Muhammad Ali Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. is better known as Muhammad Ali. He was born on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. His father s name was Cassius Clay, Sr.

His mother s name was Odessa Grady Clay. Cassius s father made his living as a painter. Cassius got his first bike at age 12 but it was stolen after two days. He went to report it to a police officer. The police officer he came upon was Joe Martin, an Irish-American who owned an amateur boxing gym. He persuaded Cassius to learn boxing.

That was the start of his career. Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay, Jr. ) is known as the greatest boxer of all time. It didn t take long before Cassius was completely dedicated to boxing.

Cassius was now going to pursue his career. At the age of 16 Cassius won the Louisville Golden Glove light heavyweight title. Then he won the Amateur Athletic Union (AUG) title in 1960 and went on to represent the United States in the Rome Olympics. There he beat his opponent Zbigniew Pietryzkowaski to win the gold medal. After this Cassius decided to become a professional boxer. A group of businessmen formed a syndicate to sponsor him.

On Oct- ober 29, 1960 Cassius became professional. Cassius was starting to emerge as a champion. His first title shot was against Sonny Liston, a big man who would give Mike Tyson a good run for his money. Cassius was known for his mouth. He badmouthed all his opponents, his mouth had gotten him a lot of key matches in his life. Before the match started Cassius said to Sonny I ve got you now, sucker and he did get him.

He beat Sonny in the 7 th round. There was a rematch held between Sonny & Cassius. This time Cassius knocked Sonny out in the 1 st round. He knocked him out with the infamous phantom punch. The punch was so fast the cameras almost missed it.

After the match Cassius gave the news that he had converted to Islam. Before this Cassius was baptized Catholic. He changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He became fri- ends with Malcom X and Elijah Muhammad.

Malcom went to all of Ali s matches. When Malcom X was assassinated it hit Ali very hard. He was depressed and scared for his own life too. The biggest challenge was when he got drafted for the U. S. army.

Ali refused to go on the beliefs of the Islamic religion. The army still wanted him to go to the Vietnam war. They put him on trial and if he was convicted he would get 9 years sentence in jail. Ali s lawyers managed to get the sentences up to 5 years. Ali then came back in 1970, but he didn t have the license to fight and his belt was striped from him. Ali finally got his license back in some states and then the whole U.

S. Ali now wanted to get his belt back. The man who had his belt was Joe Franzier. The match between them was called The fight of the century. Franzier beat him in the 15 th round.

They had a rematch after Franzier lost the title to George Foreman, this time Ali beats Franzier in th 12 th round. Ali goes on to beat George Foreman to regain his title. Later in his career Ali began suffering the symptoms of the Parkinson s disease. It affected his speech and movement.

He got the honor of lighting the Olympic torch in the 1996 Olympics. He even went to Iraq to help free the 12 hostages being held by Saddam Hussein. I consider Muhammad Ali a hero and a great boxer. Sources Book Norman Macht Muhammad Ali, The People s Champion New York, Chelsea House Publishers, 1994 Newspaper Michelle Kaufman Muhammad Ali lights Olympic torch Knight Ridder, July 20, 1996 p. 72 Magazine The real story July 15, 1996 Sports Illustrated p.