Saturday, January 7, 2012

Gold-MedalGraphy of Boxer Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing. He earned the heavyweight championship of the world when he upset Sonny Liston in 1964, but Ali (as Cassius Clay) was already a widely known boxer by the time he stepped into the ring for his first pro fight in 1960. The month before, Clay won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome as a light heavyweight fighter.
1960 Rome Olympics
Cassius Clay carried the hopes for a third boxing gold medal for the United States Olympic boxing team when he stepped into the ring on September 5, 1960. Clay, who had won the Golden Gloves amateur title as well as the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials to earn a spot on the Olympic team, prepared to fight Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzykowski for the light heavyweight gold medal. Pietrzyowski, 25, represented a significant challenge for the 18-year-old Clay. He was much more experienced, and he was also left-handed. Clay didn't have much experience fighting lefties.
Gold Medal Fight
Clay did not storm across the ring and pound on Pietrzyowski. Instead, he took his time as he tried to figure out the awkward left-hander. By the end of the round, Clay was using his left jab to take charge of the fight. In the second round, Clay continued to throw his left jab and added a number of hard right hands to Pietrzyowski's body, which hurt him. By the third round, Clay was in complete control. He also started dancing around the ring, introducing the boxing world to what would become known as the "Ali Shuffle." Clay won a unanimous decision.
Early Career
Clay started his professional career with a unanimous decision over journeyman fighter Tunney Hunsaker. Clay would reel off 19 straight wins to earn a shot at the heavyweight championship. He then upset the powerful Sonny Liston to win the title. Clay would change his name to Muhammad Ali shortly after that title fight.
Military Refusal
After winning the championship from Liston in 1964, Ali became the sport's dominant fighter. He defended his title nine straight times, but was stripped of his title in 1967 for refusing induction into the Army during the Vietnam War. Ali based his refusal on religious grounds, but he was arrested nevertheless. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned his arrest and conviction in 1970 and finally allowed to continue his boxing career. Ali's personal protest against the war would make him a villain in the eyes of many Americans (including some who saw him as a hero after his Olympic victory), but he was still a hero to many who protested the war.
Later Career
Despite missing three years in the middle of the prime of his career, Ali would regain the limelight. His vacant title had been taken by Joe Frazier, and the two men met at New York's Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971 in a heavyweight title fight. Frazier won a 15-round decision, but Ali would beat Frazier in two subsequent matches. Ali later recorded the greatest upset victory in his career against George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974. Ali let Foreman tire himself out by absorbing punches while laying on the ropes. In the eighth round, Ali turned aggressor and knocked out the exhausted Foreman. He later retired from boxing in 1981 after losing three of his final four bouts. Ali was later diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

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