Known as Cassius Clay, the man who always referred to himself as the greatest, started boxing at the age of twelve. Clay fought as an amateur for six years and was victorious in 100 0f his 108 fights. He won the light-heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Games. A great fighter with alot of charisma, Clay beat Sonny Liston on February 24, 1964 to become the World Heavyweight Champion. The following day, Clay told the press that he had become a Black Muslim and had taken the name Muhammad Ali. Ali stirred up alot of controversy in 1967 when he refused induction intothe armed forces and was convicted of draft evasion. He was stripped of his crown, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction, and Ali returned to the ring in 1970. He regained the title by knocking out George Foreman in 1974 in a fight Ali called “the rumble in the jungle.” Ali lost the title to Leon Spinks in 1978, but won it back with a unanimous decision over Spinks in September of that same year. The loquacious athlete always backed up his talking with sharp performances between the ropes. His wins over Liston, Foreman, Spinks, and Joe Frazier were the biggest wins of his career. Ali retired from the ring, but was itching to come back, and he challenged Larry Holmes in 1980 and was beaten.
Rocky Marciano fought 49 fights and had 49 wins. He is the only world champion to complete his career undefeated. At 5’10” and 185 pounds, the Brockton Rock was slower and smaller than mopst heavyweights, but his power, desire and ability to take a punch made him a great ring warrior. A win over former heavyweight champ Joe Louis led to Marciano’s title bout against champion Jersey Joe Walcott. Marciano won the bout on a 13th round knockout in 1952. He successfully dfended his title against Roland LaStarza, Don Cockell, and Ezzard Charles. In the last fight of his career, Marciano dropped light-heavyweight champion Archie Moore three times on his way to a ninth-round knockout. Back pain forced Marciano to retire, and he died tragically in a plane crash in Iowa on August 31, 1969. His death came one day before his 46th birthday.
Mikey picks Muhammad Ali. Who do you pick?