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After a long bout with Parkinson's disease, the three time Heavyweight Champion succumbed after a 32 year battle.
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on January 17th, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, he started boxing at age 12, winning a number of Golden Gloves titles before winning a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics games in Rome. Afterward, Ali turned pro and joined his legendary trainer Angelo Dundee.
A year later Ali would go on to fight for the heavyweight championship against Sonny Liston becoming world champ, and shouting out to the world, "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."
I will never forget the words of a black man telling the world, "I am the greatest! I'm the king of the world." Never will I forget the effect that it had on me.
As heavyweight champion of the world at age 22, Cassius Clay renounced his "slave name," and told the world he would be known from that day forward as Muhammad Ali given to him -- by Elijah Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam.
His fans, mostly white Americans took issue with the champs discussion and reject him for his action. Ali went on to defend his title six times after beating Liston twice.
During the Vietnam War, Ali was drafted into the Army at the beginnings of the war. Ali told America, "his conscience won't let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, some poor, hungry people in the mud, for a big powerful America, and shoot them for what?" "They never called me nigger, they never lynched me. They didn't put no dogs on me."
In 1967, Muhammad Ali appeared before an Army recruiting station where he refused to step forward when his name was called. His punishment was to stripped him of his boxing title, convicted of draft evasion and sentenced to five years in prison.
Upon appeal he was released, after four years the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the conviction in a unanimous decision that found the Depart of Justice had improperly convicted him.
After the legal battle and his return to the ring, Ali went on to fight noticeable boxer's like Jerry Quarry, the Ali Frazier fight which Ali lost to Frazier. Great fights like the Thriller in Manila, and the George Foreman fight in Zaire promoted as "the Rumble in the Jungle."
In 1978, Ali fought Leon Spinks and lost his title, however won it back in a rematch. In his waning years, in 1980 he fought Larry Holmes, as well as Trevor Berbick that resulted in loses.
Afterward Muhammed would retire, only to be saddle with the debilitating disease Parkinson.
When America should have loved him, they hated him. Now in death they celebrate his life all over the world.
He was more than a boxer, more than an athlete, he was a loving man who loved people.
What a wonderful man in Muhammad.
Long live the memory of Muhammed Ali!
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