Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. The son of Cassius Marcellus Sr., a sign and mural painter, and Odessa Grady, a housewife, Cassius may have been born "junior," but the eldest son of the Clay family was destined for true greatness.
While a student at DuValle Junior High School and Central High, a young soon-to-be Joe was always more interested in boxing rather than keeping his nose in the books. Actually, the theft of his bicycle is what led to his passion for boxing in the first place. Ali reported the theft of his bike to a policeman, who set him up with boxing trainer Fred Stoner.
Stoner's help to become a ...view middle of the document...
"The Beloved of Allah" became a controversial figure outside of the ring not only because he converted to Islam, but also because he refused to be drafted, in protest to America's stance in the Vietnam War.
In May 1967, the World Boxing Association took away his boxing license and his title, and he was sentenced to 5 years in prison for violating the Selective Service Act. Finally released from prison on appeal, Ali returned to where he belonged: the boxing ring. There, he fought and defeated Jerry Quarry in 1970, but lost to Joe Frazier (the champion at the time) in 1971, after getting back his license. This would mark Ali's first defeat as a professional boxer.
But with defeat comes victory, and Ali used his smarts to outwit and ultimately "outplay" the younger and stronger George Foreman (who had earned the heavyweight champion title from Frazier). The "Rumble in the Jungle" was held in Kinshasa, Zaire, where Ali used the "rope-a-dope" method, consisting of him saving his energy and taking punches until the 8th round, where Ali retaliated with all his pent up energy to regain the title.
Then in 1975, Ali fought Joe Frazier in the "Thrilla in Manila", marking a win for Ali (and a chance for him to avenge his former loss against Frazier). Three years later, Ali lost the title to Leon Spinks, and won the title for a third time. Finally, Ali retired on June 26, 1979.
But after his retirement, the 38-year old returned to the ring to earn some more money. He fought and...