There's a lot you'll know about heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali - the man who was able to inspire millions with not only his unrivalled sporting achievements, but also his powerful words.

Most of us will remember that his real name was actually Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.or the whole 'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' quote - or even know that it's actually his birthday today - but something that's a little lesser known is that he once talked a suicidal man off a ledge.

Credit: CBS News

Ali was reportedly out with friends in Los Angeles back in the early 1980s, when he heard a man yelling.

According to CBS News, the man was shouting: "I'm no good, I'm going to jump."

Muhammad then volunteered to help, and went up to the ninth floor. Apparently, he said: "I'm your brother, I want to help you".

The man recognised the champ, and came inside. He began to weep.

We'll never know exactly what was said during those 20 minutes, but thanks to Muhammad this man lived to see another day.

Hero.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

During a 21-year career, Ali won 56 fights and lost five. He was and remains the idol for hundreds of boxers all over the world.

Ali entered the world of boxing when he was on the hunt for a man who'd stolen his bike one afternoon, approaching a policeman called Joe Martin to register the crime.

Martin, a gym owner who liked giving a sense of purpose to kids off the street, advised the 12-year-old Clay to take up boxing.

"The sights and the sounds and the smell of the boxing gym excited me so much that I almost forgot about the bike," Ali remembered in a mid-1970s autobiography. "There were about 10 boxers, some hitting the speed bag, some in the ring sparring, some jumping rope. I stood there, smelling the sweat and the rubbing alcohol, and a feeling of awe came over me."

During a 21-year career, Ali won 56 fights and lost five. He was and remains the idol for hundreds of boxers all over the world.

'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.

Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.

MIND: 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans: 116 123.

CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.

Mental Health Foundation

Featured Image Credit: PA

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist at LADbible. Jess graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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