He regretted turning his back on Malcolm X
He called turning his back on Malcolm X, “one of the mistakes that I regret most in my life.” The fall out happened in 1964 in Ghana, where Ali and Malcolm were both touring. Malcolm had just separated himself from Elijah Muhammad, who Ali had sided with. They crossed paths, but Ali delivered the fade when Malcolm approached him.
His favorite meal is..
Now we’re hungry. His favorite meal is baked chicken, dressing, green peas, macaroni and cheese, spinach, and hot buttered rolls.
His boxing career had nothing to do with his Parkinson’s disease.
Said Ali on the matter: “No boxer in the history of boxing has had Parkinson’s. There’s no injury in my brain that suggests that the illness came from boxing.”
His daugther, Laila Ali, went undefeated as a professional boxer with a record of 24-0
Ali actually spoke out against female boxing in 1978 when he said, “women are not made to be hit in the breast, and face like that.” That didn’t stop Laila from following in her father’s footsteps as a boxer.
He knocked out Superman in a DC Comic’s 1978 comic book
Quick plot description: An advanced race of aliens wants to destroy the Earth, but gives the planet a chance. If Earth’s greatest fighter can defeat their alien champion, they’ll spare the planet. Superman volunteers to defend Earth, but the aliens protest that he’s not technically human or from Earth. As a compromise, Ali, as humanity’s greatest figher, challenges Superman to fight, with the winner moving on to battle the aliens. Ali knocks out Superman and moves on to predictably save the planet.
Greatest line of DNA ever. EVER.
Through his father’s Irish and English ancestry, he’s related to General Robert E. Lee, General George Patton, President Zachary Taylor, and Katie Couric.
Ali loved Gorgeous George’s boasting and the effect it had on the crowd
He modeled his outlandish and abrasive fighting persona after professional wrestler Gorgeous George.
Ali almost had to have his legs amputated after being repeatedly kicked
Ali earned $6 million for the fight, but it was declared a sham by both parties after the bout. Inoki crouched around Ali and kicked at him, only allowing Ali to throw six punches. Inoki felt like Ali wasn’t a real fighter for only trying to punch, while Ali thought that Inoki wasn’t a real fighter for standing up to him. Ali had to spend two weeks in a hospital recovering from the subsequent blood clots, and never regained fully his mobility.
Ali taunted Liston at his home
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s slick talk and Adrien Broner’s mouth have nothing on Ali’s moves. Immediately after Sonny Liston agreed to fight him for the first time, Ali drove a bus (with press in tow) with the words “Liston Must Go In Eight” on it to Liston’s home at 3 a.m.
He was on a mission to become the champ
He knew he had a “chance” to become a World Champion after winning boxing’s Golden Gloves in 1960. Ali certainly took it. Four years later he became heavyweight champion of the world after defeating Sonny Liston.
The bully is always insecure on the inside
Despite all of the bragging and intimidation tactics, he was “scared to death” in the lead-up to his first fight against Sonny Liston. Typical bully behavior. The bully is always insecure on the inside, just like a boisterous Ali was back then. He beat Liston by a technical knockout in six rounds.
He was arrested for refusing the enter the war
From age 25 to 29 (the prime of any athlete’s career), he was inactive due to his ongoing Supreme Court case. After he was arrested for refusing to enter the draft to enter the Vietnam War, all state boxing and athletic commissions suspended his boxing licenses. While his case went to an appeals court and later the Supreme Court, public opinion turned against the war, and Ali became a popular speaker at colleges. He certainly wasn’t dormant and truly “exiled” by any means.
He has been married four times, and has nine children by six women.
Ali had failed marriages 1964, 1967, and 1977, he has been married to his current wife since 1986, and they adopted one son together.
He starred in a Broadway musical that ran for one week
While banned from the boxing world, he starred in a Broadway musical that ran for one week. Big Time Buck White centered around Ali as a black militant addressing a black power political group.
He released his album before he was even a contender
His album, I Am The Greatest! was released by Columbia Records before he was even a contender for Sonny Liston’s belt. Now that’s cocky.
The NSA spied on him during the Vietnam War.
Along with Ali, Martin Luther King Jr. and 1,650 other individuals had their phones and cables tapped between 1967-1973.
He returned to boxing in 1970 was because there was no organized boxing commission
The only reason he returned to boxing in 1970 was because there was no organized boxing commission in the state of Georgia, allowing the city of Atlanta to grant him a boxing license. It was a triumphant return for Ali, as he knocked out Jerry Quarry in three rounds.
He won the World heavyweight championship for the first time in 1964
He won the World heavyweight championship for the first time in 1964 and again in 1978, which is the greatest gap between Championships in Heavyweight history. His trainer, Angelo Dundee, described how the boxer who won in 1964 (Cassius Clay) was vastly different than the one in 1974 (Muhammad Ali): Clay was speed, harmony in motion, an extraordinary sight to see. It seemed impossible to hit him. Ali, the guy that came back after his inactivity, was more flat-footed; he had to go in and fight and take more punishment.”
He used to practice Sunni Islam, but now embraces Sufi Islam.
Said his daughter Hana Yasmeen Ali on her father’s shift in beliefs: “My father is very spiritual—more spiritual now than he is religious. It was important for him to be very religious and take the stands he did in earlier years. It was a different time.”
Only Michael Jordan has more Sports Illustrated covers than him.
Those two would definitely be the first faces carved in a hypothetical Mount Rushmore of Sport.
Despite his case of Parkinson’s, he can still clearly communicate.
Ali does struggle every so often with his speech, but his daughter says “it’s not as bad as people might think.”
He randomly calls fans, but usually gets hung up on.
If you ever get a call from someone claiming to be Muhammad Ali, don’t immediately hang up!
He answers fan mail every day.
A surprising and heartwarming fact considering his Parkinson’s. Still giving back to the fans even at 72.
It took Smith 8 Years to say “yes” to Ali
He and his family personally approached Will Smith to star as Ali in his 2001 biopic, Ali, but were rebuffed for eight years until Smith relented. Imagine saying “no” to The Champ for eight straight years? Will Smith has a lot of balls for that, but his reason was respectful and valid: “Intellectually, I didn’t feel that I possessed what it took to become Muhammad Ali.” Director Michael Mann eventually had to sit Smith down and lay out a concrete plan to get Smith prepared for the role to get him on board to play Ali.
He held his reign for 4 years