What’s My Name?  ALI

Pure dominance in a boxing match is often frowned upon considering the goal is to be entertained in the spirit of competition.  However there are certain cases when a boxer has a separate agenda and the purpose becomes a personal vendetta against an opponent.  In February of 1967, one Cassius Clay, uh hum, excuse me, Muhammad Ali put together one of the most classic beatdowns in boxing history.

The Build Up

In 1965 Ali was scheduled to fight WBA champion Ernie Terrell, but was stripped of his title after an agreement to fight Sonny Liston in a rematch, leading Terrell to back out.  However Terrell would eventually claim the title defeating Eddie Machen, and hold onto it for the next two years.  After much debate about who was the true champion of the world, the event was set for Ali to face Terrell.  Before the bout, Terrell repeatedly called Ali by his birth name, Cassius Clay.  He explained later that he had known Clay for years in the amateur ranks and hadn't gotten used to calling him another name. Ali took offense to this, as he had in a previous fight with boxing legend Floyd Patterson where Patterson chose to call Ali 'Clay.' Ali said he would punish Terrell as he had punished Patterson. 



The Execution

Ali relentlessly jabbed the 6-foot-6 Terrell while continually shouting, "What's my name, Uncle Tom? What's my name?”

Famous sportswriter Tex Maule aptly described Ali’s mauling as “a wonderful demonstration of boxing skill and a barbarous display of cruelty."


Ali, who famously prevailed over George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974 and Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla in Manila” in 1975, was supposed to bludgeon Terrell in Chicago in March 1966.

However, the Illinois Athletic Commission wouldn’t sanction the bout due to Ali's opposition to the Vietnam War.  Shortly after brutalizing Terrell, “The Greatest” was unjustly stripped of his titles for refusing induction into the United States military based on his religious beliefs.  In response to Ali’s protest, the trailblazer was found guilty on draft evasion charges and barred from boxing until finally being reinstated to resume his career in 1970.