Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.) was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, and passed away on June 3, 2016, in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the age of 74. He was an American professional boxer and a multiple-time world heavyweight champion. Ali, who defended his title a total of 19 times, is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time and one of the most famous athletes in history. Below are ten facts you probably didn’t know about the world’s most famous boxer!

Muhammad Ali Never Refused Anyone an Autograph…

As a child, Muhammad Ali was denied an autograph from his boxing idol, Sugar Ray Robinson. When Ali became a respected fighter, he promised never to refuse an autograph request, a promise he honored throughout his career. He even had a special mailbox for anyone who wanted his autograph. [source]

Abstained from Sex Long Before Matches…

Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali reportedly abstained from sex for a full two months before a major match, claiming it made him unbeatable in the ring. [source]

Participated in One of the First MMA Matches…

One of the early MMA fights involved Muhammad Ali and Japanese professional wrestler Antonio Inoki on June 26, 1976. Just before the fight, Ali’s camp realized he would never win. After the match (and 64 leg kicks), Ali left and had two blood clots that nearly led to the amputation of his legs. [source]

Ali Lost His Last Match – Mike Tyson Promised Revenge…

Former professional boxer Mike Tyson watched Muhammad Ali’s last match at the age of 14 and was upset that Larry Holmes defeated Ali. Tyson got hold of Ali on the phone and said, “When I grow up, I promise I will beat him.” Seven years later, Tyson faced Holmes. The retired Ali entered the ring and said, “Remember what you promised.” Tyson defeated Holmes in the 4th round. [soruce]

The Only Walk of Fame Star on a Wall…

Muhammad Ali’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star is the only one placed on a wall instead of the ground because Ali “didn’t want the name of the Prophet Muhammad to be stepped on.” [source]

Offered $5 Million to Challenge Ali…

In 1976, Teofilo Stevenson was offered five million US dollars to turn professional and challenge the heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali. Stevenson declined the offer, saying, “What is five million dollars compared to eight million Cubans’ love?” Teofilo Stevenson won a total of three Olympic medals for Cuba. [source]

Tried to Convince His Daughter to Quit Boxing…

When Muhammad Ali’s daughter, Laila Ali (pictured below with her father, Ali), decided to enter professional boxing, he wasn’t happy and tried to discourage her. He believed the sport was too dangerous and violent for his daughter. [source]

Muhammad Ali Was Terribly Afraid of Flying…

Muhammad Ali had an intense fear of flying and spent his first flight praying to Allah. He even had a parachute strapped to his back throughout the journey to Rome, Italy. [source]

This Is What the Muhammad Ali Effect Is…

The Muhammad Ali Effect (in psychology), named after Muhammad Ali, states that people who are prompted to evaluate their intelligence and moral behavior in comparison to others will perceive themselves as more moral but not necessarily more intelligent. [source]

Saved the Lives of 15 Americans in Iraq…

In 1990, Muhammad Ali traveled to Iraq to meet then-dictator Saddam Hussein to secure the release of 15 American civilians who were held captive in Iraq against their will. After the meeting with Hussein, all 15 American captives were released, and they returned to the USA three days later. [source]

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