Muhammad Ali

Born: 17th January 1942

Died: 3rd June 2016

Birth Place: United States

Known for: Being a world famous boxer, Olympian, and heavyweight champion.

Ali lit the Olympic flame for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, GA.

In recognition of his skill, Ali’s sporting nickname was “The Greatest”.

Outside of boxing, Ali had success as a musician, actor, and writer.

I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.

Muhammad Ali

Life story

Rise and fall

Born Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali made his professional debut in 1960, and, at only 18, he won an Olympic gold medal at the Olympic games in Rome. In 1964 he became heavyweight champion of the world.



In the same year, Ali joined the Nation of Islam and refused to fight in the Vietnam war for religious and political reasons. As a result, he was arrested, stripped of all boxing titles, and was not allowed to compete for nearly four years at the height of his physical fitness. His conviction was overturned in 1971 and Ali was allowed to box professionally again.



Boxing legend

Despite losing four years of his career, Ali was crowned Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC in 1999. Ali was also listed in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. He was involved in several historic fights, including the “Thrilla in Manila” and “The Rumble in the Jungle”, which was the world’s most-watched live television broadcast with an audience of one billion.



When he retired, he donated to many charities, spoke at colleges about the importance of education, and travelled widely as a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 1990, Ali successfully negotiated the release of American hostages.

What was the significance of Muhammad refusing to fight in the Vietnam War? Do you think Muhammad’s conviction was necessary? Give reasons for your answers. Why do you think Muhammad won Sports Personality of the Century in 1999?

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