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Muhammad Ali  January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016 was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

Ali was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and began training as an amateur boxer at age 12. At 18, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics, and turned professional later that year. He converted to Islam and became a Muslim after 1961, and in 1964 took the name Muhammad Ali, shortly after winning the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in a major upset at age 22. In 1966, Ali refused to be drafted into the military for the Vietnam War for religious, social and ethical principles.He was then indicted and convicted of draft evasion, faced five years in prison, and was stripped of his boxing titles. He appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971; however, Ali had not fought for nearly four years, had lost a period of peak performance as an athlete, and his skills had noticeably eroded during his time in exile.citation needed

Ali’s courageous actions as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation,and he was an extremely high-profile figure of racial pride for African Americans, by being very aggressive about race issues, and also all oppressed people as he was also seen as a symbol of hope and resistance to all social injustices.As a Muslim, Ali was initially affiliated with Elijah Muhammad’s separatist Nation of Islam . He later disavowed the NOI, adhering to Sunni Islam and supporting racial integration like his former mentor Malcolm X. He was also renowned for his sex appeal and was known to have a lot of fan adulation from women as he was regarded as the most sexually attractive man in the world.

Ali has been ranked by many boxing historians as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time, despite having had nearly four years of his prime athletic career taken away from him, and remains the only three-time lineal champion of that division. Ali is the only boxer to be named The Ring magazine “Fighter of the Year” six times. He is regarded as one of the fastest boxers ever and is also known for his ability to endure pain. He was ranked as the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated, the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC, and the third greatest athlete of the 20th century by ESPN SportsCentury.He was involved in several historic boxing matches, most notably his fights with Joe Frazier, such as the Fight of the Century which is known as the most anticipated and electric sporting event in history or the Thrilla in Manila which has been referred to as “The greatest fight in boxing history”, and his fight with George Foreman known as The Rumble in the Jungle which has been called “arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century” and was watched by a record estimated television audience of 1 billion viewers worldwide of a then 4 billion total population,becoming the world’s most-watched live television broadcast at the time. Ali thrived in the spotlight at a time when many fighters didn’t do much talking, and when African-Americans were expected to be deferential in public, by being provocative and outlandish.He was famous for trash-talking, and often free-styled with rhyme schemes and spoken word poetry, anticipating elements of hip hop.

Ali retired from boxing in 1981. Outside the ring, Ali is one of the most famous people to have ever lived. During his career and even many years after he retired, he was referred to as the most famous person on the planet.Ali was known to be a very generous and humorous person who loved being the centre of attention. He never rejected an autograph, partially due to how he remembered how he’d felt as a youth when he was denied an autograph from his idol, Sugar Ray Robinson.Ali attained some success as a musician, receiving two Grammy award nominations.He was also an occasional actor, and a writer who released two autobiographies. But his best success outside the ring came as a philanthropist and activist as he always wanted to use his popularity to help people.In 1984, he made public his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, which most reports attribute to boxing-related injuries, though he and some specialist physicians disputed this. He remained an active public figure globally, but in his later years made increasingly limited public appearances as his condition worsened, and he was cared for by his family.

Muhammad Ali

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