Originally known as Cassius Clay, Ali changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964, subsequently converting to Sunni Islam in 1975. In 1967, Ali refused to be conscripted into the US military, based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges, stripped of his boxing title, and his boxing license was suspended. He was not imprisoned, but did not fight again for nearly four years while his appeal worked it's way up to the US Supreme Court, where it was successful. He returned to boxing and picked up his professional career again in late 1970.
He was also famous for fighting many great boxers in their respective primes. Including the likes of Joe Fraizer, Geroge Foreman, Sonny Liston, Joe Bugner, Ken Norton, Floyd Patterson, Earnie Shavers, Larry Holmes, and Henry Cooper.
Nicknamed "The Greatest", Ali was involved in many several historic legendary boxing bouts. Most notable amongst these are three rival bouts against Joe Fraizer (the final one including the legendary 'Thrilla in Manilla'), and one bout against George Foreman ('Rumble in the Jungle'), whom he beat by knockout to win the world heavyweight title for a second time. He was also famous for fighting two bouts against Sonny Liston during his early career in the 60's. He also fought and beat Archie Moore early on in his career (a boxer who managed to beat the legendary Joe Louis and fight but lose to Rocky Marciano). He also fought George Chuavlo numerous times and won (George Chuvalo is considered to have the greatest chin in Boxing history).
While amassing a total of 61 fights - he suffered only five losses (four decisions and one TKO by retirement from the bout) with no draws in his career, also consisting of 56 wins (37 knockouts and 19 decisions).
Ali was well known for his unorthadox fighting style, which he described as "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", while employing tactics and strategies such as the 'rope-a-dope'. He was also known for his charisma and cocky attitude which often took place before a fight, revolving around pre-match hype, often trash-talking while rhyming. He would even taunt and trash-talk his opponents while in an actual boxing match at times. These witty personality and character quips and idioms, along with an unorthadox but effective fighting technique, made him a cultural icon. In later life, Ali developed Parkinsons Syndrome. In 1999, Ali was crowned "sportsman of the century" by sports illustrated and "Sports personality of the century" by the BBC.
ESPN ranked Muhammad Ali as the 2nd greatest boxer of all time, after Joe Louis. Muhammad ali was also conducted into the Boxing Hall of FameMuhammad Ali appears in all of the Fight Night Series of video games. Including the first one (Fight Night 2004) to the most recent one (Fight Night Champion). He is a selectable heacyweight that is available for usage in Legacy Mode, Online, or as a regular quick exhibition match against the AI/CPU/2-player. Muhammad Ali's actual boxing style is mimmicked well within the Fight Night games and he appears as a heavyweight in all of them.
Muhammad Ali had an extremely unorthadox and unusual style that not many of his opponents were used to dealing with. His style and boxing ability was one of the many reasons which earned him the title of 'the greatest of all time'. He would often describe his style as "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee".
In many of his fights (such as Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman), Ali was usually considered to be the underdog at the time and was greatly expected to lose by many boxing critics and sports journalists, yet he managed to win these fights because of his extremely unique style and his gifted physical ability.
He was, overall, an outside fighter. He would fight his opponents at a long-range. This was primarily because Ali was 6 ft 3 and had a reach at 80". His reach was longer than most of the opponents that he faced. This advantage allowed him to fight effectively and safely on the outside. This was particularly true against smaller opponents - for example, when Muhammad Ali fought Joe Frazier three times.While fighting on the outside, Muhammad Ali would make great use of his Jab and Right Straight. Particularly his Jab. Muhammad Ali is considered to have one of the best Jabs in boxing history. It was not the power which made his jab so great, but it's speed - he had an extremely fast Jab which allowed him to keep back aggressors or set-up a powerful knockout combination. While fighting on the outside, he would often double up the Jab or he would perform a Right Straight after the Jab as a one-two combination. The right straight would often daze or KO alot of his opponents.
Because Ali would utilize the Jab alot - to a great degree with great technique, and because he was a 'smart' boxer, he was often in the judges favour in terms of the scorecards.
Ali would stay just outside of his opponents punching range, consistently pressure them with the jab while moving, then countering with the right straight as soon as they made a mistake.
If the opponent managed to get too close, Ali was known to throw a sneaky uppercut which would often catch them.
Ali also made use of pushing in order to create distance if the opponent got too close, especially after a clinch.
Another tactic which Ali would greatly deploy was to push his opponents head down if they attempted to 'bob and weave' or lean while close. When he did this, he would almost always launch an uppercut.
In addition to having a superb, long-reaching, quick Jab which greatly helped him as an outside fighter, Muhammad Ali is also credited as having superb footwork/mobility. Ali would almost always use his footwork to constantly move around his opponent on the outside while never give them a chance to catch him - especially when coupled with his jab. A famous tactic that he would employ was to circle around his opponent while applying consistent pressure with the jab. Muhammad ali described the way in which he moved (footwork) as "Dancing". Not many opponents could match him or keep up with him because his footwork was extremely fast along with great technique - especially during his earlier years as a professional. Muhammad Ali had great stamina/endurance which allowed him to consistently 'dance' around (even during the later rounds).
He could easily judge his opponents distance perfectly when fighting on the outside. Throwing punches from a range in which they could not him, but where he could hit them - while consistently moving. He was able to judge distance within an inch.Muhammad Ali also had great reflexes and would often easily score a counter-attack (often leading to a knockout). His main way of doing this was by being elusive. Like Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali is also considered to be one of the most elusive fighters in boxing history. It wasn't just his quick and often confusing footwork which helped him achive this, but also his method of slipping punches. However, unlike most boxers, Muhammad Ali would not 'bob and weave' or slip while close (like Mike Tyson did) - primarily because of his size. Instead, he would lean back to avoid the punches. This is one of the reasons for why many boxing critics consider Ali to have an unorthadox/strange style - since leaning back often meant being off-balance and unable to throw a power shot. However, Muhammad Ali would consistenly get away with this because of his speed. He would often avoid a punch while leaning back, then counter with a Jab or a Jab, Right Straight combination. Leaning back also acted as a bait, to lure the opponent in and attack again, from which Ali would use his speed to hit them again before they could do anything.
Once Ali's opponent was tired (during the later rounds - if he had not already scored a KO), he would then move in up-close for a knockout combination, usually consisting of powerful Hooks/Uppercuts. He did this during the beginning rounds by forcing his opponents to chase him with his quick footwork, while stopping them with his jab, eventually wearing them down.
Ali would also quite often move in for a powerful hook/uppercut combination around the final 20-30 seconds of a round - regardless if they were the beginning or later rounds, after the opponent was tired from chasing him during the earlier-mid time frame of the round.
Boxing critics also consider Ali to have had one of the greatest chins (ability to take punches) in boxing history. He was only knocked down 4 times in his entire professional career, he suffered no KO's, and only 1 TKO (which occured during his 2nd to last fight). He is known to have consistently taken punishment from some of Boxing's most powerful punchers of all time such as George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Earnie Shavers, and Sonny Liston.
As Ali got older (around the 1970's), he would rely less on his footwork and more on his reflexes and ability to take punches, employing counter-punches especially. He would wear his opponent out by letting them attack him - avoiding what he could by leaning. This style of fighting was extremely dangerous and thus, it is also why Ali is considered to have had a very unorthadox style. Ali utilized this strategy at it's best during his fight with George Foreman (Rumble in the Jungle), he would lean against the ropes and take Foreman's punches while he tired himself out, then, counter-attack after he became exhausted. This strategy was later dubbed, the "Rope-a-dope".
Another thing which made Ali very unorthadox was the fact that many critics considered his boxing stance to be dangerous. Likewise, Ali would almost always keep his hands at body level and away from his face, leaving his face dangerously exposed. It is said that he did this intentionally to bait the opponent into attacking his head, then, use his speed and reflexes to avoid the attack, often returning with a counter-attack.
It is also no secret that Ali liked to taunt his opponents while in the ring. He would often talk abusive jokes to them while fighting. This made many of his opponents angrier, thus, more determined to catch him while he was 'dancing', however, his opponents would often wear themselves out in the process even quicker. Likewise, it made his opponents more determined to use power punches on him during the later stages of his career when he utilized the strategy of taking/dodging punches - thus, tiring them out quicker also.
Overall, Ali was a very unorthadox boxer that liked to 'stick and move' or 'dance' on the outside who made many intentional 'mistakes', but got away with it because of his speed, reflexes/nimbleness, jab, and ability to take punches. As he got older, he became more grounded and relied alot less on footwork or 'dancing', instead he relied more on his reflexes and his ability to take punches. He may have been an unorthadox boxer, but it certainly worked for him. This, along with his personality, charisma, and character outside of the ring, is what made him the "Greatest of all Time".
Boxing Style: Offensive Outside Fighter, Dancer, Rope-a-dope, Counter-puncher, Smart/Patient Boxer.
Best Punch Techniques: Jab, Right Straight.
Best Skill Traits: Punching Speed, Footwork Speed and Technique, Reflexes, Slipping Ability, Counter Ability, Great Chin (Ability to take punches), Stamina/Endurance, Heart/Motivation, Ability to judge distance correctly.
Notable Opponents: Sonny Liston, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Joe Bugner, Earnie Shavers, Archie Moore, Floyd Patterson, Henry Cooper, Ken Norton, and George Chuvalo.
|Loss||Trevor Berbick||D||56-5||10/10||1981-12-11||39||Nassau, Bahamas||The last fight of Muhammad Ali's professional career|
|Loss||Larry Holmes||TKO||56-4||10/15||1980-10-2||38||Las Vegas, NV||Match was for WBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||Leon Spinks||D||56-3||15/15||1978-9-15||36||New Orleans, LA||Won WBA Heavyweight title; Vacated title on 1979-9-6|
|Loss||Leon Spinks||D||55-3||15/15||1978-2-15||36||Las Vegas, NV||Lost WBA/WBC Heavyweight titles|
|Win||Earnie Shavers||D||55-2||15/15||1977-9-29||35||New York City, NY||Retained WBC/WBA Heavyweight titles|
|Win||Alfredo Evangelista||D||54-2||15/15||1977-5-16||35||Landover, MD||Retained WBC/WBA Heavyweight titles|
|Win||Ken Norton||D||53-2||15/15||1976-9-28||34||The Bronx, New York||Retained WBC/WBA Heavyweight titles|
|Win||Richard Dunn||TKO||52-2||5/15||1976-5-24||34||Munich, Germany||Retained WBC/WBA Heavyweight titles|
|Win||Jimmy Young||D||51-2||15/15||1976-4-30||34||Landover, MD||
Retained WBC/WBA Heavyweight titles
|Win||Jean-Pierre Coopman||KO||50-2||5/15||1976-2-20||34||San Juan, Puerto Rico||Retained WBC/WBA Heavyweight titles|
|Win||Joe Frazier||TKO||49-2||14/15||1975-10-1||33||Quezon City, Philippines||The legendary and historic "Thrilla in Manila". Retained WBA/WBC Heavyweight titles.|
|Win||Joe Bugner||D||48-2||15/15||1975-6-30||33||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||Retained WBC/WBA Heavyweight titles|
|Win||Ron Lyle||TKO||47-2||11/15||1975-5-16||33||Las Vegas, NV||Retained WBC/WBC Heavyweight titles|
|Win||Chuck Wepner||TKO||46-2||15/15||1975-3-24||33||Richfield, OH||Retained WBC/WBA Heavyweight titles|
|Win||George Foreman||KO||45-2||8/15||1974-10-30||32||Zinshasa, Zaire, Africa||The legendary and historic "Rumble in the Jungle". Won WBA/WBC Heavyweight titles.|
|Win||Joe Frazier||D||44-2||12/12||1974-1-28||32||New York City, NY||Retained NABF Heavyweight title; Vacated title later in 1974.|
|Win||Ruddi Lubbers||D||43-2||12/12||1973-10-20||31||Jakarta, Indonesia|
|Win||Ken Norton||D||42-2||12/12||1973-9-10||31||Inglewood, Los Angeles, CA||Rematch for previous fight. Won back NABF Heavyweight title|
|Loss||Ken Norton||D||41-2||12/12||1973-3-31||31||San Diego, CA||Lost NABF Heavyweight title|
|Win||Joe Bugner||D||41-1||12/12||1973-2-14||31||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||Bob Foster||KO||40-1||7/12||1972-11-21||30||Stateline, NV||Retained NABF Heavyweight title|
|Win||Floyd Patterson||TKO||39-1||7/12||1972-9-20||30||New York City, NY||Retained NABF Heavyweight title|
|Win||Alvin Lewis||TKO||38-1||11/12||1972-7-19||30||Dublin, Ireland|
|Win||Jerry Quarry||TKO||37-1||7/12||1972-6-27||30||Las Vegas, NV||Retained NABF Heavyweight title|
|Win||George Chuvalo||D||36-1||12/12||1972-5-1||30||Vancouver, Canada||Retained NABF Heavyweight title|
|Win||Mac Foster||D||35-1||15/15||1972-4-1||30||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||Jurgen Blin||KO||34-1||7/12||1971-12-26||29||Zurich, Switzerland|
|Win||Buster Mathis||D||33-1||12/12||1971-11-17||29||Houston, TX||Retained NABF Heavyweight title|
|Win||Jimmy Ellis||TKO||32-1||12/12||1971-7-26||29||Houston, TX||Won vacant NABF Heavyweight title|
|Loss||Joe Frazier||D||31-1||15/15||1971-3-8||29||New York City, NY||"The Fight of the Century". Match was for WBA/WBC Heavyweight titles. Ali's first loss.|
|Win||Oscar Bonavena||TKO||31-0||15/15||1970-12-7||28||New York City, NY||Won NABF Heavyweight title; Vacated title in 1971|
|Win||Jerry Quarry||TKO||30-0||3/15||1970-10-26||28||Atlanta, GA|
|Win||Zorra Folley||KO||29-0||7/15||1967-3-22||25||New York City, NY|
|Win||Ernie Terrell||D||28-0||15/15||1967-2-6||25||Houston, TX||Retained WBC Heavyweight title. Won WBA Heavyweight title|
|Win||Cleveland Williams||TKO||27-0||3/15||1966-11-14||24||Houston, TX||Retained WBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||Karl Mildenberger||TKO||26-0||12/15||1966-9-10||24||Frankfurt, West Germany||Retained WBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||Brian London||KO||25-0||3/15||1966-8-6||24||London, England||Retained WBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||Henry Cooper||TKO||24-0||6/15||1966-5-21||24||London, England||Retained WBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||George Chuvalo||D||23-0||15/15||1966-3-29||24||Toronto, Canada||Retained WBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||Floyd Patterson||TKO||22-0||12/15||1965-11-22||23||Las Vegas, NV||Retained WBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||Sonny Liston||KO||21-0||1/15||1965-5-25||23||Los Lewiston, ME||Rematch for previous fight. Retained WBC Heavyweight title|
|Win||Sonny Liston||TKO||20-0||6/15||1964-2-25||22||Miami Beach, FL||Won WBA/WBC Heavyweight titles. Stripped of WBA title on 1964-6-19.|
|Win||Henry Cooper||TKO||19-0||5/10||1963-6-18||21||London, England|
|Win||Doug Jones||D||18-0||10/10||1963-3-13||21||New York City, NY|
|Win||Charley Powell||KO||17-0||3/10||1963-1-24||21||Pittsburgh, PA|
|Win||Archie Moore||TKO||16-0||4/10||1962-11-15||20||Los Angeles, CA|
|Win||Alejandro Lavorante||KO||15-0||5/10||1962-7-20||20||Los Angeles, CA|
|Win||Billy Daniels||TKO||14-0||7/10||1962-5-19||20||New York City, NY|
|Win||George Logan||TKO||13-0||4/10||1962-4-23||20||New York City, NY|
|Win||Don Warner||TKO||12-0||4/10||1962-3-28||20||Miami Beach, FL|
|Win||Sonny Banks||TKO||11-0||4/10||1962-2-10||20||New York City, NY|
|Win||Willi Besmanoff||TKO||10-0||7/10||1961-11-29||19||Louisville, KY|
|Win||Alex Miteff||TKO||9-0||6/10||1961-10-7||19||Louisville, KY|
|Win||Alonzo Johnson||D||8-0||10/10||1961-7-22||19||Louisville, KY|
|Win||Duke Sabedong||D||7-0||10/10||1961-6-26||19||Las Vegas, NV|
|Win||LaMar Clark||KO||6-0||2/10||1961-4-19||19||Louisville, KY|
|Win||Donnie Fleeman||TKO||5-0||7/8||1961-2-21||19||Miami Beach, FL|
|Win||Jimmy Robinson||KO||4-0||1/8||1961-2-7||19||Miami Beach, FL|
|Win||Tony Esperti||TKO||3-0||3/8||1961-1-17||19||Miami Beach, FL|
|Win||Herb Siler||KO||2-0||4/8||1960-12-27||18||Miami Beach, FL|
|Win||Tunney Hunsaker||D||1-0||6/6||1960-10-29||18||Louisville, KY||Muhammad Ali's professional debut|