The life and times of Muhammad Ali, ‘The Greatest’

June 4, 2016 - garden totes


Odessa Clay gives birth to her initial child Jan. 17 in Louisville. She and her husband, a pointer painter and church muralist, name a child Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.


Odessa gives birth to Cassius’ usually sibling, Rudy.


Twelve-year-old Cassius rides his new bike to a Louisville Service Club’s convention, where children can get giveaway ice cream and balloons. There, a boy’s bike is stolen. He vows to whip a burglar if he finds him. He does find a policeman, Joe Martin, who teaches fighting in a Columbia Gym, in a Service Club basement. Martin says Cassius should learn to argue before he does any whipping. Six weeks later, a 89-pound youngster wins his initial fight, over Ronnie O’Keefe.


Clay becomes a initial Louisvillian to win a pretension in a Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions in Chicago. He also wins a inhabitant Amateur Athletic Union light-heavyweight pretension — a attainment he will repeat a following year.


Clay graduates from Louisville Central High School.

Clay defeats Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland on Sept. 5 to win a light-heavyweight fighting bullion award during a Olympics in Rome.

Clay signs a veteran agreement with 11 Louisville businessmen led by distillery executive William Faversham. The Louisville Sponsoring Group pays him a $10,000 signing bonus. He buys a pinkish Cadillac for his parents.

On Oct. 29, Clay creates his pro debut, scoring a six-round preference over West Virginia lawman Tunney Hunsaker in Freedom Hall. Clay’s sponsors send Clay to San Diego to sight underneath mythological warrior Archie Moore. Moore complains: “My mom is crazy about him, my kids are crazy about him, and I’m crazy about him, though he won’t do what we tell him to.” Clay says he wants to argue like Sugar Ray Robinson, not Moore.

By year’s end, 37-year-old Angelo Dundee becomes Clay’s trainer, commencement a spectacularly prolific relationship. Clay arrives in Miami in Dec to work with Dundee, who doesn’t try to change a immature fighter’s unorthodox, upright, hands-low style.


Clay visits a mosque in Miami and after declares a knowledge “the initial time in my life that we felt truly spiritual.”

For his sixth pro fight, opposite Lamar Clark on Apr 19, Clay predicts — for a initial time — a turn in that he will better an opponent. He fulfills his guarantee that “This Clark will tumble in two.”


Clay hears Elijah Muhammad pronounce for a initial time. He meets another Nation of Islam leader, Malcolm X, who becomes a crony and adviser.

On Mar 9, a troops breeze house classifies Clay 1-A, definition he is fit and accessible to be called into a U.S. Army.

On Nov. 15, Clay meets his earlier trainer, 47-year-old Archie Moore, in Los Angeles, and knocks him out in a fourth round.


Clay appears on a cover of Sports Illustrated for a initial time, a Jun 10 issue, advancing his argue opposite Henry Cooper in London. He will eventually seem on a magazine’s cover 35 times, second usually to Michael Jordan.


Because of a low measure on a Army comprehension test, Clay is reclassified 1-Y, not competent for troops service, in January. “I pronounced we was ‘The Greatest,’ ” he explains. “I never pronounced we was a smartest.”

Clay scores a overwhelming seventh-round better over 7-1 favorite Sonny Liston on Feb. 25 during a Miami Convention Center, winning a universe heavyweight championship during age 22. His desperate sponsors destroy to devise a feat celebration. By a time they can arrange one, Clay is in Malcolm X’s hotel room, eating ice cream and chatting with football actor Jim Brown.

In response to a reporter’s doubt a day after a fight, Clay confirms he is a member of a Nation of Islam, saying: “I trust in Allah and in peace. … I’m not a Christian anymore. … I’m giveaway to be whatever we want. … Followers of Allah are a sweetest people in a world. They don’t receptacle weapons. They urge 5 times a day.”

Casting off his “slave name,” Clay adopts a proxy name Cassius X. On Mar 6 he announces that Elijah has bestowed him a name Muhammad Ali. The name means “Praiseworthy One.”

In July, Ali has his initial date with Sonji Roy, a fund-raiser for a Nation of Islam. Before a date is over, he proposes. They are married Aug. 14.

A difference grows between Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. Ali sides with Elijah, causing grief for Malcolm.


Ali knocks out Liston in a initial turn of their rematch, before usually 4,280 fans in Lewiston, Maine. Liston falls underneath a “phantom” punch that apparently few people saw, giving arise to suspicions that he threw a fight. Former champion Joe Louis eventually declares Ali “unfit” to reason a title.

In October, former champion Floyd Patterson says: “Cassius Clay is disgracing himself and a Negro race.” On Nov. 22, Ali delivers a punishing better of Patterson, in part, he says, since Patterson refuses to call him Ali.


Ali’s 17-month matrimony to Sonji Roy ends in divorce in January. With a Vietnam War heating up, a Army lowers test-score standards, reclassifying Ali 1-A — fit for service. “Man, we ain’t got no argue with them Vietcong,” he says to reporters who call him during home in Miami. He after explains … “no Vietcong ever called me nigger.”

Ali asks to be reclassified a responsible agitator to troops service. A decider sides with him, though a breeze house keeps him 1-A, armed with a U.S. Justice Department opinion that Ali’s objections to troops use are political, not religious.

Ali splits with a Louisville Sponsoring Group and chooses a new manager, Herbert Muhammad, a son of Elijah.


On Apr 28, Ali refuses initiation into a U.S. Army in Houston. He says he is a apportion of a Nation of Islam. Almost immediately, a New York State Athletic Commission strips Ali of his title. Other states follow suit. Ten days later, Ali is indicted.

“They took divided his provision since he unsuccessful a exam of domestic and amicable conformity,” sportscaster Howard Cosell said. “Nobody pronounced a damn word about a veteran football players who dodged a draft, though Ali was different: He was black, and he was boastful.”

On Jun 20, a jury deliberates 20 mins before convicting Ali of refusing initiation into a Army. He receives a limit sentence: 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. He is liberated on bail tentative appeal.

On Aug. 17, Ali marries Belinda Boyd, a teenage Chicago waitress with skeleton to go to secretarial school.


Belinda and Muhammad have a initial of their 4 children, Maryum.Unable to fight, Ali earns income by a array of vocalization engagements on college campuses. Many Americans vilify Ali as a doormat reluctant to argue for his country. Others determine with civil-rights personality Martin Luther King Jr.’s view: “He is giving adult millions of dollars to do what his demur tells him is right.”

In December, Ali is jailed for a week in Miami for pushing with an shabby license.


As his appeals work their approach by a courts, Ali finds a approach to fight: Georgia, that has no state fighting commission, is peaceful to let him box. On Oct. 26 in Atlanta, he inflicts a third-round technical knockout on Jerry Quarry, using his record to 30-0.


On Mar 8, Ali meets champion Joe Frazier in Madison Square Garden, with any warrior bursting a $5 million purse in “The Fight of a Century.” Incensed by Ali’s demeaning him as an “Uncle Tom,” Frazier inflicts a initial better of Ali’s career — a 15-round decision. The hero afterwards spends 3 weeks in a hospital.

On Jun 28, a Supreme Court unanimously overturns Ali’s 4-year-old breeze conviction, observant that his claims as a responsible agitator were formed on sacrament and were sincere.

On Jul 26, Ali defeats associate Louisvillian and former ring partner Jimmy Ellis in a 12-round TKO, in a initial hitch after his self-assurance is overturned.


On Mar 31, Ali suffers his second defeat, fighting 10 rounds with a damaged jaw before losing a 12-round preference to Ken Norton.


On Jan. 28, Ali meets former champion Frazier, who had been dethroned by George Foreman. “This might startle and dazzle ya, though we will destroy Joe Fraze-yah,” Ali boasts. He wins a 12-round decision. On Oct. 30, Ali takes on Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire, with a fighters bursting a $10 million purse. Ali lounges on a ropes, vouchsafing a champ punch himself into exhaustion, and scores an eighth-round knockout as a throng cheers, “Ali boma ye!” (“Ali kill him!”)


Elijah Muhammad dies Feb. 25. His son Wallace takes over a Nation of Islam, priesthood a reduction strident summary than his father’s. Eventually Ali will declare, “Wallace taught us a loyal definition of a Koran. He showed us that tone doesn’t matter.”

On Mar 24, Ali defeats Chuck Wepner, a wine salesman famous as “The Bayonne Bleeder.” Wepner’s bold opening inspires Sylvester Stallone (watching on closed-circuit TV) to write a screenplay for “Rocky.”

On Oct. 1, Ali and Frazier theatre one of a many thespian fights in story — a “Thrilla in Manila.” Analysts calculate that Frazier lands 440 punches. “I strike him punches that would move cities down,” Frazier says. But Ali scores regularly, too, and Frazier’s eyelids turn so distended he is many blind. His trainer, Eddie Futch, refuses to let him answer a bell for a 15th round. Ali is usually somewhat some-more robust during a end: “It was,” he says, “the closest thing to genocide that we could feel.”

Ali pays $400,000 for a plantation in Berrien Springs, Mich. It will eventually turn his primary home.


In January, Ali divorces Belinda (who by now had altered her name to Khalilah). She is awarded scarcely $2 million in a settlement.


In June, Ali marries indication Veronica Porche. One of their dual children, Laila, eventually becomes a veteran boxer.


On Feb. 15, Leon Spinks scores one of boxing’s many startling upsets, defeating Ali in a 15-round preference in Las Vegas. Ali will announce it a many unsatisfactory impulse of his career.

Before a throng of 64,000 in a New Orleans Superdome on Aug. 15, Ali wins a 15-round preference over Spinks, apropos a initial male to win a heavyweight championship 3 times.

Louisville changes a name of Walnut Street to Muhammad Ali Boulevard, over some businesses’ objections about a responsibility of changing addresses on association stationery.

Ali announces his retirement — prematurely, it turns out.


Ali, 38, comes out of retirement to face champion Larry Holmes on Oct. 2 in Las Vegas. Holmes scores a technical knockout in a 11th round. It is a initial time in Ali’s 60 veteran bouts that he fails to go a distance.


Ali loses his final fight, a 10-round preference to Trevor Berbick in Nassau, Bahamas, on Dec. 11. “I came out all right for an aged man,” he says. “We all grow old.” Ali’s record: 56 victories, 5 losses, 37 knockouts.


Ali’s Parkinson’s syndrome is done public. The symptoms embody flesh tremors and slowed, slurred speech.


Ali’s divorce from his third wife, Veronica, becomes final in January. On Nov. 19, Ali, 44, marries 28-year-old Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams, who grew adult in Louisville before study during Vanderbilt and UCLA. The 10-minute rite is conducted by Jefferson County Judge-Executive Harvey Sloane, in Sloane’s home.


Ali’s 77-year-old father, Cassius Sr., dies of a heart conflict on Feb. 9 in Louisville.

In December, Ali secures a recover of 14 American hostages hold in Iraq during a run-up to a Gulf War. Ali had left to Iraq during a invitation of Saddam Hussein, who met with a former champion for 50 minutes.


Ali’s 77-year-old mother, Odessa, dies in a Louisville nursing home.

With his conduct and hands shaking, Ali lights a Olympic fire to start a Summer Games in Atlanta during 12:25 a.m. Jul 20. His biographer Thomas Hauser writes: “In all odds there has never been a time in a story of a Earth when 3 billion people felt adore during a same time. But Ali done it happen.”


Secretary-General Kofi Annan names Ali a United Nations Messenger of Peace.


Ali rings out a year — and, by many people’s count, a millennium — as a luminary guest of a New York Stock Exchange.


Once reviled as un-American, Ali becomes a orator for a product that might be a many identified with America: Coca-Cola.


Mark Kram’s book Ghosts of Manila presents a revisionist perspective of Ali, as radically a vacant shade on that people projected whatever they wished. “Ali was,” in Kram’s estimation, “no some-more a amicable figure than Frank Sinatra. … Seldom has such a open figure of some-more extraneous abyss been some-more poorly perceived.”


Ali is awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, a nation’s top municipal honor, for being “an inspirational figure to millions of people around a world.”

The six-story, $80 million Muhammad Ali Center opens on Louisville’s downtown waterfront.

More totes ...

› tags: garden totes /