Muhammad Ali Record – The GOAT – The Greatest of All-Time

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali Record

  • Professional Boxing Career: 1960-1981
  • Professional Boxing Record: 56-5
  • Professional Boxing Wins By Knockout: 37
  • Professional Boxing Wins By Decision: 19

Three-time World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali is considered one of the world’s greatest boxers. His professional record of 56 wins and five losses is unprecedented. After retirement, he traveled the world as an ambassador of peace and championed social causes like ending poverty and discrimination.

Muhammad Ali: A Short Biography

Muhammad Ali Biography

Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on January 17th, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky.

At age 12, the discovery of Cassius Clay occurred by a boxing coach, who noticed the young lad with fire in his eyes. Asking the newcomer to the gym what he wanted to do, Clay glared at the coach, stating that his bike had been stolen and he wanted to beat up those responsible. A police officer, Joe Martin, pointed Clay towards the boxing gym.

He trained under various coaches as an amateur boxer and had a fantastic record of 100 wins to 5 losses. He became a professional boxer after winning the Summer Olympics gold medal in 1960.

He took the name Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam at age 22.

Ali had a unique fighting style. He did not adopt the high arm guard but instead relied on his speed to avoid the opponent’s punches. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” per his famous catchphrase.

More than technique, he had incredible belief in himself. He never believed that he would lose a fight and used his words to either taunt his opponent or ‘predict’ his defeat by calling out the round in which his opponent would be knocked out.

Ali had a hugely successful professional boxing career; he suffered only five defeats, with 56 wins and over half of them knock-outs. During his career, Ali defeated every top heavyweight (an era which has been called the Golden Age of Heavyweight boxing).

Ali first won the heavyweight championship in boxing on February 25, 1964, at just 22 years old, in a stunning upset win in Miami, Florida against Charles “Sonny” Liston. In 1967, Ali was stripped of not only his boxing championship but was also banned from boxing for three and a half years for refusing to be drafted into the US Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. In addition, Ali was criminally indicted and on June 20, 1967, Ali was sentenced to five years in prison. Although Ali remained free on bail, four years passed before his conviction was unanimously overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1979, Ali started to slow down as Ali fought only in exhibition matches. Ali wough fight just once in 1980, but it was a huge match against Larry Holmes to defend his title. Ali’s last fight would occur in 1981 in the Bahamas, and he would lose a ten-round decision to Trevor Berbick. Ali would retire following the bout.

Muhammad Ali’s Notable Opponents

Sonny Liston – In 1963, when Ali became the top contender for Liston, the fight was scheduled for February 25, 1964, in Miami. Ali, known as Clay at the time of the fight, was a 7-1 underdog due to Ali’s lackluster performance in his previous two fights while Liston dominated former heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson. Liston, at the time, intimidated opponents, and it wasn’t just his sheer power in the ring, but coupled with his criminal past and ties to the mob which would get into Ali’s opponent’s heads.

Joe Frazier – Ali and Frazier would meet up for three historic fights.

Ali – Frazier I: This was aptly billed as “The Fight of the Century” but would happen two more times. The fight was held on March 8, 1971, in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Ali came into the fight with a perfect 26-0 record with 23 KOs, but Ali lost his first fight this fateful night. Ali won the next two rematches to put Ali back on top as heavyweight champion of the world.

Ken Norton – Ali vs. Norton I: “The Fight City” March 31, 1973, in San Diego.

Larry Holmes – At Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas on October 2, 1980, Holmes would give Ali the fourth loss of his career. Demand for tickets was such that the promoters built a temporary outdoor arena outside the casino that held nearly 25,000 fans. Ali earned $8 million for the fight in his bid to capture the title for the fourth time. It was leaked that Ali showed signs of Parkinson’s Disease in his pre-fight medical check, but it was ignored as the promoters could not call the fight off. Ali struggled in the fight, and Holmes dominated every round. In the 10th round, Ali’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, had seen enough and threw in the towel to stop the fight.

George Foreman – One of the most aptly named fights in boxing history, “The Rumble In The Jungle” took place on October 30, 1974, in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Republic of the Congo). The city has flourished since hosting the bout and now holds a population of over 15 million. Ali was the underdog against the undefeated and heavyweight champion Foreman. Experts stated there was only one boxer that was unbeatable, and it wasn’t Ali. The arena held over 60,000 fans and a television audience that was originally estimated at 500 million but could have been as high as one billion! Ali did the improbable and knocked out the previously unbeatable Foreman with a knockout in the 8th round.

Leon Spinks – On February 15, 1978, Ali and Spinks met in Las Vegas, Nevada, for a match with the WBA, WBC, and The Ring championship. Spinks was a rapid upcoming challenger, having won the Gold Medal at the Olympic Summer Games in 1976.

Floyd Patterson – Two fights between these two iconic boxers, with both with heavyweight championships on the line.

On November 22, 1965, Patterson fought Ali for the first time. Patterson lost by TKO in the 12th round. After the fight, Ali said he could have easily knocked out Patterson early, instead, Ali mocked, humiliated, and punished Patterson. The referee stopped the fight in the 12th round when it was clear Patterson could no longer adequately defend himself. A New York Times reporter complained that the fight was like watching someone “pulling the wings off a butterfly.”

On September 20, 1972, Patterson now 37 years old, the fight was stopped in the 7th round. This was Patterson’s last fight.

Joe Louis –

Cleveland Williams –

Doug Jones –

Henry Cooper –

After his retirement, he traveled around the world to fight for humanitarian causes such as poverty, hunger, and racism.

In 1984, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and faded from the public eye. He passed away on June 3rd, 2016.

Leadership Lessons from Muhammad Ali

  1. Believe in yourself
    Muhammad Ali’s physical skill in the ring wasn’t his only advantage. One of his most significant assets was his belief in himself and his abilities. His life was a testimonial of how far self-belief and affirmation can carry oneself. Ali had often said that he began believing he was the greatest before he became the greatest. As leaders, it’s important to cultivate self-belief as well. It’s crucial not just to think, but to know that we are more than capable of the task before us. Before you can achieve victory on the outside, you have to achieve victory on the inside.
  2. Envision your desired future
    Muhammad Ali not only believed in himself, he consistently articulated his vision for his future. Before he fought an opponent, Ali would not only tell an opponent he would be beaten by knockout, he would even ‘predict’ the round. While Ali’s predictions were used to intimidate his opponents, the principle is sound. The power of a leader is his ability to envision the future and to couple that vision with the self-belief to see it through. Whatever you want to see happen in your life and your organization, start by envisioning it and then articulate it to your team.
  3. Preparation is key
    Muhammad Ali believed that a fight was won not in the boxing ring but in time spent preparing for the match. As he famously said, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

This is the principle of preparation: 90% of the battle is won not when you’re fighting but before you even step in the ring.

Whether you’re speaking in public or leading your organization, your success or failure has already been predetermined by the time you spent preparing for it. How can you train to be the best at what you do? What can you practice daily to win the match before it begins?

Quotes from Muhammad Ali

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.”

It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”

I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”

Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”

Muhammad Ali Record of All-Time Fights

Ali compiled a record of 56 wins, which includes 37 knock-outs (KOs), and five defeats. His first professional win was against Tunney Hunsaker in Louisville, Kentucky, on Oct. 29, 1960. His first first-round knockout happened on February 7, 1961, against Jim Robinson at Miami Beach. He became World Champ on February 25, 1964, when he famously knocked out Sonny Liston in the seventh round at Miami Beach. Liston, wanting a rematch to regain his title, was knocked out in the first round by Ali, cementing his title.

Ali’s first professional loss happened on March 8, 1971, against Joe Frazier by decision in 15 rounds. He would reclaim his title on January 28, 1974, when he beat Joe Frazier by decision in 12 rounds in New York City. Ali would fight Fraizer again in 1975, known as the “Thrilla in Manilla,” where Ali knocked out Frazier in the 14th round.

Ali would hold the title until 1978, when he lost to Leon Spinks, but Ali would regain it just six months later in a rematch. Ali would lose for the last time against Trevor Berbick on Dec. 11, 1981, in the Bahamas in a 10-round decision. Ali would retire after the loss.

What is the meaning of the name “Ali”?

Ali (Arabic: علي‎, ʿAlī) is a male Arabic name derived from the Arabic root ʕ-l-w, which literally means “high” or “elevated.” It is a common name in Arab countries and the rest of the Muslim world. Source: Wikipedia.

Is It True President Donald Trump Wants To Pardon Ali?

Yes, in a very odd report, Ali’s attorney responded with his official statement via Twitter over the possible pardoning consideration by President Donald Trump:

Donald Trump seeks to pardon Muhammad Ali
Trump wants to pardon Ali

Date June 8, 2018

“We appreciate President Trump’s sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in 1971. There is no conviction which a pardon is needed.”

The basis behind this “pardon” comes from a 1967 conviction due to Ali’s refusal to the Vietnam Draft. Ali maintained vocally he was a “conscientious objector” in his famous style. As Ward’s tweet states, four years later, in 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court would unanimously overturn that conviction.

For reasons still unclear, 47 years later, Trump wants to overturn a conviction that does not exist.

Were George Foreman and Muhammad Ali friends?

Following the infamous Rumble In The Jungle bout, Ali and Foreman became friends.

Did Ali fight Foreman twice?

No, there was no rematch after the “Rumble in the Jungle.”

Was Ali afraid of Foreman?

Fear is often a misunderstood and misassigned tag placed when discussing boxing. The rumor of Ali being “afraid” of Foreman came from a quote from Foreman when asked how Ali beat him. Foreman simply said that Ali “had a fear of him.”

Muhammad Ali Best Knockouts

See Also:
José Mourinho teams coached and his leadership ability in soccer.
Alexander The Great: Famous Conquerors.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Allied Forces Supreme Commander