Muhammad Ali to be inducted into WWE Hall

Boxing

Muhammad Ali will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2024, the promotion announced Monday morning.

The ceremony will take place April 5 during WrestleMania 40 weekend in Philadelphia.

Ali died in June 2016 at the age of 74.

A sporting icon whose influence spanned the globe, Ali was the special guest referee in the main event of the first-ever WrestleMania, a tag-tag match featuring Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff.

Ali, one of the all-time great boxers, delivered a right hand to Piper’s chin, one of many indelible moments the heavyweight champion created at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

That wasn’t Ali’s lone foray in sports entertainment. In June 1976, Ali faced Japanese legend Antonio Inoki in “The War of the Worlds” exhibition match in Tokyo.

Ali-Inoki was a seminal event that’s still celebrated today: the mixed-rules match is credited as a precursor to the explosion of MMA. In front of 32,000, Ali-Inoki was ruled a 15-round draw. It was also broadcast on closed-circuit to approximately 33,000 at Shea Stadium, the home of the New York Mets.

All these years later, Ali will join Inoki in the WWE Hall of Fame. In 1990, Ali entered the International Boxing Hall of Fame in its debut class. Ali won the heavyweight championship three times, most notably in a sixth-round TKO victory over Sonny Liston in 1964 and an eighth-round KO of George Foreman in 1974.

Both were upset victories for Ali in bouts named “Fight of the Year” by Ring Magazine. Ali won an Olympic gold medal in 1960.

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