Skip to main content

Muhammad Ali

Boris Chaliapin, 1904 - 1979
Muhammad Ali, 17 Jan 1942 - 3 Jun 2016
Watercolor and graphite pencil on illustration board
Sight (Verified): 35.2 x 24.8 cm (13 7/8 x 9 3/4")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16")
Frame (Verified): 61.3 x 46.2 x 3.2 cm (24 1/8 x 18 3/16 x 1 1/4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
© Chris Murphy
Object number
Exhibition Label
Boxing great Muhammad Ali became a news sensation a year before he ever won his first world heavyweight title in 1964, beating Sonny Liston in six rounds with a technical knockout. Ali, a convert to the Nation of Islam, dropped his birth name, Cassius M. Clay Jr., after this match. In a boxing career that would span two decades, Ali compiled a 56–5 win-loss record, and many considered him the greatest heavyweight champion ever. His colorful, jaunty personality had much to do with his stellar media attraction. And his lyrical prefight taunts and predictions—"if he gives me some jive, I’ll end it in five"—kept boxing fans and nonfans alike engaged and smiling.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection