The story starts with a boy’s new red and white bike.
It is 1954. Joe Martin is a policeman in Louisville Kentucky, but he teaches boxing in a gym in the evenings, too.
One-day two young black boys come into the gym. One of them sees Joe.
«Excuse me,» he says. «Are you Joe Martin, the policeman?»
«That’s right.» Joe says. «What’s your problem?»
«It’s my new bike,» the boy says. «It’s red and white. It was in front of this building, and now it’s not there.»
The young boy is unhappy and very angry.
«I’m going to find the boy with my bike. Then I’m going to whup him!» he says again and again.
Joe Martin smiles. The boy is about twelve years old. He is tall with long legs, and he is thin.
«Can you box?» Joe asks.
«No, I can’t box,» the boy says, «But I want to whup that boy,»
Joe smiles again «Come here to the gym first. Maybe I can teach you.»
«OK,» the boy says. «I’d like that.»
«Good,» Joe says. «What’s your name?»
«Cassius,» the boy says. «Cassius Clay.»
Joe doesn’t know it, but in only ten years that young black boy is going to be a world boxing champion!
After that, Cassius went to Joe Martin’s gym six days a week. He was strong and quick on his feet, and he started boxing with the other boys in the gym. He didn’t box tor money, of course. He boxed because he liked it. He usually won his fights. He was good!
But he wasn’t a good student at school. He had a lot of problems. He was a good boy from a good family. He was friendly and his teachers liked him. But school work was very difficult for him. The only important thing in the world for him then was boxing.
In six years, he had 108 fights and he won 100 of them.
Then in 1960, he went to Rome and boxed for the United States.