Muhammad Ali: Life and Legend Quiz


By: Tasha Moore

7 Min Quiz

Image: ESPN

About This Quiz

We'll be impressed if you have the boxing history wits that it takes to contend with these rare Muhammad Ali facts. American icon Muhammad Ali was "The Greatest" boxer of all time. Honor the legend and his contributions to the sport of boxing; prove your comprehension of the wins and losses of Muhammad Ali's life.

Taking a jab at some Ali trivia shouldn't be too difficult for anyone, whether you follow boxing or not. Muhammad Ali was one of the first athletes whose exquisite talents matched his mouth. He was an ultra-famous entertainment powerhouse, as well as one of the most gifted fighters that ever hit the boxing ring. Though he did not come from poverty, Ali had a lot to prove socially and personally. From his battle with dyslexia to his fight with Parkinson's disease and all his career bouts in between, Muhammad Ali shared some of his trials publicly and attempted to obscure others. It was the good paired with the bad that made him the walking contradiction that America loved to hate when he refused to serve in the military before his country grew to adore him for most of his post-boxing years.

Shuffle through this quiz to behold Muhammad Ali's fascinating life one more time. 

Do you recall the technique that Muhammad Ali used against George Foreman during their fight in Africa?

On October 30, 1974, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali reigned victorious in his Zaire, Africa fight against George Foreman. George succumbed to Ali's rope-a-dope mastery in the eighth round. Ali returned to America on Friday, November 2, 1974, to cheering crowds at Chicago's Midway Airport.


Do you know what neurological disorder Muhammad Ali developed later in his life?

Diagnosed with the illness at age 42, Muhammad Ali had long been an advocate in the fight against Parkinson's disease, a debilitating disorder of the central nervous system. With his wife Lonnie, Ali co-founded the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona in November 2005.


Whom did Muhammad Ali fight while in Zaire, Africa?

Muhammad Ali touched ground at N'Djili airport in Kinshasa, Zaire on September 11, 1974, for his momentous fight against challenger George Foreman, who was described as the biggest man on the planet. Ali and Foreman squared off during a WBA/WBC championship match.


What learning disorder affected Muhammad Ali's reading comprehension?

Though Muhammad Ali was a wordsmith in the public eye, he was dyslexic, a condition that impaired his reading comprehension. In high school, Ali scored at the bottom of his class, and he scored low on the U.S. Army's aptitude exam.


Select the 24-year-old boxer who defeated Muhammad Ali on national television in 1978.

Leon Spinks shocked the boxing world by defeating Muhammad Ali for the World Heavyweight Championship on February 15, 1978. Ali won a follow-up bout against Spinks in a unanimous 15-round decision on September 16, 1978, at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Do you know who Muhammad Ali fought in February 1973?

Muhammad Ali faced British and European Heavyweight Champion Joe Bugner in a 12-round heavyweight battle held on February 14, 1973, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ali secured the win on a points decision unanimously.


Which American civil rights leaders did Muhammad Ali call a friend and mentor at one point?

Eventually, Muhammad Ali would sever his ties with Malcolm X after the civil rights leader fell out with Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, but Ali had treated Malcolm X like his big brother. Malcolm X was a big boxing fan, and Ali admired the self-improvement philosophies Malcolm echoed.


Do you know which famous sports journalist among the options appeared to be close friends with Muhammad Ali in public?

Though Howard Cosell defended Muhammad Ali's right to flex political dissent, Cosell was criticized for not publicly supporting Ali's claim as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War draft. Ali and Cosell are known to have engaged in vocal sparring matches about many issues.


ID the challenger who knocked Muhammad Ali down in the boxing ring in 1971.

Muhammad Ali's 1971 fight with Joe Frazier is perhaps one of the most celebrated moments in boxing history. Although Frazier knocked Ali down with a brutal left hook at one point, the vicious fight ended with a defeated Ali still standing.


Choose the medal that the International Olympic Committee gave Muhammad Ali at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.

International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded Muhammad Ali the gold medal during a halftime ceremony at the men's basketball finals. The medal was meant to replace the lost one that Ali had won during the Olympic Games in 1960.


How easy is it for you to remember the car Muhammad Ali purchased as soon as he turned pro?

Muhammad Ali's second-hand car was more of a reward for turning pro from his 11 monied Louisville investors. It's rumored that Ali paid his secret crush, gold-medal sprinter Wilma Rudolph, a surprise visit in the car at her school, Tennessee State University.


Muhammad Ali petitioned the U.S. draft board to excuse his obligation for military service during the Vietnam War based on what?

Muhammad Ali formally cited his religious convictions as a new convert to Islam when he refused to be drafted. Informally, however, the boxer referenced social and racial disparities as additional reasons for his refusal to fight the war in Vietnam.


Do you know what occupation Muhammad Ali proudly assumed after his retirement?

Muhammad Ali was heavily involved with many organizations, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Ali had been most intricately active with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center and the Muhammad Ali Center.


How well do you recognize the boxer who broke Muhammad Ali's jaw in 1973?

Ex-marine Ken Norton broke Muhammad Ali's jaw during their 12-round heavyweight fight held at the Sports Arena on March 31, 1973, in San Diego, California. Ken Norton ultimately won the match by split decision.


Muhammad Ali appeared on many television programs. Do you see one of them among the choices?

Muhammad Ali appeared on "The Johnny Carson Show" several times. Ali once expressed his appreciation for the talk show host, saying, "I get along with Johnny Carson. He speaks nice, he asks me nice questions, he treats me like a man, calls me by my name, Muhammad Ali."


What political term did Muhammad Ali invoke when he refused to be drafted during the Vietnam War?

The United States draft board denied Muhammad Ali's petition to be classified as a conscientious objector. Muhammad Ali had refused induction into the United States military in 1967.


Muhammad Ali retained his heavyweight title against which contender on November 22, 1965?

The Muhammad Ali versus Floyd Patterson fight took place on November 22, 1965, in Las Vegas Nevada. Muhammad Ali, the WBC Heavyweight title holder, secured his rank by TKO during the Convention Center bout.


We'll be impressed if you can guess the name of Muhammad Ali's boxing trainer.

Angelo Dundee was Muhammad Ali's trainer for the champ's entire boxing career. Ali was 16 years old when he met Dundee at the local gym in Louisville, Kentucky where Dundee had trained boxing legends such as Carmen Basilio, Willie Pastrano and Luis Manuel Rodriguez.


How old was Muhammad Ali when he first fought Sonny Liston?

Muhammad Ali defeated Sonny Liston in 1964 to become the heavyweight champion. A big fighter, Liston was known to knock out his opponents. Skeptics had said that a young Ali would get knocked out or even killed. Ali's words before the fight: "Sonny Liston is great, but he'll fall in eight!"


What did the boxing world name the punch that defeated Sonny Liston in 1965?

On May 25, 1965, in Lewiston, Maine, Muhammad Ali shocked the boxing world by dropping his opponent and ending the rematch in less than two minutes into the fight's first round. Shortly after Ali's punch, John Rooney's iconic image of Ali towering over Liston was photographed.


ID Muhammad Ali's daughter, who went on to have a successful boxing career.

When she was 21 years old, Muhammad Ali's daughter Laila won her boxing debut fight against competitor April Fowler by KO in 31 seconds of the first round. Laila Ali is Muhammad Ali's second daughter by his third wife, Veronica Anderson. Laila was seven years old when her parents divorced.


Have you figured out the date when Muhammad Ali passed away?

Muhammad Ali's battle with Parkinson's disease ended when he passed on Friday, June 3, 2016, at the age of 74. Ali's jenazah, or funeral in Arabic, was held on Thursday, June 9, 2016, at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky where the icon defeated Willi Besmanoff in 1961.


In what year did the United States Supreme Court rescind Muhammad Ali's boxing ban for refusing to serve in the military?

Because he refused to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, Muhammad Ali was banned from boxing until the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the U.S. government hadn't properly made its case against him. When Ali was banned, he was stripped of his medals and world champion title.


What social class was Muhammad Ali's family during his childhood?

It's been suggested that Muhammad Ali's signature name calling of his opponents was due to insecurity concerning his middle-class upbringing. As with most boxing successes, Ali's most renowned opponents George Foreman and Joe Frazier, for example, sprung to greatness from poverty.


Have you figured out the year that Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic flame at the Summer Games in Atlanta?

Muhammad Ali was noticeably affected by Parkinson's disease when he climbed the steps to light the Olympic cauldron at the Centennial Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Ali attended the boxing finals at the Games held on Sunday, August 4, 1996.


Name the enterprise that first sponsored Muhammad Ali's professional boxing career?

The Louisville Sponsoring Group was a group of businessmen from Ali's hometown who financed the early days of his career. The businessmen were convinced of Ali's potential after he had won the gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Games and even paid him a monthly salary while they managed him.


At what age did Muhammad Ali step into the boxing ring for the very first time?

Even at a very young age, Muhammad Ali, then known by his birth name Cassius Clay, vowed to be the greatest boxer of all time. A teenaged Cassius Clay defeated neighborhood bully Corky Baker in a fight which greatly helped boost the champion's confidence in the boxing ring after that.


Do you recognize one of Ali's nicknames from the choices?

Muhammad Ali acquired the derisive nickname The Louisville Lip, a name that made light of the boxer's perceived immaturity, especially around the time he won the chance to fight Sonny Liston. At the start of his career in the public eye, Ali felt that bad sportsmanship suited him.


Is it a challenge for you to identify the mega Hollywood actor who portrayed Muhammad Ali in the biopic "Ali"?

Muhammad Ali expressed that he was pleased with Will Smith's performance in the film, which debuted on Christmas Day 2001. Ali said, "He's the only guy in the world who can look like me and act like me."


Cassius Clay changed his name to ________ before he accepted the name Muhammad Ali.

Shortly after Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) joined the Nation of Islam, he changed his name to Cassius X. Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad decided to give Cassius "a greater honor" by giving him the new first and last name Muhammad Ali.


Can you identify the award that Sports Illustrated changed to honor Muhammad Ali?

Sports Illustrated changed the award's name during a dedication ceremony held at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky on October 1, 2015. Ali and his family were in attendance, as well as Larry Holmes, George Foreman and other distinguished guests.


What is the name of Muhammad Ali's wife?

Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie disclosed that the secret to their long and peaceful union was communication. The couple had been married for 30 years before Muhammad Ali died in 2016.


Prove that you know the year when Muhammad Ali received the Liberty Medal.

Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie were in attendance for the honor at the Liberty Medal award ceremony held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on September 13, 2012. Other Liberty Medal recipients include Nelson Mandela and Sandra Day O'Connor.


Do you know the German town where the film "Ali" debuted on Friday, June 28, 2002?

To promote the June 28, 2002, eastern Germany movie screening of "Ali," Muhammad Ali posed and sparred with former German contenders Juergen Blin and Karl Mildenberger. The movie centered on Ali's personal life and controversies that plagued his boxing career.


Which of these women was Muhammad Ali's wife, who earned a black belt in karate?

Khalilah Camacho-Ali earned a black belt in karate when she was only 10 years old. Muhammad Ali and Khalilah were married for 10 years before they divorced in 1977. The couple had four children together.


In what year was Muhammad Ali formally recognized as an Olympic sports legend?

On Wednesday, December 16, 1998, Muhammad Ali had the honor of being the first member of the newly established hall of Olympic spirit legends. In 1999, the complete roster of Olympic heroes was unveiled in Munich, Germany.


What is the name of the famous art director who produced the famous Esquire magazine portrait of Muhammad Ali in 1968?

At the time when Muhammad Ali fielded heavy criticism for objecting to the Vietnam War and refusing to be drafted, George Lois posed Ali in the likeness of St. Sebastian, a Christian martyr who was slain by arrows. At first, Ali objected to the pose for Esquire, considering his conversion to Islam.


Muhammad Ali was punched roughly how many times during his career?

The boxing statistics company CompuBox estimates that Muhammad Ali very likely received roughly 200,000 shots during his boxing career. Speech specialists estimate that between 1970 and 1980, Ali lost approximately 25 percent of his speech.


The first boxing gym that Muhammad Ali used belonged to ________?

It was by accident that Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, discovered boxing clinics for kids in Martin's gym. After someone had stolen Cassius's $50 Schwinn bike, he sought the help of police officer Joe Martin, who had an office and a boxing gym in the basement of the Columbia Auditorium.


Are you aware of the year that Muhammad Ali first started showing signs of brain damage caused by punches he received in the boxing ring?

Muhammad Ali's fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco mentioned that he saw first signs of permanent brain damage in Ali after his first fight with George Frazier in 1971. Ali would continue to fight for 10 more years. By the mid-'70s, Muhammad Ali's parents noticed him mumbling and slurring words.


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