30 years ago today, Muhammad Ali, generally considered the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time, was inducted into Ring Magazine’s Hall of Fame.
Ali’s induction into the Hall of Fame was a significant capstone for a fighter who was as impactful outside of the ring as he was uncompromising inside of it. Throughout his lifetime, the Louisville native served as a champion for human rights, particularly those of African-Americans. From refusing induction into the United States Army in 1967 to changing his name to reflect his Islamic beliefs, Muhammad Ali was the embodiment of the Black man who chose to live life exactly how he saw fit, no matter the repercussions.
From 1960 to 1978, Ali would dominate the heavyweight ranks like no other. He captured the heavyweight title three times, the first and only heavyweight fighter to do so, scoring significant wins over other Hall of Fame inductees Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman.
Ring Magazine, regrettably, was not always as prepared to recognize Ali’s accolades. In December of last year, Ring retroactively named Ali its Fighter of the Year for 1966, after refusing to do so back then, largely based on Ali’s non-support of the Vietnam War, as well as his alliance with the Nation of Islam. Michael Rosenthal, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, stated: “We can see the injustice by today’s standards even if we take issue with some of things Ali said and did.”
After Ring’s misstep in ’66, Ali made it extremely difficult for the magazine, which refers to itself as the “Bible of Boxing,” to further deny his prowess. He would go on to be named Ring’s Fighter of the Year for 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1978.
Ali’s induction into Ring Magazine’s Hall of Fame commemorates a storied career that includes 56 professional wins, multiple heavyweight championships, an Olympic gold medal, and induction into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.