Muhammad Ali’S Boxing Record: From Sonny Liston To Larry Holmes


Muhammad Ali had a career record of 56 wins, five losses, and 37 knockouts before his retirement in 1981 at the age of 39.

Often referring to himself as “The Greatest,” Ali was not afraid to sing his own praises. He was known for boasting about his skills before a fight and for his colorful descriptions and phrases. In one of his more famously quoted descriptions, Ali told reporters that he could “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” in the boxing ring.

A few of his more well-known bouts include the following:

Sonny Liston
After winning gold at the 1960 Olympics, Ali took out British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper in 1963. He then knocked out Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964, to become the heavyweight champion of the world.

Joe Frazier
On March 8, 1971, Ali took on Joe Frazier in what has been called the “Fight of the Century.” Frazier and Ali went toe-to-toe for 14 rounds before Frazier dropped Ali with a vicious left hook in the 15th. Ali recovered quickly, but the judges awarded the decision to Frazier, handing Ali his first professional loss after 31 wins.

After suffering a loss to Ken Norton, Ali beat Frazier in a rematch on January 28, 1974.


In 1975, Ali and Frazier locked horns again for their grudge match on October 1 in Quezon City, Philippines. Dubbed the “Thrilla in Manila,” the bout nearly went the distance, with both men delivering and absorbing tremendous punishment. However, Frazier’s trainer threw in the towel after the 14th round, giving the hard-fought victory to Ali.


George Foreman
Another legendary Ali fight took place on October 30, 1974, against undefeated heavyweight champion George Foreman. Billed as the “Rumble in the Jungle,” the bout was organized by promoter Don King and held in Kinshasa, Zaire.

For once, Ali was seen as the underdog to the younger, massive Foreman, but he silenced his critics with a masterful performance. He baited Foreman into throwing wild punches with his “rope-a-dope” technique, before stunning his opponent with an eighth-round knockout to reclaim the heavyweight title.

Leon Spinks
After losing his title to Leon Spinks on February 15, 1978, Ali defeated him months later in a rematch on September 15. Ali became the first boxer to win the heavyweight championship three times.

Larry Holmes
Following a brief retirement, Ali returned to the ring to face Larry Holmes on October 2, 1980, but was overmatched against the younger champion.

Following one final loss in 1981, to Trevor Berbick, the boxing great retired from the sport at age 39.


Leave a Comment