*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on dmboxing.com on October 23, 2010
This is the fifth of a six part series of my personal accounts of Muhammad Ali. In Memory of Ali, I will display these six articles and will also include photos of my collectables now through this month of July for viewing.
By David Martinez / Boxing Historian / dmboxing.com
In part five of my six part series on Muhammad Ali, I would like to give you my personal view of ten incredible highlight facts during his boxing career:
1 ) Ali is the only one to have won the linear heavyweight championship three times. The linear title is recognized by tracing an unbroken lineage of titleholders going back over 100 years, with every champion defeating the previous title holder in the ring.
2 ) Ali has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine 37 times, second only to Michael Jordan.
3 ) According to many boxing historians, they rate Ali as the greatest heavyweight of all time. In my personal rankings (which can be seen on this website in Categories – click on – Rankings or August 2007 Archives to see Rating The Heavies) I rate Ali #2, just ahead of Joe Louis, and just behind Jack Johnson.
4 ) The May 25, 1965 photo of Ali knocking out Sonny Liston is one of the greatest sports photos of the 20th century.
5 ) Ring Magazine and ESPN.com rank Ali as the second greatest fighter, behind Sugar Ray Robinson, in the history of boxing in the last 100 years. My personal ten greatest (alphabetically) are: Ali, Henry Armstrong, Roberto Duran, Harry Greb, Jack Johnson, Benny Leonard, Joe Louis, Carlos Monzon, Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Robinson.
6 ) Certainly the most gifted heavyweight champion with quickness, a superior left jab and footwork beyond any from John L Sullivan(1875) to our present day champions.
7 ) The most recognized sports figure over a three decade period of the 60’ s, 70’ s, 80’ s, and maybe ever.
8 ) Fought Joe Frazier in three epic trilogy bouts, with the March 8, 1971 fight between two undefeated champions – the “ fight of the century” ; his third fight, The Thrilla in Manila, 1975, is considered, arguably, the greatest heavyweight title fight of all time.
9 ) Ali’ s 1974 historical heavyweight championship bout with, then, undefeated George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire, Africa, handing Foreman his only knockout loss in his 81 bout professional career.
10) His combined his amateur and professional ring record is an amazing 156 wins, with 10 losses. The only man to have stopped him in 166 total fights was Larry Holmes; this was in Ali’ s second to last fight before he retired, and it came three months shy of his 39th birthday.