BY ROY ALBERT ANDRADE, K1LLER, Inc.
VALLEY GLEN, CALIFORNIA - Muhammad Ali was a former three-time world heavyweight champion, and major sports figure of the 20th century. Ali had a professional record consisting of 56 wins, including 37 knockouts, and 5 defeats. The lyrical heavyweight rose from humble beginnings, and wowed the world in his 21-year professional boxing career.
Ali was born on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, and laced up his first pair of boxing gloves when he was 12 years old. As a high school student, he won two national Golden Gloves championships, and two Amateur Athletic Union national light-heavyweight titles. In 1960, Ali traveled to Rome, and competed in the Summer Olympics, returning home with a gold medal in the light-heavyweight division. The 6-foot-3-inch won his first professional bout on October 29, 1960 at 18-years-of-age. On February 26, 1964, he received his first title shot in Miami Beach, Florida against Sonny Liston, the reigning and defending champion. His braggadocio, foot work, and punching power stopped Liston in the seventh round. He was crowned heavyweight champion of the world.
On April 28, 1967, Ali appeared for his scheduled induction into the U.S Armed Forces at the Army Forces Examining and Entrance Station in Houston, Texas, and refused to enter the Vietnam War by not stepping forward for induction after his name was called upon. Unlike, Bill Clinton, he was convicted of draft evasion, and completely stripped of his passport, boxing license, and championship titles. He was fined $10,000, and received a three year suspension. After, three and a half years in exile, Ali returned to the ring, and experienced his first lost to Joe Frazier. He fought some high-caliber names in the heavyweight division, including, George Foreman, in a fight billed as the "Rumble in the Jungle." Ali retired on December 11, 1981 after losing to Trevor Berbick at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre in Nassu, The Bahamas.
Shawn W. Anderson