- NAME: Muhammad Ali
- OCCUPATION: Boxer, Philanthropist
- BIRTH DATE: January 17, 1942 (Age: 72)
- Did You Know?: Muhammad Ali's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is the only star that is not located on the sidewalk—it was installed on a wall of the Kodak Theatre entertainment complex.
- EDUCATION: Louisville Central High School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Louisville, Kentucky
- Originally: Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.
- AKA: Muhammad Ali
- AKA: Cassius X
- AKA: Ali
- ZODIAC SIGN: Capricorn
Best Known For
Muhammad Ali is considered one of the greatest athletes in boxing history, winning both the coveted Golden Gloves title and an Olympic gold medal, among several other honors.
Watch a short video about Muhammad Ali and discover how he accidentally discovered his calling as a world class boxer.
Muhammad Ali talks about his "Rumble in the Jungle" bout with George Foreman in 1974.
Hana Ali, George Foreman, and Thomas Hauser, author of "Muhammad Ali: His Life and Time," describe Muhammad Ali's bold personality, his evolving religious views, and his outspoken activism. Video courtesy of Open Road Media.
A short biography of Muhammad Ali, an American heavyweight boxer and social activist who converted to Islam. Dodging the Vietnam draft, he was the subject of controversy.
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Two years later, Ali started a different kind of fight when he refused to acknowledge his military service after being drafted. He said that he was a practicing Muslim minister, and that his religious beliefs prevented him from fighting in the Vietnam War.
In 1967, Ali put his personal values ahead of his career. The U.S. Department of Justice pursued a legal case against Ali, denying his claim for conscientious objector status. He was found guilty of refusing to be inducted into the military,
but Ali later cleared his name after a lengthy court battle. Professionally, however, Ali did not fare as well. The boxing association took away his title and suspended him from the sport for three and a half years.
Returning to the ring in 1970, Ali won his first bout after his forced hiatus. He knocked out Jerry Quarry in October in Atlanta. The following year, Ali took on Joe Frazier in what has been called the "Fight of the Century." Frazier and Ali went for 15 rounds before Frazier briefly dropped Ali to the ground, before beating Ali by decision. Ali later beat Frazier in a 1974 rematch.
Another legendary Ali fight took place in 1974. Billed as the "Rumble in the Jungle," the bout was organized by promoter Don King and held in Kinshasa, Zaire. Ali fought the reigning heavyweight champion George Foreman. For once, Ali was seen as the underdog to his younger, powerful opponent. Ali silenced his critics by defeating Foreman and once again becoming the heavyweight champion of the world.
Perhaps one of his toughest bouts took place in 1975 when he battled longtime rival Joe Frazier in the "Thrilla in Manila" fight. Held in Quezon City, Philippines, the match lasted for more than 14 rounds with each fighter giving it their all. Ali emerged victorious in the end.
By the late 1970s, Ali's career had started to decline. He was defeated by Leon Spinks in 1978 and was knocked out by Larry Holmes in 1980. In 1981, Ali fought his last bout, losing his heavyweight title to Trevor Berbick. He announced his retirement from boxing the next day.
In his retirement, Ali has devoted much of his time to philanthropy. He announced that he has Parkinson's disease in 1984, a degenerative neurological condition, and has been involved in raising funds for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Over the years, Ali has also supported the Special Olympics and the Make a Wish Foundation among other organizations.
Muhammad Ali has traveled to numerous countries, including Mexico and Morocco, to help out those in need. In 1998, he was chosen to be a United Nations Messenger of Peace because of his work in developing countries.
In 2005, Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. He also opened the Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, that same year. "I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given," he said. "I believed in myself and I believe in the goodness of others," said Ali.
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