Muhammad Ali was never knocked out in his wonderful 21-year professional career. He was however knocked down and sent to the canvas 4 times. But do you know who by?

Read below to find out and watch the knockdowns too…

1. Sonny Banks

The first time Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) was ever knocked down was by Sonny Banks in the first round of their fight in 1962. It was just Ali’s 11th fight in the pro ranks, headlining at Madison Square Garden, New York.

The warning signs were there for Ali having being caught with a few solid left hooks in the opening minute and it just so proved to be the punch that sent him to the canvas.

Ali went on to stop Banks in the fourth round, the exact round he predicted that he would knock him out.


2. Henry Cooper

Ali was knocked down for the second time by British fighter Henry Cooper at the end of the fourth round in 1963. Ali’s casual approach left him open and he was caught with a beautiful left hook that sent him flying into the ropes. Luckily for Ali, the ropes provided a cushioned landing, and just a few seconds after he hit the canvas, the bell sounded which prevented the opportunity for Cooper to try and finish the job.

It was clear the American was shaken up and confused during the interval. Fans witnessed him attempting to stand up from his stool well before the bell had sounded for the next round. If Cooper’s left hook had arrived 30 seconds earlier, history may have been so different for the ‘Greatest of All Time’.

Nevertheless, Cassius stopped Cooper by TKO in the very next round, and again, the exact round (the fifth) that he predicted he would finish him. Ali’s very next bout saw him win the heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in February 1964.

3. Joe Frazier 

The third time Ali would hit the canvas was in the 15th and final round of his comeback title fight against Joe Frazier in March of 1971… and you guessed it – another left hook!

Billed as the ‘Fight of the Century’, it was the first time ever that two undefeated boxers fought each other for the heavyweight crown.

Ali would lose the decision as well as his first fight. Nevertheless, He would beat Frazier the next two times they fought and Frazier would never come close to knocking Ali down again.


4. Chuck Wepner

The fourth and final time Ali would be “knocked down” was actually a slip.

In 1975, Ali fought a journeyman fighter named Chuck Wepner. It was his first fight since beating George Foreman in Zaire to regain the world championship crown. The Wepner bout was the fight that inspired the movie, Rocky.

In the ninth round, Chuck stepped on Ali’s foot and landed a nice right hook to the body which resulted in Ali falling back and onto the canvas. Images and instant replay confirmed this, however, the referee missed it and so it was officially scored a knockdown. Ali subsequently knocked out Wepner in the 15th and final round, flooring him three times. Ali would never be knocked down again.



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