Pacheco was so concerned about Ali's health by 1977 that he advised Ali to retire from the sport. When the doctor refused, he was forced to leave the boxer's camp. Muhammad Ali Jr. eventually hired Pacheco back in 1981.
Ali announced his retirement on March 8, 1977. He said in a statement: "I am retiring because I want to concentrate on other things besides boxing." But less than a year later, he changed his mind and decided to resume his career.
During an interview with Larry King in October 1978, Ali said, "I may never get out of this thing but I'm not going down without a fight." He added, "If I have to go 12 rounds to decide my title, then I'll go 12 rounds."
Two months after this interview, Ali fought Leon Spinks in Las Vegas. This was supposed to be his final fight but it turned out to be only his retirement match.
Ali returned from retirement on December 31, 1978. The event was called "The Return of the Fiddle" and it took place at New York's Madison Square Garden. Ali beat Spinks in the tenth round of their rematch by using many low blows during that time period.
Ali concentrated on religion and philanthropy after retiring from boxing in 1981, at the age of 39. In 1984, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome, which some stories ascribe to boxing-related injuries, however Ali and his doctor both denied the notion. He died in June 2016 at the age of 74.
Before becoming a world champion boxer, Ali had already achieved fame as one of the greatest boxers of all time. He held the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World for 11 years, from 1965 to 1977. During that period, he won a record number of fights (including majority decisions) against top heavyweights such as George Foreman, Joe Frazier, and Jimmy Ellis. After losing his title to Frazier, who later on defeated him in their famous match called "The Thrilla in Manila", Ali returned to the ring in 1978 and went on to win three more fights before finally hanging up his gloves in 1981.
Off the ring, Ali became an international icon and a political activist, fighting for civil rights during the Black Power movement and supporting Iraq in its war against Iran during the 1980s. He also founded the nonprofit organization The Ali Foundation with the goal of helping underprivileged children around the world.
In addition to his role in promoting racial equality, many other causes have been attributed to Ali.
At the conclusion of his boxing career, he was hindered by a Parkinson's disease-related ailment (a disease of the nervous system that results in shaking and weakness of the muscles). Ali's final bout (one of sixty-one) took place in 1981. He lost that fight via TKO to Larry Holmes.
During his career, Ali boxed more than 500 fights over an eight-year period, winning almost all of them by knockout or decision. His record is 378-0-25 with 36 KOs.
After retiring from boxing, Ali had several successful acting roles, most notably as James Bond in Golden Gun and The Champ vs. Apollo Creed for the title of the world heavyweight champion. In 1992, he was given a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with poverty-stricken children and underprivileged adults through his religion Islam.
In 2004, Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. In 2013, Ali was named to the National Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.
Last but not least, here are some facts about Muhammad Ali: he has been married four times and has nine children. His first marriage was to Veronica Gourley. They divorced in 1972 after only three years of marriage. From 1973 to 1976, he dated Diane Elmore. In 1977, he married Camille "Cissy" Calloway.
Ali became professional shortly after the Olympics in Rome, beginning a new wonderful chapter in his boxing career. He had become a prominent personality across the world by the time he retired in 1981, and his influence had gone beyond athletics into areas such as politics, religion, music, and entertainment. His involvement in these other areas of life will be discussed later.
In 1977, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, an incurable neurological condition that affects the brain's production of dopamine. This caused problems with his speech, movement, and mental capacity. In 1980, he was convicted on charges of draft evasion and spent one year in prison. When he got out, he resumed his role as an activist-turned-religious-leader. He delivered speeches around the country and the world and traveled frequently to Africa, where he promoted peace and understanding between the cultures of the United States and Africa.
In April 1996, at the age of 74, Ali came back from retirement to fight Jeff Parker at the Las Vegas Hilton. The bout was named "The Thrilla in Manila", because both fighters were willing the match up. This fight is considered by many to be the greatest sporting event never seen live. It went the full 12 rounds without a knockdown or a submission, making it a true "fistful of fights". The decision was split between referee Larry Irving and judge Joe Cortez, with each man voting their respective scores off.