BOXING NEWS, in association with USA Today, have produced The Greatest – an 168-page Muhammad Ali tribute, documenting the incredible life and career of the recently passed legend.
This includes interviews with Ali’s most celebrated opponents, an assessment of his place in history and how he would have fared against other top heavyweights, plus exclusive imagery and so much more.
Here is an exclusive extract in which Ali’s first amateur trainers discuss whether Cassius (as he was known then) was a natural:
Fred Stoner said, “Natural ability in boxing? There’s no such thing. It’s like picking a diamond out of the ground. It has to be polished up. Has to be developed. There’s no such thing as a born fighter. I suppose Cassius was a hungry fighter.”
Joe Martin said, “It’s safe to say that Cassius believed in himself right from the beginning. If boxers were paid bonuses on their potential, like ballplayers are, I don’t know if he would have received one. He was just ordinary and I doubt whether any scout would have thought much of him in his first year. But after time I realised it was almost impossible to discourage him. He was easily the hardest worker of any kid I ever taught.