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Muhammad Ali
The 5 boxers who defeated Muhammad Ali. Photo/ The Irish Times.
  • Muhammad Ali is undoubtedly one of the greatest boxers of all time. The legend was one of the most significant sports figures of the 20th century. 
  • In a career that spanned more than 20 years, Muhammad Ali only lost five times. He retired with a pro boxing record of 56-5. 
  • The legendary Joe Fraizer, popularly known as Smokin Joe, is among the few boxers who defeated Muhammad Ali in the ring. 

There are only five boxers who defeated Muhammad Ali in a career that spanned more than 20 years. However, the losses do not mar his legacy.

Muhammad Ali is widely recognized as one of the greatest boxers of all time. He is up there in the rankings alongside the likes of Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali knocking down an opponent. Photo/The Washington Post

During his fighting days, Muhammad Ali only took on the best. He began training as an amateur boring at the age of 12 and turned professional at 19.

The legendary boxer was known for his trash-talking, provocative and outlandish persona. He retired with a professional boxing record of 56 wins and five losses.

Who Defeated Muhammad Ali? 

1. Joe Fraizer – 1971 

Joe Fraizer, nicknamed Smokin Joe, is one of the few boxers who defeated Muhammad Ali in the ring. In fact, he was the first boxer to defeat Ali while he was still in his prime.

Joe Fraizer and Muhammad Ali fought at Madison Square Garden on March 7, 19671. Ali began well, as expected, by dominating the fight.

However, Fraizer would later show his tremendous power and defensive skills in the later stages of the fight. He dropped Ali with a left hook to the jaw in the 15th round, which would earn him more points from the judges.

Despite the fact that Muhammad Ali got back on his feet, he lost the fight on the cards. The fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Fraizer in 1971 is widely recognized as one of the greatest fights of all time.

Muhammad Ali took his revenge on Fraizer when they fought again in 1974 and 1975.

2. Ken Norton – 1973 

Ken Norton had difficulty in finding high-profile boxers to fight time. And at the time Ali agreed to fight him, he had a boxing record of 29-1.

Ali and Norton stepped into the ring on March 31, 1973, in San Diego, California. Ken Norton wanted to show the world that he was one of the best, so he stepped into the San Diego Sports Arena ring with the aim of winning.

He broke Muhammad Ali’s jaw in the second round of the fight and emerged victorious after 12 hard rounds.

The two legends met again six months later in a fight won by Ali. In 1976, Ali defeated Ken Norton once again to show the world he was the best.

3. Leon Spinks – 1978

Muhammad Ali went on a winning streak after his loss to Ken Norton. However, his winning streak came to a halt on February 15, 1978, when he faced Leon Spinks in Les Vegas, Nevada. 

At that time, Leon Spinks had just seven pro fights under his belt. He put on an impressive performance and became the first man to claim a title from Ali after a split-decision victory. 

However, Muhammad Ali claimed back his title in a rematch seven months after winning easily. 

4. Larry Holmes – 1980 

Larry Holmes turned professional in 1973 and recorded wins over the likes of Ken Norton and Earnie Shavers. He was seven years younger than Ali and in good shape when they met at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. 

Holmes dominated the fight against Muhammad Ali, who had returned to the ring after announcing his retirement from pro boxing. 

Holmes made a name for himself as one of the boxers who defeated Muhammad Ali after earning a stoppage in the tenth round. 

5. Trevor Berbick – 1981

After his loss to Larry Holmes, Muhammad Ali stepped into the ring once more and took on Trevor Berbick at Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, Nassau. 

Trevor Berbick had turned professional five years earlier and had also lost a fight to Larry Holmes. When he met Ali, it was an uneven fight which Berbick won by unanimous decision. 

The former WBC heavyweight champion made a name for himself by being the last and one of the few boxers who defeated Muhammad Ali. 

Muhammad Ali

Trevor and Muhammad Ali in action. Photo/ The Irish Times.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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