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Muhammad Ali And The Art Of Boxing

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Table of contents

  1. The History Of Boxing
  2. Notable Boxing Fighters
  3. Notable Boxing Fights

The art of Boxing is one of the most widely practiced ideals/sports to date. Boxing is one of the biggest sports amongst almost every generation as it is still relevant today with Pay-Per-View charts being topped in some of its biggest events. Having been raised around the sport with the large Armenian diaspora in Southern California being heavily involved in the practice, through personal experience and witnessing some of the most significant events in the sport with those events providing me with a sense of what the sport has to offer along with several encyclopedias and research provided in the works cited. The history of both amateur and professional boxing, the fighters who shaped the sport in all the best and worst ways, and the fights created by some of the worlds’ greatest contenders will all be explored.

The History Of Boxing

Boxing has been around for over 100 years and has had all the proper rules and regulations put in place to ensure as minimal repercussions as possible while reaping major health benefits in some areas in the process. “Boxing, athletic contest between two persons, each of whom uses their fists to render an opponent unable to continue… ”. There is no national commission to control or regulate the sport of boxing due to its increase in popularity. “… since 1920, when New York adopted the so-called Walker Law to rectify certain abuses, regularize the apportionment of prize money, and establish a state boxing commission.” Professional boxing under commissions has been ongoing since 1920 and have since expanded their divisions. “Professional boxers compete in 17 divisions classified by weight, while for decades only eight divisions were recognized.” The founding and establishment of these organizations ranges from 1920 to 1988 with divisions being added over time. “The divisions are (according to the WBA, WBC, and IBF), with maximum weight in pounds (kilograms): minimum weight, 105 (48); light flyweight, 108 (49); flyweight, 112 (51); super flyweight, 115 (52); bantamweight, 118 (54); super bantamweight, 122 (55); featherweight, 126 (57); super featherweight, 130 (59); lightweight, 135 (61); super lightweight, 140 (64); welterweight, 147 (67); super welterweight, 154 (70); middleweight, 160 (73); super middleweight, 168 (76); light heavyweight, 175 (79); cruiserweight, 200 (91); and heavyweight, 201 and over” (See figure A-1). Most prominent organizations in the boxing world include the WBO, WBO , WBA, and IBF. Within these rankings, the establishment of rules differed and had to be relative to the classes.

The rules of boxing are dependent upon the professionalism of the sport itself with amatuer and professional both sharing rules and also having individual rules. The amatuer rules are as follows. “All fighters must wear helmets and head guards. Women wear breast guards and men wear protectors.” Upon a loss, you are eliminated from the boxing bout. “To make it quick for judges to distinguish between combatants, all fighters wear the colours of their corner — either red or blue.” A boxing ring measures roughly six meters. “Points are awarded for a blow landed with force by the knuckle part of the glove to the front of the head and front of the body down to the waist.” A boxer is unable to score while holding onto either the rope of his opponent. Amateurs of the highest degree fight in bouts lasting two-minutes per round for four rounds. Some general boxing rules are as follows. The maximum number of rounds typically in championship bouts is 12 rounds. “ … system of scoring points to decide winners of contests that do not end in knockouts …” A Technical Knockout (TKO) occurs when a combatant is unable to respond to the bell of the next round and continue the bout. Knockouts are considered when one can no longer defend themselves. These rules are set in place in order to ensure that no athlete is under and possible health risks or is exposed to any potential health risks.

Boxing reaps many benefits surprisingly such as strong cardio skills and stronger bones.

“RMIT experts believe the intense upper-body exercises adopted by boxers are among the most effective bone strengthening activities.” Boxing drills are a good way to get the blood flowing through the heart. “… if you follow some simple procedures, you can build stamina, tone your muscles and burn calories.” Boxing works all of the bodys’ muscles. “ … boxers are some of the most highly conditioned athletes competing in sports today …” Boxing provides intense workouts taking a lot of energy to get by. The health benefits of boxing are some of the main reasons that even some professional fighters took up the sport, as silly as it may sound.

Notable Boxing Fighters

Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on January 18, 1942. “He legally changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he was 21 years old.” In his youth, Ali worked as a sign painter to help his family get by. He resided in Louisville, Kentucky for most of his youth. “Not quite yet 13 years old, Cassius began his boxing career as a skinny 112-pound novice.” For each amatuer appearence, he earned four dollars which was a lot of money in 1955. “Before long, he had won 161 amateur fights out of 167,” In 1958, Clay/Ali won his first national Golden Glove Tournament match making it to the final rounds. “By the time Cassius entered Central High School, he was a seasoned amateur boxer as well as a student.” He qualified for the 1960 U.S Olympic Boxing Team as a light heavyweight. “The championship bout in the 1960 Olympics was fought on September 5.” Ali won by unanimous decision with a score of 5-0 after cutting his opponent over the eye. “Clay fought eight bouts in 1961 and six in 1962, averaging a fight every seven weeks.” Of those bouts, he went on an absolute tear for 12 of them with those 12 bouts ending in knockout. Ali went on to dominate the boxing world and make waves in the modern world. “Ali has left a lasting legacy to America: the strong, positive image of black America that he has always insisted on presenting to the world.” His presence in the sport of Boxing is a sheer reminder that anyone can make a difference in this world.

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Floyd Mayweather is the next notable fighter being one of the most influential fighters of the 21st century. “Mayweather was born on Feb. 24, 1977, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.” Mayweather comes from a boxing family with his father and two uncles having all been professional boxers. Mayweather came from a life of poverty in his younger days. “ He began boxing as an amateur while a teenager and won national Golden Gloves championships in 1993, 1994, and 1996.” In the 1998 Olympic games, Mayweather won a bronze medal for competing in its featherweight division. “… losing in the semifinals in a controversial decision. He turned professional later that year.” As a pro, Mayweather won 50 bouts with his final fight being in 2017 against Conor McGregor. “Mayweather won 27 of his fights by knockouts.” In his final bout in 2017, Mayweather announced he would be retiring from the sport. “He won world titles in 5 weight classes, or divisions, from 130 pounds (59 kilograms) to 154 pounds (70 kilograms).” In 2011, after assaulting the mother of his children he was sentenced to 90 days in a jail on charges of domestic violence making his personal life pave the way for him to become a controversial figure. “He served two months of the sentence.” Regardless of his shortcomings, Floyd Mayweather served as an integral part to the massive growth of the sport of boxing from both a fiscal approach and a societal approach.

Mike Tyson, arguably the most controversial fighter, came from nothing but shortcomings and became one of the best fighters to date (See Figure B-3). At 14 years young, Tyson was in the custody of boxing manager who became his legal guardian who was under the name Cus D’ Amato. “Born June 30, 1966, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Tyson was a gang member and youthful offender who learned to box in juvenile detention facilities.” Under D’ Amato, Tyson went on to fight in the Golden Glove amateur boxing championship of 84. “Tyson scored knockouts against Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks in 1988, and successfully defended his titles to remain champion…” In February of 1990, Buster Douglas won over Mike Tyson in a huge upset win. Tyson went on a series of wins shortly after even seeing himself as the youngest champ in the heavyweight division at the age of 20 after beating WBC champion Trevor Berbick following up with wins over James Smith and Tony Tucker to win the WBA and IBF titles. “Tyson’s personal problems, meanwhile, had intensified. In 1989 he was convicted of raping a beauty pageant contestant…” As a result he was sent to prison and stripped of his license to box. In March of 1995, Tyson reacquired his boxing license reclaiming his WBC title and was once again able to box. “In November 1997 Tyson faced Holyfield in Las Vegas, Nev., in a rematch, but he was disqualified in the third round for biting Holyfield twice in the ears.” Tyson was fined three million dollars, banned from the sport, and revoked of his boxing license for the meantime. “Tyson was relicensed; he returned to the ring, but spent several months in prison after a 1998 conviction for assaulting two elderly men…” Tyson’s career as a boxer was declining and in June of 2005, after losing three of his final four fights, he called it a career with fifty career wins and six losses. “In 2012 and 2013, Tyson toured the United States in a one-man stage show based on his life.” In 2013, Tyson published a book titled, Undisputed Truth , which is an autobiography on his life. Without these fighters, some of the most notable and iconic fights in combat sports history would never occur.

Notable Boxing Fights

As of recently, Canelo vs GGG was one of the biggest fights in modern boxing history. “Two of the best pound-for-pound fighters, the two most dangerous middleweights and two exciting fighters with loyal fanbases.” Both fighters were bound to fight at times near the peaks of their career in their upcoming bout. “Canelo-Golovkin, Mexico’s finest against Kazakhstan’s concrete warrior …” Canelo, aged 26, a strong, aggressive, and fast fighter fighting out of Mexico while Golovkin, a fearsome, strong, and fast 35 year old fighter out of Kazakhstan. “He(GGG) is unbeaten in 37 professional contests, and it is a mark of his brilliance that people saw a unanimous 12-round victory over his last opponent…” In a 12 round bout, Canelo won and became the pride of Mexico. “Canelo-Golovkin bucks that trend: two of the world’s best, going at it while they are on top of their game…”To the modern world, this bout shaped international boxing.

Years prior to Canelo vs GGG was the contest between Arturo Gatti and “Irish” Mickey Ward. Boxing Trilogy between Arturo Gatti (Nicknamed “Thunder”) and Micky Ward(Nicknamed“Irish”) “… three-fight saga brought them pugilistic glory and million-dollar paydays at terrible physical and psychic cost” Gatti, a reckless man, in and out of the ring, was the talk of the sport given his natural ability to box and his good looking figure. “Ward, less talented, won acclaim for a relentless attacking style that made him a crowd favorite.” Both Ward and Gatti were in the back end of their primes when they fought for the first time. “…Ward … became a national celebrity with the film The Fighter, which was based on his tumultuous life in hardscrabble Lowell, Mass., and received seven Oscar nominations.” Six years after their fight trilogy had ended, Gatti was found dead in Brazil after an alleged suicide. “(Ward)However, no amount of financial compensation could make up for his shattered hand, blurred vision, and damaged brain.” With the sport of boxing having a lot of pros and minimal cons, this bout proved that those cons, however small, can be devastating.

The final notable bout is the trilogy bettween Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. “…the greatest rivalry in the history of individual human combat was the three-fight trilogy staged by Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier from 1971-75.” This fight is the very definition of brutal sports, especially in boxing. Taken into consideration alongside David and Goliath. “In his prime, Ali was regarded as the best-known figure in the world, sporting or otherwise, and the humble Frazier served as his perfect foil.” By March 8, 1971, Ali had become a cultural icon prior to the first fight. “The former Cassius Clay stepped into the spotlight as a brash figure whose celebration of his good looks and his success in the ring empowered African-Americans…” Upon changing his name to Muhammad Ali, he converted to Islam and with Frazier supporting his decision, there were still grounds for a rivalry. First fight took place at the Garden with icons like Frank Sinatra at ringside with an estimated purse of 5 million for the bout. “Ali started quickly, but Frazier pressed a withering body attack in the middle rounds and clearly staggered Ali with a left hook in the 11th…” Frazier had a minor lead and eventually won the bout by unanimous decision by dropping Ali with a left hook in the final round. January 28, 1974 was the date of the second bout. By the second bout, Frazier had lost his title to George Foreman and Ali had beat Frazier using his speed to show dominance with no knockdowns at any part of the fight. “Ali regained the heavyweight title in his next fight with Foreman, and four fights later, he met Frazier on Oct. 1, 1975, in their third bout known as the Thrilla in Manila.” Ali threw slurs of insults, even calling Frazier a gorilla making Frazier hungrier than ever for the win. Understanding that this contest was no joke, Ali wrecked havoc over Joe Frazier throwing any possible combination in the book “…Frazier’s left eye was a slit by the 11th round, and by the 14th, his right eye nearly was swollen shut, too.” Ali referred to these bouts vs Frazier as near death experiences. This rivalry proved that all malice was left in the ring and that the sport of boxing holds all accountable of their words, especially Muhammad Ali.

The sport of boxing has added a tremendous amount of positivity to the world from its historical origins, complex rules, and surprising health benefits to its incredible athletes and icons it produces to finally the matchups which shape the world both fiscally and metaphorically. The reason to keep and remember boxing is because it is an integral part of society’s shift into professional sports and without boxing then brute force and combat sports would not nearly have as much regulation and damage would be collateral. The next time one watches a match of boxing, he/she must remember they are not just quite literally watching brutal combat but watching the showcase of skills and a rare form of art being practiced which may not be present years later.

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Muhammad Ali And The Art Of Boxing. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
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