In 1966, former professional boxer, Muhammad Ali, knocked out former professional boxer Henry Cooper, in six rounds for the heavyweight boxing title.
Ali boxed professionally from 1959-81 and was known for his outspoken personality. Ali’s record in the ring was 56 wins and 5 losses. 37 of those wins were by knockouts within a total of 61 fights.
Ali started his career by winning the National Golden Gloves Light Heavyweight title and the National Amateur Athletic Union title in 1959. Then he won the National Golden Gloves Light Heavyweight title and the National Amateur Athletic Union title again in 1960 along with competing in the Rome Olympics winning the gold medal in light-heavyweight boxing.
Later in his career, he held the title of World Heavyweight champion from 1964 until 1967. Ali competed until he regained his World Heavyweight Champion title which he held from 1974-to 79.
In 1970, he was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Award for his positive impact and in 1974, he was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year and Fighter of the Year.
Ali retired in 1981 after his last match against former professional boxer Larry Holmes. Later in 1987, he was elected into the Boxing Hall of Fame and in 1990 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. In 1997, he was also awarded the Essence Living Legend Award for his unique and outstanding career.
In his retirement, Ali was very active in philanthropy. Ali supported the Special Olympics and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among other smaller organizations. In 1996, he lit the Olympic cauldron at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, which was a very special moment in sports history.
In 2005, Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, and soon after Obama’s inauguration in 2009, Ali received the President’s Award from the NAACP for his public service efforts.