CLEVELAND WILLIAMS/MUHAMMAD ALI
Houston Astrodome, TX
November 14, 1966
Ali won a 3rd round TKO
About Cleveland Williams
Born June 6, 1933 in Griffin, GA
Died September 3, 1999
Career record: 78 wins (58 KO), 13 defeats, 1 draw
Williams became a professional boxer in 1951 and during his career, fought the best heavyweights of his era. He's best known for his two brutal bouts with Sonny Liston and his heavyweight championship match-up with Ali. Liston said he was the hardest puncher he'd ever fought. A Ring Magazine poll rated Williams one of the best boxers who never won a title.
After suffering gunshot wounds by a police officer in an incident that began with a simple traffic stop, Williams was inactive for all of 1965 as he recovered. Williams barely survived the .357 Magnum bullet that pierced his abdomen. He suffered permanent kidney damage as a result and lost over ten feet of small intestine. In addition, his left leg was atrophied due to nerve damage caused by the bullet wound. Yet, in this condition, he fought Ali for the championship crown, but was stopped in the third round.
By the time he reached his sixties, his kidneys had failed and he needed regular dialysis. On his way to the hospital for treatment, he was knocked over by a hit-and-run car as he was crossing the street and died from his injuries.