Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers who ever lived, has died aged 74.
Ali, who had valiantly battled with Parkinson’s disease for 32 years, passed away after complications arising from a respiratory problem.
The People’s Champion produced myriad wonderful moments in an illustrious career. His charisma, in and out of the ring, helped make him a boxing legend.
Below are five of the fights that cemented his legacy.
ALI vs JOE FRAZIER – THE THRILLER IN MANILA (1975)
Having lost the first fight and won the second installment of boxing’s greatest heavyweight trilogy, Ali claimed overall victory in a gruelling fight in Manila. Ali described the beating he took by Frazier during the fight as “the closest thing to death” he had experienced but he picked himself up and handed out three brutal rounds in 12, 13 and 14. Frazier’s trainer would not let him out for the 15th.
ALI vs GEORGE FOREMAN – RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE (1974)
At seven years the junior of Ali, undefeated Foreman was the favourite to take home the victory in Kinshasa, Zaire (now DR Congo). Sure enough, Foreman came out to attack, with Ali favouring a counter-punching approach that quickly saw his opponent tire. In the eighth round, Ali went in for the kill and a quickfire combination left Foreman on the ground. He couldn’t get to his feet, much to the delight of a partisan crowd who has been backing Ali from the start.
ALI vs SONNY LISTON – MIAMI (1964)
Then just a cocky young upstart called Cassius Clay, it was ahead of this fight that he coined the famous phrase “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” at a weigh in that journalists at the time said “defied belief”. Liston was expected to put Clay in his place but the loudmouth from Louisville demonstrated superior speed and at the end of the seventh round, retired and handed over the world heavyweight championship.
ALI vs JOE FRAZIER – NEW YORK (1974)
Ali levelled the series at 1-1 with a points victory in New York. Frazier had lost his world title to George Foreman and was determined to make his mark while Ali, too, was looking for redemption after infamously dodging military service in Vietnam. Ali left Frazier dazed in round two and in an attritional contest emerged victorious on the judges’ decision.
ALI vs EARNIE SHAVERS – NEW YORK (1977)
Coming towards the end of his career (though he still had one world heavyweight title left in him), Ali was predicted to struggle against Shavers, a notoriously powerful puncher. Once again though, Ali defied expectations – after being badly hurt in the second he showed great resilience to take the fight the distance. Ali appeared exhausted in the final round but summoned a final flurry that sealed a points victory.
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Date first dazed Dah with a right uppercut and followed that up with a left hook to knock him down before a right hook sealed the deal.
“It’s been about two years I’ve been waiting for it (this fight) since moving to Dubai,” Date said.
“I’ve come off the back of over 200 amateur fights from the age of 11 to now. It’s been 10, 15 years in the making. I’m just happy to have it done at this stage.
He added: “I just felt my timing with this guy got a lot better. I just started getting a range. The amateur gloves are a lot smaller, so you start learning very fast to punch very hard all of a sudden.”
The other fights saw Nicholas Mwangi TKO Patrick Kalisa in welterweight, Lasisi Aliu beat Payu Sor by unanimous decision in bantamweight and Daniel Emeka earn a split decision over Mohammed Aboubkr in super middleweight.
The Filipino dropped Chansaknoi Sak in the first round of the bantamweight clash to cap the professionally organised boxing event at Ahdaaf Sports Club Friday night.
The knockout over the more experienced Sak was as much a surprise to Abarra as it was to the crowd in attendance expecting a drawn-out battle.
“I just planned to finish all six rounds and to get some points, so I didn’t expect that I was going to kick his a** first round,” said Abarra, who entered with seven professional fights since turning pro in 2010.
“I don’t focus on how many fights I have. I just want to put my attention and mind on the ring. That’s it.”
His winning sequence featured a devastating left hook which caught Sak square in the face and sent him collapsing to the canvas.
“I watched him always moving in his previous fight, so I said to myself to plan in the first round for jabs and a straight hook and it worked,” Abarra said.
The knockout was one of four entertaining early finishes in the event, which was commissioned by PBC (Professional Boxing Commission) International and had the participation of three UAE-based gyms, including Round 10 Boxing Club.
Deo Kizito set the stage for Abarra with his own knockout win against Kosol Sor in the super lightweight division.
The Ugandan pugilist gained steam in the second round when he knocked down Sor before ending with a flurry before the bell.
Kizito then made short work in the third as he finished off his opponent with a crunching left hook.
“In the first round, I was settling in. I wanted to see the way he was moving and how he was punching,” said Kizito, who moved his record to a perfect 8-0. “In the second round, I knew his strong points and weak points. I saw him have his body open, so I was going for the body and then for the head.
“Before the third round, my corner told me I would win this fight, but they were telling me just to understand him, not to rush and don’t go for the knockout. I wanted him to box, but I was ready.”