Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., in Louisville, Kentucky, fought the final round on Friday. He was an American professional boxer, widely regarded as one of the greatest and most significant sporting figures in history. From early in his career, Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial and polarizing figure both inside and outside the ring.
Clay began training when he was 12 years old. At 22, he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston. That was in 1964. Shortly after that, Clay converted to Islam, changed his “slave” name to Ali, and gave a message of racial pride to African Americans and resistance to white domination during the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960’s.
Two years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali further antagonized the white establishment by refusing to be conscripted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested, charged with draft evasion and found guilty. He was also stripped of his boxing titles. He successfully appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971.
Muhammad Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Between February 25, 1964, and September 19, 1964, Ali reigned as the heavyweight boxing champion. Nicknamed “The Greatest,” he was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these were the first Liston fight, three with rival Joe Frazier, and “The Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman, in which he regained titles he had been stripped of seven years earlier. Ali retired from boxing in 1981.
The Final Round
Sadly, the influential boxing legend died on Friday 3rd June 2016. He was 74 years old. See Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali Dies at 74. He suffered from Parkinson’s disease for many years, and was in hospital for a respiratory issue, but died of septic shock. Ali is survived by his wife and his nine children.