Boxing great Muhammed Ali dies aged 74
Boxing legend MUHAMMAD ALI passed away late Friday night at the age of 74. According to a family spokesperson, the cause of death was “septic shock due to unspecified natural causes.”
Last week, we heard that he was hospitalized with a respiratory problem. At the time, his rep said he was in “fair condition,” and he wasn’t expected to be there long. In a morbid way, but that turned out to be true.
For what it’s worth, it sounds like the issues he was having were complications related to Parkinson’s disease, which he’d been battling for 32 years.
Ali will be laid to rest on Friday in Louisville, Kentucky, his hometown. There will be a funeral service at 2:00 P.M. at the ‘KFC Yum! Center.’ It’ll be open to the public, and available to stream online at AliCenter.org. Former President Bill Clinton, Billy Crystal, and Bryant Gumbel will give eulogies. There will be a procession throughout Louisville.
Ali was a three-time World Heavyweight Champion, who dominated boxing during his 21-year professional career from 1960 to 1981. His record was 56-5 . . . with 37 knockouts.
He started training at the age of 12, and won his first world heavyweight championship at 22 in an upset over Sonny Liston in 1964. Not long after that, he changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali.
He was a significant part of the black pride, Nation of Islam, and civil rights movements in the ’60s. And in 1966 he refused to be drafted into the military because of his religious beliefs, and his opposition to the Vietnam War.
He was arrested, and was stripped of his boxing titles after being found guilty of draft evasion. He was suspended for almost four years . . . and then in 1971 the Supreme Court overturned his conviction.
His biggest fights were that win over Liston . . . the three against his rival Joe Frazier . . . and the so-called “Rumble in the Jungle” against George Foreman, where he won back all his titles.
The first loss of his career was to Frazier in 1971. He came back to beat him in two subsequent fights . . . in 1974 and 1975. His career ended with two losses, to Larry Holmes in 1980 and to Trevor Berbick in 1981.
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Photo: Wikimedia Commons