Before he was known as Muhammad Ali, Cassius Clay of Louisville, Kentucky was a winner. In fact, 53 years ago today, the light heavyweight champion took home his very first win after beating opponent Tunney Hunsaker.
He was just 18 at the time, but played like the pro we all came to know him to be.
At the final bell, Clay, appearing almost as fresh as when he started, was splattered with blood from Hunsaker’s nose and a cut over the West Virginian’s eye. The eye was swollen almost shut after the fight. Clay, who put behind him a brilliant amateur record, weighed 186 pounds, his heaviest ever, for the fight. Hunsaker came in at 192. The dancing, fast-moving Clay bloodied Hunsaker’s nose in the third round with a flood of blows and it was the fourth that he opened the cut over his eye.