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Muhammad Ali Biography

by Blog Sur
Muhammad Ali Feature Photo

Muhammad Ali was born (on January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) in Louisville, Kentucky in the USA. He was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. 

People called him the nickname “The Greatest”. Also, they regarded him as one of the most remarkable sports figures of the 20th century.  Ali defended the title for world heavyweight champion 19 times. 

Moreover, Ali was also known for his social stand for the black community and black resistance against white supremacy. In today’s blog, we will look into his biography! So, let’s dig in!

Muhammad Ali stylish Photo
Muhammad Ali (Born on January 17, 1942)


  • Name: Mohammad Ali; Real name Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.
  • Nickname: The Greatest
  • Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Age: Aged 74; (January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016)
  • Citizenship: American
  • Horoscope: Capricorn
  • Spouse: (4) Sonji Roi (1964-1966), Khalilah Ali (1967-1976), Veronica Porche Ali (1977-1986), Lonnie Ali (1986-2016)
  • Children: (9) Laila Ali, Muhammad Ali Jr., Rasheda Ali, Maryum Ali, Asaad Ali, Hana Ali, Khalia Ali, Jamilah Ali, Miah Ali.
  • Popular Work: Heavyweight Championship on Three Separate Occasions and Social Message of Black Pride 
  • Favorite Song: Child Of The Wilderness by Michel

Mohammad Ali  Name & Family

Where did Muhammad Ali come from?

Muhammad Ali’s former name was Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. He was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. His father’s name was Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. He worked as a billboard and sign painter and supported his family with the help of his two sons. His mother’s name was Odesa Grady, and she worked as domestic household help. 

Muhammad Ali with his family members
Ali with his beloved family

However, Cassius Sr. allowed Odessa to bring up his two sons as baptists. In 2018, a DNA test confirmed that Ali was a descendant of the former slave Archer Alexander. Keep note that, Archer Alexander was the building crew as the model of a freedman for the Emancipation Memorial. Also, he was the subject of William Greenleaf Eliot’s book, “The Story of Archer Alexander: From Slavery to Freedom.”

Lastly, Ali took up boxing at the age of 12 under the coaching of a Louisville policeman named Joe Martin. 

Muhammad Ali Educational Information

Where did Muhammad Ali study?

Muhammad Ali studied at Central High School in Louisville. Since childhood, he had been dyslexic. And, this led to difficulties in reading and writing. Because of dyslexic, he had suffered so much in school and real life. However, he completed his graduation in 1958. 

Career Path

What did Muhammad Ali do?

Muhammad Ali took up boxing training at the age of 12 under the observation of police officer Joe martin. Then, he initially advanced through amateur training from Fred Stoner. Also, he credited him for giving the actual training. 

Muhammad Ali Early Life Boxing Photo
Ali Boxing fromchildhood

Afterward, Ali made his first amateur boxing debut against a local opponent named boxer Ronnie O’Keefe. He won the match with a split decision. Also, he won six Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, two national Golden Gloves titles, an Amateur Athletic Union national title, and the light heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome.

Muhammad Ali fighting match in Summer Olympic 1960
Ali from Summer Olympic

Early Career

In his early career, people considered Muhammad Ali for his charm than his fight in rings. He made his professional debut in October 1960. Until 1963, he had a record of 19-0 wins with 15 by knockouts. 

Then, Muhammad Ali became the top contender against Sonny Liston. The fight took place on February 25, 1964. Liston was a defending champion during that time. However, the fight went on for six rounds after Liston surrendered. Thus, Ali became the new world champion. 

After two days, he announced that he had accepted Islam. On March 6, 1964, he took the name, Muhammad Ali. In fact, his spiritual teacher Elijah Muhammad gave him that name. 

For the next three years, he defended his title for the world heavyweight champion magnificently. Then, he had another rematch with Liston in 1965. And he ended up with a first-round knockout. 

Mid Career

In 1967, Muhammad Ali refused to become part of the U.S. Army at the height of the Vietnam War. Citing his religious belief, he said that he didn’t want to be part of this war. According to him, it was against the teaching of the Quran. Moreover, Ali said that he is not against the draft. Although, Ali mentioned that he would not take part in any war unless it was declared by the Quran. 

Again in April of 1967, he appeared for recommissioning in the U.S. Armed Forces. He refused that offer three times. As a result, the Armed forces issued a warrant against him. He got arrested later. On that same day, the authority stripped off his title and license. Muhammad Ali remained unable to box in any state for more than three years. 

On June 20, 1967, the jury found Ali guilty. They stated that he committed a criminal offense, violating selective service law. After the court of appeal upheld the conviction, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the case in 1971. 

Although his case was still on appeal, Ali got his license to fight. He fought against Jerry Quarry on October 26,  resulting in a win after three rounds.  

Exciting Match of Muhammad Ali vs Frazier
Ali vs Frazier

During Muhammad Ali’s exile, Joe Fraizer became the titleholder for the world heavyweight championship. On March 8, 1971, Ali fought against Frazier. The fight was labeled as the “Fight of the Century.” Frazier won with a 15-0 round decision.  

In 1973, he fought against Ken Norton. Ken broke his jaw in the second round. That match lasted for 12 rounds resulting in defeat. Although, Ali defeated Norton in a rematch. 

After that, Ali had a rematch with Joe Fraizer. And, Ali won the match resulting in a 12 round knockout. 

Last Days of Career

In 1974, Ali challenged the 1973’s defending champion, George Foreman. The fight took place in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is formerly known as Zaire. The people of Congo named him The Conquering Hero. Ali knocked out Foreman in the 8th round, regaining the heavyweight title. 

The Last match between Ali vs Larry
Ali vs Larry

Muhammad Ali performed his last fight against Leon Spinks in 1978. But, he lost his title to this novice boxer. Seven months later, he regained his crown after a 15-0 round victory. Then, he announced his retirement. 

In 1980, he again came back and suffered a horrible defeat against Larry Holms. That match lasted for 11 rounds. Ali also lost his final fight against Trevor Berbick in 1981. 

Ali is one of the greatest boxers in history.  His final record was 56 wins, and five losses with 37 knockouts. However, his most valuable assets were speed, footwork, and ability to take punches. 


Who is Muhammad Ali’s wife?

Muhammad Ali married 4 times. He had seven daughters and two sons. Firstly, he married Sonji Roi in 1964. But, they ended up in divorce in 1966. According to Ali’s brother, Sonji was her only true love. They had no child together. 

Ali with his family and kids
Ali with one of his wives and four kids

Again in 1967, Ali married Belinda Boyd. Later after converting to Islam, she renamed herself, Khalilah Ali. They had four children. 

At the age of 32 in 1974, Ali began an extramarital relationship with a minor named Wanda Bolton. Later, she changed her name to Aaisha Ali. While still married to Belinda, Ali married Aaisha in a Muslim ceremony. 

With Aaisha, he had a daughter named Khaliah, born in 1974. In 1985, Ayesha sued Ali claiming for palimony. Hence, Ali paid an amount of $200,000 trust fund for Khaliah. And his marriage with Belinda ended in 1977. 

Muhammad Ali and his wife Porche with their child
Ali with his wife Porche and their child

Later, Ali married Veronica Porche. During their marriage, they had a daughter named Hana and she was pregnant with her second child. By 1986, Ali and Veronica divorced each other due to Ali’s continuous infidelity. 

After Ali married his fourth wife Lonnie, he had nine children by then. Most of them avoided the spotlight. However, her daughter Laila Ali pursued her career in boxing. She boxed between 1999-2007 and remained undefeated for 24 bouts. 

Last Days of Muhammad Ali’s Life

Despite, Ali spent his life as a warrior, he suffered from respiratory illness. He was hospitalized in Arizona, on June 2nd, 2016. And after decreasing his health condition, he died from septic shock on that same day after.


How many awards does Muhammad Ali have?

Ali receives the Presidential Medal
ALi receiving Presidential Medal

In 1996, Muhammad Ali was chosen to light the Olympic flame at the start of the ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia. From 1964-1975 the period of his life became the story of a movie called Ali (2001).  Will Smith played the role of a boxer. His life story is described in a documentary film named I Am Ali (2004). 

Ali (2001) Movie Poster
Ali (20021) Movie Poster

It contains the recordings and videos that were captured throughout his career. He was also the subject of other two docuseries named What’s my name (2019) and Muhammad Ali (2021). 

  • In 1959 Muhammad Ali won the National Golden Gloves Light Heavyweight Champion.
  • Again in 1960, he won a Gold medal in the Rome Olympics for light-heavyweight boxing.
  • Then, in 2005 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • From 1964-67 he was the defending World Heavyweight Champion title.
  • In 1974 Muhammad Ali received the Fighter of the Year title, from the Boxing Writers Association. 
  • From 1974-78 He again regained the World Heavyweight Champion title.
  • In 1978-79 he claimed the World Heavyweight Champion.
  • In 1987 he was elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame.
  • After that, in 1990 he was Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Other than this, he also received the Arthur Ashe Award from ESPN, and Essence Living Legend Award in  1997. 

Wrap Up

So, that was it for today’s blog. We hope you liked these facts about Muhammad Ali. Stay tuned in Blog Sur for biographies of famous people including Lionel Messi, Jennifer Lawrence, Helen Keller, and many more.

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