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Muhammed Ali Cassius Marcellus Clay was born on January 121942 in Lousiville Kentucky to Cassius Marcellus Clay and Odessa Grady Clay Cassius took up boxing at the age of 12 after someone had stolen his bike Most of his teen years were spent training for boxing When he was 14 he won the golden gloves twice When he was 18 he won the gold medal in the Olympics He was the Heavyweight Champion of the world three times more than anyone else He was also the lightweight champion once Hes still one of the most recognizable men on Earth And decades after he burst upon the scene as a gold-medal winner at the 1960 Olympics in Rome Italy Muhammad Ali remains a magical figure known and loved throughout the world Ali brought unmatched speed and grace to his sport and his charm and wit changed forever what we expect a champion to be His accomplishments in the ring were the stuff of legend two fights with Sonny Liston where he proclaimed himself The Greatest and proved he was three epic wars with Joe Frazier the stunning victory over George Foreman in Zaire and dethroning Leon Spinks to become heavyweight champion for an unprecedented third time But there was always far more to Muhammad Ali than what took place in a boxing ring Alis life and career have been played out as much on the front page as on the sports page His early embrace of the Nation of Islam and his insistence on being called Muhammad Ali instead of his slave name Cassius Clay heralded a new era in black pride His refusal to be inducted into the United States Army anticipated the growing antiwar movement of the 1960s And his willingness to stage his fights in such far-flung locales as Kinshasa Zaire Manila Philipines and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia signaled a shift away from superpower dominance toward a growing awareness of the importance
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