“The great man has done it! This is the most joyous scene ever seen in the history of boxing!”
Ali remains the only three-time world heavyweight champion. He won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978.
Between February 25, 1964 and September 19, 1964 Muhammad Ali reigned as the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion.
Here are some of his most memorable moments in the ring:
Ali (still known as Cassius Clay at the time) v. Henry Cooper in 1963.
The fight was Ali’s first fight as a pro outside of the United States. Henry Cooper was the reigning Commonwealth and British heavyweight champion.
Late in the fourth round Ali was floored by Cooper. Cooper eventually lost but was one of only three men to ever drop Ali in his 61-fight career.
World heavyweight champion – Ali v. Sonny Liston in 1964
Liston was convinced he would beat Ali within the first two rounds and trained minimally for the bout in Miami Beach, Florida. At the time Ali was disliked by the press and widely dismissed.
The fight between the pair was one of the most anticipated, watched and controversial fights in the sport’s history.
Ali won when Liston gave up at the opening of the seventh round. When he realized he had won, Ali ran to the ropes and shouted at the media “Eat your words!”
“I’m the greatest!” he yelled. “I shook up the world.” Ali took the title of world heavyweight champion.
The Rematch – Ali v. Liston in 1965
Ali knocked out Liston in the first round of their rematch in Lewiston, Maine – there was significant debate over whether Liston took a dive. Ali retained his title.