’s punching speed was clocked to be 25% faster in Robinson’s

Ali’s climb to the title

By 1963, Clay finally had a shot at the World Heavyweight Title. His opponent was Sonny Liston, a boxer greatly feared in the sport. Liston not only had a criminal past, but was seen as a powerful heavyweight with a devastating punch. Since Clay’s last two bouts weren’t considered spectacular, he was registered as the 7-1 underdog in accordance to US gambling laws.

Clay went on a smear campaign of Liston that would harass him at every moment in preparation for their bout. Liston’s irritation of Clay combined with his pompous attitude, created a very large gate for this fight. In the midst of everyone’s disappointment, the World witnessed a new champion and precedent for the future of boxing. The bout started out in classic fashion with Liston rushing Clay.

Not losing any composure, Clay easily thwarted Liston’s attack and took advantage of his imbalance. While trying to hit him, Clay easily thwarted Liston’s attack and took advantage of his imbalance. Soon Liston would experience the first cut in his career as a boxer. Clay was momentarily blinded by one of Liston’s punches. Clay later believed it was from an illegal anti-coagulant used by Liston. Ali was able to recover.

In the next round, Clay dominated and controlled the fight at will. Liston’s refusal to leave his corner for the 7th round gave Clay the automatic technical knockout (TKO). Clay became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion at 22 years old. Upon winning, Clay shouted at the press saying “I shook up the World! I must be the greatest.” Shortly after the fight, Clay made the announcement that he had joined the Nation of Islam and he changed his name to Muhammed Ali.

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