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Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

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Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight ... From director Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity, HBO's the Deal) and... more info $16.95was $19.98 Buy Now

Freedom Road ... In this riveting film, the Reconstruction era comes alive for viewers. Gideon... more info $12.95was $16.99 Buy Now

Coming Up Roses ... In a gritty small town during the 1980s deep recession lives 15-year-old Alice... more info $18.95was $24.99 Buy Now

Man & Moves & Mouth ... The iconic Muhammad Ali is the most recognized man in the world. Now for the... more info $8.95was $9.95 Buy Now

The Trials of Muhammad Ali ... No conventional sports documentary, THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI investigates it's... more info $20.95was $29.95 Buy Now

Fidel (2001) ... Fidel Castro is one of the most influential and controversial figures of our... more info $11.95was $14.95 Buy Now

Also Known As: Cassius Clay Died: June 3, 2016
Born: January 17, 1942 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Louisville, Kentucky, USA Profession:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Philippines, much of which took place in temperatures over 100 degrees, Ali and Frazier came close to claiming victory, but Ali was named the victor after Frazier was unable to answer the bell for the 15th round. That same year, Ali converted from the Nation of Islam to Sunni Islam.By this point in his career, Ali was nothing less than a global sports icon. His feats had been celebrated in books, magazine articles, and even songs like "Black Superman (Muhammad Ali)" (sic) by Johnny Wakelin and the Kinshasa Band. Ali was even the star of his own biopic, "The Greatest" (1977), which followed his career from the Olympics to the Rumble in the Jungle, and provided the voice for his animated counterpart in a Saturday morning cartoon, "I Am the Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali" (NBC, 1977). The following year, he fought Superman in DC Comics¿ "Superman vs. Muhammad Ali." However, the real Ali was beginning to show all-too-human signs of age and wear from decades of boxing.Though he continued to defeat fighters both great and obscure, including Ken Norton in a match at Yankee Stadium in 1976, Ali was winning more fights by decision than knockout. He was also physically brutalized in an exhibition...

Philippines, much of which took place in temperatures over 100 degrees, Ali and Frazier came close to claiming victory, but Ali was named the victor after Frazier was unable to answer the bell for the 15th round. That same year, Ali converted from the Nation of Islam to Sunni Islam.

By this point in his career, Ali was nothing less than a global sports icon. His feats had been celebrated in books, magazine articles, and even songs like "Black Superman (Muhammad Ali)" (sic) by Johnny Wakelin and the Kinshasa Band. Ali was even the star of his own biopic, "The Greatest" (1977), which followed his career from the Olympics to the Rumble in the Jungle, and provided the voice for his animated counterpart in a Saturday morning cartoon, "I Am the Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali" (NBC, 1977). The following year, he fought Superman in DC Comics¿ "Superman vs. Muhammad Ali." However, the real Ali was beginning to show all-too-human signs of age and wear from decades of boxing.

Though he continued to defeat fighters both great and obscure, including Ken Norton in a match at Yankee Stadium in 1976, Ali was winning more fights by decision than knockout. He was also physically brutalized in an exhibition match against wrestler and martial artist Antonio Inoki, who fought the champion to a draw largely through kicking Ali throughout the 15-round match. Ali suffered from blood clots and infection in his legs, which resulted in a decrease of his storied speed and agility. In 1978, the beginning of the end came with Ali¿s loss to Olympic champion Leon Spinks. Expecting an easy fight against an untried newcomer, Ali was battered by the seemingly tireless Spinks until the latter was declared winner in a 15-round decision. The façade of invulnerability had fallen for Ali, but like so many times before, he came from behind to reclaim the title, as well as the record as the first three-time world heavyweight champion, from Spinks in September of that year. In June of 1979, Ali announced his retirement.

Ali remained in the spotlight in the months following his retirement, appearing in commercials for D-Con Roach Proof and other products, and even taking another stab at acting in "Freedom Road" (NBC, 1979), a historical biopic of Gideon Jackson, an ex-slave who was elected to the U.S. Senate, as well as on episodes of "Diff¿rent Strokes" (NBC/ABC, 1978-1986) and "Vega$" (ABC, 1978-1981). But the lure of the ring ¿ in particular, an $8 million purse to fight Larry Holmes ¿ was too strong, and in 1980, he agreed to meet the powerful contender at Caesar¿s Palace in Las Vegas. The fight was an ill-advised move for the 39-year-old Ali, whose health had already begun its precipitous decline. His fight doctor, Ferdie Pacheco, had left Ali¿s camp after receiving a medical report that showed the fighter¿s kidneys in a state of near-collapse. A 1980 MAYO Clinic report prior to the Holmes fight showed that he had also lost basic hand-eye coordination and was displaying slurred speech. His pre-fight training was marked by heavy fatigue, which was exacerbated by large doses of a thyroid medicine that left him overheated but unable to perspire. This shadow of Ali¿s former self took a tremendous beating from Holmes in Las Vegas before Angelo Dundee, his longtime trainer, called off the fight in the 11th round. It was the first time Ali had ever lost a fight by anything other than a decision.

There would be one final time in the ring for Ali, against an up-and-comer named Trevor Berbick in 1981, which ended in a loss by unanimous decision after 10 rounds. This ignominious finale was largely eclipsed by news in 1984 that Ali had been diagnosed with Parkinson¿s syndrome, the result of the severe head trauma that many boxers endure in their career. The disease racked his body with tremors and reduced his powerful voice to a whisper, but it left his spirit and mind intact, and for the next 30 years, Ali would lend his name to a variety of humanitarian causes which, in turn, underscored the global notion that Ali was more than just a sports figure, but a true hero and a cultural icon for all nations. In 1987, Ali was selected by the California Bicentennial Foundation for the U.S. Constitution to personify the ideals of that document, as well as that of the Bill of Rights, at various public functions. Ali was among the few civilian figures to visit Iraq during the first Gulf War, and actually met with then-dictator Saddam Hussein to negotiate the release of American workers held hostage during its early days. By 1993, Ali had been named along with Babe Ruth as the most recognized athlete in America out of a list of 800. The study also showed that 97 percent of Americans over the age of 12 knew Ali.

In 1996, a visibly trembling Ali defied the physical constraints of his body to light the torch at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA. That same year, George Forman aided his former combatant to the dais to accept the Academy Award for "When We Were Kings" (1996), which won Best Documentary at the Oscars. Sports Illustrated, which named him "Sportsman of the Year" three times during his career, bestowed the title of "Sportsman of the Century" in 1999. His life and accomplishments continued to serve as the basis for features, including Leon Ichaso¿s "Ali: An American Hero" (Fox, 2000); "King of the World" (ABC, 2000), with Terrance Howard as Ali; and Michael Mann¿s epic biopic "Ali" (2001), which earned Will Smith an Oscar nomination for his vibrant portrayal of the champion. The following year, Ali returned to the Middle East to serve as a U.N. Messenger of Peace in Afghanistan.

In 2005, Ali¿s humanitarian efforts were rewarded with the Presidential Citizens Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. That same year, his $60 million non-profit Muhammad Ali Center opened in Louisville. The center served as a repository for his boxing memorabilia and a focal point for his efforts to enhance themes of responsibility and personal growth among visitors. In 2007, he received an honorary doctorate from Princeton University as part of the school¿s 260th anniversary. That same year, he was listed second, behind the legendary Joe Louis, as the greatest heavyweight of all time by ESPN. The 2009 documentary "Facing Ali" featured interviews with many of his most formidable opponents, including Foreman, Joe Frazier, Leon Spinks, and Larry Holmes, each of whom discussed their history-making bouts with Ali.ed them with a fight worthy of the warrior-kings of their heritage; Ali hoodwinked Foreman into wearing himself down, first by laying punishing hits into the startled champ, and later, by pretending to fall back against the ropes in exhaustion. In doing so, he was able to withstand Foreman¿s best punches while stitching him with an array of carefully chosen headshots. The ruse, later called "the rope-a-dope," exhausted Foreman, and Ali unleashed a dizzying volley of hits that dropped the champion in the eighth round. The "Rumble in the Jungle" became one of the greatest fights in the history of boxing, and was the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary, "When We Were Kings" (1996), as well as the docudrama "Don King: Only in America" (1997), with Ving Rhames as King and Darius McCrary as Ali.

The following year, Ali stunned fight fans by nearly losing to an obscure brawler named Chuck Wepner, who knocked down the champ in the ninth round. Ali came back to pummel Wepner into submission in the 15th round, but the David-and-Goliath story would inspire an unknown actor named Sylvester Stallone to base a boxing script called "Rocky" (1976) on the climatic fight. The Wepner bout was soon forgotten after King launched "The Thrilla in Manila," which would pit Ali against Joe Frazier for the third time. Ali baited his opponent in the press for months prior to the match, which drove Frazier into a fit of anger. Over the course of their 14-round fight in the

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 I Am Ali (2014)
3.
 Facing Ali (2009)
4.
 Soul Power (2008)
5.
 Fidel (2001) Himself
6.
 When We Were Kings (1996) Himself
7.
 Champions Forever (1989) Himself
8.
 Doin' Time (1984) Himself
9.
 Beyond the Walls (1984) Issam'S Brother
10.
 East to West (1982)
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