By Ken Hissner: There have been at least four records accredited to Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali’s amateur record 134-7; 137-7; 100-5, and 99-8. Since this writer came up with eight losses possibly, the last was more accurate.
I want to thank Henry Hascup, President of the New Jersey VBA, the best Historian I know, sent me Clay’s amateur record.
Ali had his first amateur fight on November 12, 1954, defeating Ronnie O’Keefe in Louisville. His first loss was to James Davis on February 4, 1955, in the Louisville #118 Novice Golden Gloves Tournament at age 13.
Three of his opponents he had beaten defeated him in their second meeting. The first was John Hampton on July 28, 1955, after defeating Hampton a week earlier, both in Louisville.
Ali’s next loss was on July 6, 1957, losing to Donnie Hall after having defeated him the month before and the month after. He repeated with wins in October and November, all in Louisville. Hall would turn professional in 1959, winning his first three fights before losing and retiring.
On September 7th, Ali was stopped in the first round on a cut eye by Terry Hodge in Louisville. The following month he lost his rematch to Jimmy Ellis by split decision on October 12th. He had defeated Ellis on August 30th.
Ellis would win the WBA heavyweight title in a round-robin tournament in 1968 when Ali was in exile from boxing. Ellis would lose to Ali in the professional ranks in 1971 for the NABF title when both were not world champions at the time.
In 1958 Ali was stopped by a technical decision in the second round to Kent Green in the Chicago Tournament of Champions. Green turned professional in 1959, winning his first seven fights ending his career 13-2 in 1969.
In 1959 at the Pan American Games, Ali lost after winning three fights to southpaw Marine Amos Johnson who ended up in the pros with a 24-9-2 record.
Ali won the AAU National title in 1959 and 1960 in Toledo, OH. Prior to the Olympic Trials in San Francisco, CA, in 1960, he lost to Marine Percy Price in the heavyweight division. He would drop to light heavyweight and win the trials.
In the trials, he beat Henry Hooper KO3, Fred Lewis W3, and Allen Hudson KO3. In the Rome Olympics, he defeated Yvon Because (Belgium) RSC2, Gennady Shatkov (USSR) W3 (5-0), Tony Madigan (Australia) W3 (5-0), and Zbignuew Pietrzykowski (Poland) W3 (5-0) for the Gold Medal.
His trainers were Joe Martin and Fred Stoner.
His teammates The Army’s Eddie Crook lost to Wilber “Skeeter” McClure at 156 but made the team at 165. Ali, Crook, and McClure all won Olympic Gold Medals in Rome, Italy, in 1960. While Price won a Bronze Medal.
Price and Crook never turned pro but made careers in the military. McClure would turn pro and end up with a 24-8-1 record.
Ali would turn pro go 56-5 with 37 stoppages in winning the world heavyweight title a record three times. The rest is history. Was it was Ali or Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis who was the best heavyweight in boxing history? What’s your opinion?