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muhammad ali became famous
Muhammad Ali, original name Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., (born January 17, 1942, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.—died June 3, 2016, Scottsdale, Arizona), American professional boxer and social activist. Ali was the first fighter to win the world heavyweight championship on three separate occasions; he successfully defended this title 19 times.
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., grew up in the American South in a time of segregated public facilities. His father, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr., supported a wife and two sons by painting billboards and signs. His mother, Odessa Grady Clay, worked as a household domestic.
When Clay was 12 years old, he took up boxing under the tutelage of Louisville policeman Joe Martin. After advancing through the amateur ranks, he won a gold medal in the 175-pound division at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome and began a professional career under the guidance of the Louisville Sponsoring Group, a syndicate composed of 11 wealthy white men.
How Muhammad Ali First Got in the Ring
The boxing career of Muhammad Ali, who died Friday at the age of 74, began when he was just a 12-year-old whose bike had been stolen.
Ali—then Cassius Clay—first appeared on the cover of TIME on March 22, 1963. That cover story detailed his rise from kid dreamer to boxing great, a trajectory that arguably began when he became the proud owner of a shiny $60 bicycle and pedaled to a fair at the Columbia Gym in downtown Louisville, Ky.
He was 74.
The cause was septic shock, a family spokeswoman said.
Ali, who lived near Phoenix, had had Parkinson’s disease for more than 30 years.
Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.
In later life Ali became something of a secular saint, a legend in soft focus.
In 1996, he was trembling and nearly mute as he lit the Olympic caldron in Atlanta.
That passive image was far removed from the exuberant, talkative, vainglorious 22-year-old who bounded out of Louisville, Ky., and onto the world stage in 1964 with an upset victory over Sonny Liston to become the world champion.