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Table of Contents
Popularly known as “The Greatest”, Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest heavyweight boxers and most influential athletes of the 20th century.
See the fact file below for more information on Muhammad Ali or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Muhammad Ali worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., later known as Muhammad Ali, was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky.
- He was the oldest child to his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., a painter who also enjoyed acting, singing, and dancing, and his mother, Odessa Grady Clay, a cleaning lady when the family’s finances were tight.
- Muhammad Ali grew up in the American South at a time when public facilities were segregated.
- To make a living, his father painted billboards and signs to support his wife and two sons.
- Ali attended Louisville’s Central High School. He was dyslexic, which caused him to struggle with reading and writing in school and throughout his life. In 1960, Ali graduated 376th out of 391 students.
- He grew up in a segregated neighborhood. His mother once recalled him being denied a drink of water at a store because of his skin color.
- Muhammad Ali discovered his talent for boxing at the age of 12 through an unusual turn of events.
- After his bike was stolen, he was enraged to the point that he told a police officer, Joe Martin, that he wanted to beat up the thief. The police officer suggested that he must learn to box first.
- Martin, who taught boxing at a local recreation center, invited Ali to try boxing and quickly recognized his talent.
- Martin began featuring Ali on his local television program “Tomorrow’s Champions” and began training Ali at Louisville’s Columbia Gym.
- Six weeks later, in 1954, he won his first-ever fight by a split decision. Cutman Chuck Bodak trained him for the last four years of his amateur career.
- The science of boxing was taught to Ali by an African American coach named Fred Stoner. Ali learned many things, such as how to move with the grace and ease of a dancer.
- Despite the fact that his schoolwork suffered, Ali dedicated all his time to boxing and steadily improved.
- Muhammad Ali won two national Golden Gloves titles and two Amateur Athletic Union national titles and achieved 100 victories against eight losses at the age of 18.
- He went to Rome after graduating from high school and won the light-heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics.
- After defeating Liston in 1964, the world’s youngest heavyweight boxer converted to Islam at the age of 22.
- He was drawn to Islam after changing his name to Muhammad Ali and joining the black movement known as the Nation of Islam, which was founded in the 1930s by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad.
- Ali was appointed to the U.S. Olympic boxing team that competed in Rome, Italy.
- He was an impressive figure in the ring, not only because of his height, which was six feet three inches but also because he was known for his lightning speed and fancy footwork.
- In his first three fights, Ali managed to win the light-heavyweight Olympic gold medal after defeating Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland.
- In 1971, Ali fought Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century” for 14 rounds until Frazier dropped Ali with a savage left hook in the 15th.
- Ali recovered quickly; however, the judges decided in Frazier’s favor, handing Ali his first professional loss after 31 victories.
- In 1974, Ali faced undefeated heavyweight champion George Foreman in another legendary fight.
- The fight, billed as the “Rumble in the Jungle,” was arranged by promoter Don King and took place in Kinshasa, Zaire.
- Ali was seen as the underdog against the younger, bigger Foreman but silenced his detractors with a masterful performance. With his “rope-a-dope” technique, he enticed Foreman into throwing wild punches before stunning him with an eighth-round knockout to reclaim the heavyweight title.
- Muhammad Ali was recognized with several names and titles, which included Fighter of the Year, Sportsman of the Year, Sportsman of the Century, and Sports Personality of the Century.
- Ali visited several countries, including Mexico and Morocco, to assist those in need. Because of his work in developing countries, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 1998.
- In 1990, Ali was sent to Iraq to meet with Saddam Hussein, which was one of his most incredible acts. The goal was to secure the release of 15 American citizens who had been kidnapped. Ali was there for more than a week and was eventually able to persuade Hussein to release the hostages.
- Muhammad Ali was known as a humanitarian and philanthropist. He devoted his life to fulfilling his Islamic duties of charity and good deeds, donating millions of dollars to charitable organizations and disadvantaged people of all faiths.
- It is estimated that Ali helped feed more than 22 million hungry people around the world.
- Muhammad Ali’s life story is told in the 2014 documentary film I Am Ali, which includes audio recordings he made throughout his career as well as interviews with his close friends.
- He was also the subject of the docuseries What’s My Name in 2019 and Muhammad Ali in 2021, co-directed by Ken Burns.
- Ali’s actions outside the ring, which included his racial pride and support for both racial justice and religious freedom, established him as one of the twentieth century’s most important figures.
- According to his autobiography, one racial situation Ali faced prompted him to throw his gold medal into the Ohio River after he was allegedly refused service at a restaurant due to his skin color, in a strong statement against institutionalized racial discrimination in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement.
LEGACY AND LATER LIFE
- Muhammad Ali was married four times. Sonji Roi, Belinda Boyd, Veronica Porsche, and Yolanda were his partners.
- He had seven daughters and two sons. Ali’s grandson, Nico Ali Walsh, is also a boxer.
- In 1984, Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, possibly caused by the severe head trauma he sustained during his boxing career.
- Despite his Parkinson’s disease, Ali maintained a public profile, traveling around the world to make humanitarian, goodwill, and charitable appearances.
- In 1990, he met with Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq, to negotiate the release of American hostages, and in 2002, he toured Afghanistan as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.
- Ali, who frequently referred to himself as “The Greatest,” was not afraid to sing his own praises.
- He was well-known for boasting about his abilities prior to a fight, as well as for his vibrant descriptions and phrases.
- In one of his most famous quotes, Ali stated that he could “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” in the boxing ring.
- Muhammad Ali was hospitalized in early 2015 after contracting pneumonia and a severe urinary tract infection.
- Ali died on June 3, 2016, at the age of 74, in Phoenix, Arizona, after being admitted to a hospital due to what was reportedly a respiratory concern.
Muhammad Ali Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Muhammad Ali across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Muhammad Ali worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest heavyweight boxers and most influential athletes of the 20th century.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Muhammad Ali Facts
- Athlete Profile
- Becoming a Boxer
- The Greatest
- Iconic Image
- Civil Rights Icon
- Poster for Change
- Words of Wisdom
- Qualities of a Champion
- Our Boxing Hero
- The Great in Me
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Link will appear as Muhammad Ali Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 7, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.