Unforgotten: Cleveland Williams

Published on 31 March 2023 at 15:11

Cleveland Williams was a professional boxer who dominated the sport in the 1950s and 1960s. He was known for his power and speed, which helped him win numerous fights throughout his career.

Williams was born on June 5, 1933, in Griffin, Georgia. He grew up in a poor family but was always interested in sports. He played baseball and basketball in high school, but it was boxing that caught his attention.

Williams began boxing when he was just 16 years old. He trained with various coaches and quickly became a talented fighter. He started fighting professionally in 1951 and won his first 17 fights, all by knockout.

Williams' reputation continued to grow, and he fought many top boxers, including Archie Moore, Sonny Liston, Bob Baker, and Ernie Terrell. Williams' biggest fight came in 1964 against Muhammad Ali, who was then known as Cassius Clay.

The fight took place in Houston, Texas, and was highly anticipated. Williams was considered one of the best heavyweights in the world, and many believed he would give Ali a tough fight. However, Ali was too quick and skilled, and he defeated Williams in three rounds.

Despite the loss, Williams continued to fight and had a successful career. He retired in 1972 with a record of 78 wins (58 by knockout), 13 losses, and one draw. He is still considered one of the best heavyweight boxers of his era.

Unfortunately, Williams' life had a tragic end. In 1999, he was shot and paralyzed from the waist down during a robbery at a gas station. He died three years later from complications related to his injuries. This was his second time being shot. The first nearly ended his boxing career.

Despite the sad ending to his life, Cleveland Williams will always be remembered as a great boxer who left a lasting impact on the sport.

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