Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.; January 17, 1942) is an American former professional boxer, philanthropist and social activist.
Ali was both idolized and vilified.
Originally known as Cassius Clay, Ali changed his name, after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964, the same year his friend Malcolm X would leave, subsequently converting to traditional Islam; Ali would follow suit in the ’70s.
In 1967, three years after Ali had won the World Heavyweight Championship, he was publicly vilified for his refusal to be conscripted into the U.S. military, based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War – “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong… No Vietcong ever called me nigger” – one of the more telling remarks of the era.
Ali is generally considered to be one of the greatest heavyweights of all time by boxing commentators and historians.
Ring Magazine, a prominent boxing magazine, named him NUMBER 1 in a 1998 ranking of GREATEST heavyweights from ALL ERAS.
You can read more of this extrodinary man’s life, HERE: