Muhammad Ali, Greatest Boxer of All Times, Dies at 74


The greatest boxer of all times, Muhammad Ali, died on June 1, 2016 in Arizona. Ali, who had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for 3 decades died of breathing problems, as a spokesperson for his family announced.

Muhammad Ali was probably the most talked about athlete in boxing history. He could "float like a butterfly" in the ring and suddenly "sting like a bee", delivering quick, decisive punches to his opponent. The Ali Shuffle became legendary in most of his fights .  Before and after fights he showed his talents as a great and entertaining orator.

Born in Louisville Kentucky on January 17, 1942 as Cassius Clay,  he quickly got interested in boxing. As a youth he won 6 Kentucky State championships.  At the age of 18 Clay won the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

After the Olympics Clay turned professional  and became world heavyweight champion after winning the title from Sonny Liston in 1964. In a series of fights he not only defended his title but won many of his battles through knockouts.

In 1965 he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. In 1967 Ali was banned from professional boxing after he had refused to go to the military.

When Ali returned to the ring three years later he was not the same as he had been before. He was slower in his movements and could not deliver punches as decisively as in his early career.

In 1971 Muhammad Ali tried to regain his title from Joe Frazier, but lost the first fight in his professional career. After winning the rematch against Frazier Ali went on to fight world champion George Foreman in what was called the Rumble in the Jungle in Kinshasa, Zaire.  Ali won by knockout in the 8th round and became world heavyweight champion once again.



Muhammad Ali defended his title several times but in 1978 lost to Leon Spinks. After winning the second fight against Spinks  he regained the title for a record third time. In 1981, Muhammad Ali gave up boxing for good, winning 56 professional fights, 37 of them by knockout.

In the years that followed Ali started suffering from Parkinson's disease. He was still a public figure who fought for peace and did charity work around the world. In 1996, Ali lit the Olympic torch at the 1996 games in Atlanta.



Related Topics



  • announce = to say officially
  • athlete = sportsperson
  • ban = here: not allowed to fight any more
  • battle = fight
  • breathe = to take air into your lungs
  • championship = event that decides who is the best in a country or the world
  • charity = help poor people by collecting money or other things they need
  • convert = change your religion
  • decisive = strong
  • defend = here: to stay world champion
  • deliver = here: punch the other boxer in the ring
  • float = here: move around very fast
  • for good = permanently, forever
  • heavyweight = heaviest weight group in boxing
  • legendary = famous, talked about
  • military = army
  • movements = the way you move and get around
  • opponent = the person you box against
  • orator = person who makes good speeches
  • Parkinson's disease = serious illness in which your muscles  become weak and your arms and legs shake
  • public figure = famous person who is often on television or appears in newspapers
  • refuse = say that you will not do or accept something
  • regain = get something  back
  • rematch = fight against a boxer you have once lost against
  • series = some, a few
  • spokesperson = representative, member
  • sting = here: hit the other boxer with hard, quick punches
  • suffer = to have pain and not feel well
  • torch = a stick with a material that burns at the top
  • turn = become
  • world champion = the best in the world
  • youth = young person, teenager