Why did Cassius clay start boxing?

In 1954 in Louisville, Kentucky, 12-year-old Cassius Marcellus Clay's bike was stolen while he and a friend were at the Columbia Auditorium. Young Cassius found a cop in a gym, Joe Martin, and boiling with youthful rage, told Martin he was going to "whup" whoever stole his bike. Martin admonished, "You better learn to box first." Within weeks, 89-pound Cassius had his first bout-his first win. For the next 27 years, Cassius would be in that ring. Even in his youth, he had dreams of being heavyweight champion of the world. But his life would take turns that no seer could've predicted.


Actually his bicycle was stolen as repercussion from a "rock fight" on the railroad tracks at 30th and Hale, between Cassius, his younger brother Rudy on one side and Barry Kane and Jim Money on the other side. Either Cassius or Rudy, it is unclear which one, hit Money in the head with one of the thrown rocks. As retaliation, Money stole Cassius bike and stomped the spokes out of the wheels. Later, Cassius and Money confronted each other at the Parkland Ice Plant at 31st and Woodland and had a short street fight over the stolen bike and the rock fight.

Police Sgt Joe Martin ordered Clay, Money and Kane to the Columbia Gym for boxing training. Clay, Money or Kane, never faced each other in the ring due to weight class differences. Clay and Kane remained in the program while Money left to Join the Marine Corps.

Cassius went on the win the Olympic Gold Medal in Rome in 1960, Barry R. Kane, was the 7 time Golden Gloves Champion for Kentucky and later followed Money into the Marines where Kane holds the 1st round knock out record for boxing smokers at the MCRRD at Parris Island. It has often been said that Kane, pound for pound, was the best boxer ever produced from the State of Kentucky, including Clay.

Barry Kane remained very close friends with Cassius until Malcolm X and the Black Muslims recruited Clay to change his name to Muhammad Ali and refuse to accept the draft into the service due to the fact that the Black Muslims considered Clay to be a minister. Clay and Kane remained somewhat friendly toward each other in the later years, however, Money never had much to do with Clay after that, other than an occasional accidental meeting when both were visiting their hometown at the same time.