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Muhammad Ali

Who Was He?

Muhammad Ali was a professional boxer, activist, entertainer, and philanthropist from the United States.1)


Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was born on January 17, 1942.2)


He passed away on June 3, 2016.3)


He was dubbed “The Greatest”.4)


Ali was raised in Louisville, Kentucky.5)

Young Champion

At the age of 18, he won gold in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics. Later that year, he became a professional.6)


He converted to Islam after 1961.7)

First Heavyweight Championship

On February 25, 1964, at the age of 22, he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in a major upset still as Cassius Clay.8)

Name Change

On March 6, 1964, he declared that he would no longer be known as Cassius Clay, but as Muhammad Ali.9)

Refused To Be Drafted

Ali refused to be drafted into the military in 1966, citing his religious beliefs as well as his ethical opposition to the Vietnam War.10)

Draft Evasion

He was convicted of draft evasion and faced 5 years in prison. Then, he was stripped of his boxing titles.11)

Supreme Court

He remained free while appealing the decision to the Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971.12)

Missed Peak Performance

He hadn't fought in nearly four years, and he'd missed out on a period of peak athletic performance.13)


Ali became an icon for the larger counterculture generation as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War.14)

Civil Rights

During the civil rights movement and throughout his career, he was a prominent figure of African American racial pride.15)


Ali's first affiliation as a Muslim was with Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam (NOI). He later repudiated the NOI and converted to Sunni Islam. He, like his former mentor Malcolm X, advocated for racial integration.16)

Joe Frazier

He took part in a number of historic boxing matches and feuds. Most notably, he fought Joe Frazier.17)

Big Fights

The Fight of the Century, dubbed “the biggest boxing event, if not the biggest sporting event, of all time,” and the Thrilla in Manila are two examples, as is his fight with George Foreman, dubbed “The Rumble in the Jungle.” This event drew a record-breaking estimated television audience of 1 billion viewers worldwide. At the time, it was the most-watched live television broadcast in the world.18)

Trash Talking

At a time when many fighters let their managers do the talking, Ali thrived in the spotlight, and he was frequently provocative and outlandish. He was known for his trash talk, and he frequently free-styled with rhyme schemes and spoken word poetry, foreshadowing elements of hip hop.19)

Prominent Heavyweight Boxer

Ali was a prominent heavyweight boxer of the twentieth century. He is the only three-time lineal champion of that weight class.20)

Combined Records

For 35 years, his combined records of beating 21 boxers for the world heavyweight title and winning 14 unified title bouts stood.21)

Fighter of the Year

Ali is the only boxer to have been named Fighter of the Year six times by The Ring magazine.22)

Greatest Heavyweight Boxer

He is widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time.23)

Sports Illustrated And BBC

Sports Illustrated named him the greatest athlete of the twentieth century, and the BBC named him Sports Personality of the Century.24)


Outside of the ring, Ali achieved success as a musician, earning two Grammy nominations. 25)

Actor And Writer

He also worked as an actor and writer, and he published two autobiographies. 26)

Retiring To Activism

Ali retired from boxing in 1981 to devote his time to religion, philanthropy, and activism.27)

Parkinson's Disease

In 1984, he revealed his diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, which some attribute to boxing-related injuries. Despite his and his specialist physicians' denials, he remained a prominent public figure around the world. As his condition worsened, he made fewer public appearances in his later years, and he was cared for by his family.28)


He only had one brother. Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. named him after his father, who had a sister and four brothers.29)


His father was named after Cassius Marcellus Clay, a 19th-century Republican politician and staunch abolitionist from Kentucky. John Clay and Sallie Anne Clay were Clay's father's paternal grandparents.30)


Sallie, according to Clay's sister Eva, is a native of Madagascar.31)

muhammad_ali.txt · Last modified: 2022/08/22 23:53 by eziothekilla34