Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on January 17,
1942) is a retired American boxer and former three-time World
Heavyweight Champion and winner of an Olympic Light-heavyweight
gold medal. In 1999, Ali was crowned "Sportsman of the Century" by
Sports Illustrated and the BBC.
Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He was named after his
father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., who was named for the 19th
century abolitionist and politician Cassius Clay. Ali changed his
name after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964 and subsequently
converted to Islam in 1975.
Muhammad Ali defeated almost every top heavyweight in his era.
He is an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and
holds wins over seven other Hall of Fame inductees. He is regarded
as one of the best pound for pound boxers in history. He was a
masterful self-promoter, and his psychological tactics before,
during, and after fights became legendary. le he was pulling away
from Liston, Ali hit Liston with what came to be known as a
"phantom punch," and Liston went down.