Conflicting reports as Muhammad Ali, 74, remains hospitalized

By The Sports Xchange  |  June 3, 2016 at 8:19 PM
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Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali remained in a Phoenix hospital on Friday due to a respiratory issue.

Ali, 74, was admitted to the hospital Thursday, according to a statement issued by his publicist, Bob Gunnell.

Gunnell stated Ali was in fair condition on Friday morning when he spoke to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

There was been no update as of mid-Friday afternoon despite a slew of speculation that Ali's condition had worsened.

Gunnell told the Courier-Journal that a "media frenzy" ensues each time Ali is hospitalized.

That certainly was the case on Friday, as a British newspaper published an article saying Ali was on life support. The report caused a social media circus as the story was repeatedly passed around to other people.

Ali, who battles Parkinson's disease, has been in failing health in recent years. This is his third known hospitalization in less than two years.

Ali was hospitalized in late 2014 for a bout with pneumonia and again in early 2015 because of a severe urinary tract infection.

He spends most of his time at his home in a Phoenix suburb and is rarely seen in public.

Ali became a big name in 1964 when he was known as Cassius Clay and pulled off a stunning upset of powerful heavyweight champion Sonny Liston.

He changed his name to Muhammad Ali in 1967 when he joined the Nation of Islam. He refused to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, was found guilty of draft evasion and was stripped of his title.

Ali eventually returned to boxing and suffered a loss to Joe Frazier in 1971 in one of three memorable fights between the two. Ali won the other two bouts, including the "Thrilla in Manila" in 1975.

In 1973, Ali suffered a stunning defeat when then little-known Ken Norton broke Ali's jaw and won a 12-round split decision.

Ali regained the heavyweight title in 1974 when he defeated George Foreman in the famous rope-a-dope fight in Zaire.

Ali's career began going downhill when he lost to Leon Spinks in 1978. He retired in 1981 after losing a decision to Trevor Berbick.

His career record was 56-5 with 37 wins by knockouts.

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984.

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