1964: Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston
Even though he was Olympic Champion with a 19-0 record, Clay entered the ring as an underdog against Sonny Liston. He minced no word entering the match, calling the heavyweight champ an “ugly, old bear.” After taking the heavyweight title in six rounds, he proclaimed, “I SHOOK UP THE WORLD!” (36:00 mark)
After the fight, he became a Black Muslim, changing his name from Clay to Mohammad Ali.
1965: Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston
The rematch didn’t last long. In the first minute of the first round, Ali’s memorable knockout created one of the most iconic images in all of sports.
1971: Ali vs. Frazier I, “The Fight of the Century”
While Ali was in exile for refusing to fight in Vietnam, Joe Frazier rose to the top of the boxing world. With two legitimate claims for the heavyweight title, the two took it to the card in Madison Square Garden. Ali lost in a unanimous decision after being knocked down in the 15th round.
1974: Ali/Frazier II
Before Ali avenged his loss to Frazier, they hyped the fight together on The Dick Cavett Show.
Even though he lost the previous fight, he knew he was going to win the second fight. And he did.
1974: Ali vs. Foreman, “The Rumble in the Jungle”
If there’s one fight you rematch today, let it be this one. After Foreman took the title from Frazier, Frazier sat ringside for the broadcast where force met finesse.
One jaw-dropping example.
– Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) June 4, 2016
But the entire fight is worth watching. You won’t be disappointed.
1975: Ali/Frazier III, “The Thrilla in Manila”
The rubber match between the longtime rivals is a bloody one in the Philippines, but Ali outlasts Frazier who could not return to the ring for the 15th round.
1978: Ali vs. Leon Spinks II
After losing the heavyweight title to the 1976 Olympic Champion, Ali sought revenge from the young Leon Spinks. At 36 years old, Ali took it to the card to win an unprecedented third heavyweight championship in a unanimous decision.
Ali tried to hang up the gloves as the World Champion, but was enticed out of retirement two more times for two more losses. In 61 career fights he had a 56-5 record.