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Muhammad Ali is arguably the greatest boxer in the history of the sport, and one of greatest sporting figures of the 20th century. Ali was an Olympic champion, and after he turned professional, he captured the heavyweight title three times, the first athlete to do so. He won 56 bouts in his career, battling some of the sport’s most talented and menacing boxers, including Joe Frazier and George Foreman.
Dangers: Head injuries, broken bones, strained muscles, and even death Did You Know? Mike Tyson once bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear.
In 1984, three years after he retired from boxing, doctors told “The Greatest” that he had Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative , debilitating malady that kills off the brain cells that produce dopamine, an important neurotransmitter . When people lack dopamine, they can have issues with movement. Studies have shown that severe trauma to the brain is a risk factor in developing Parkinson’s later in life. It is quite possible boxing ended up killing Ali, who died in 2016 at the age of 72. No question, boxing is a brutal sport, one in which injury is common, and death lurks in every boxer’s corner. In 1980 Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini became the lightweight champion of the world. Mancini defended his title two years later in Las Vegas, Nevada, against a South Korean boxer named Kim Duk-koo. It was a Saturday, and the fight was broadcast live on CBS. Celebrities were there, along with many others. Mancini should have taken care of Kim easily, but the two duked it out for 14 rounds. In that last round, Mancini pummeled Kim with a left hook. Kim fell backward against the ropes and down to the mat. He never got up, dying in the hospital four days later. An estimated 500 boxers have died in the ring since 1884, when new rules were introduced. In 2017 researchers in Germany reported that, on average, 10 boxers have died every year since 1900. Eighty percent succumbed to head and neck injuries. In some cases, the boxers died due to epidural hemorrhaging, in
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