You don’t get the nickname “The Greatest” for no reason. Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay Jr., was almost universally recognized as the greatest boxer of all time and one of the biggest sports stars of all time. Ali began training as an amateur boxer at the age of 12. Just six years later, he won the gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics. After changing his name and going pro, Muhammad Ali won the world heavyweight championship in a massive upset victory against Sonny Liston. While Muhammad Ali’s lasting impact stems plenty from his dominance as a boxer, it was his contribution to the civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s that cemented his legacy as a cultural figure. In 1966, Ali was arrested and found guilty of draft evasion after citing his religious beliefs as a reason to refuse being drafted into the Vietnam War. After being arrested and stripped of his boxing titles, Ali took his case to the Supreme Court and had his conviction overturned. His actions surrounding the Vietnam War established Muhammad Ali as a primary figure of the counterculture movement. Ali continued to dominate in the boxing ring, becoming well-known for his legendary and unparalleled ability to trash talk his opponents. Ali kept his work in activism after his illustrious boxing career until he passed away in 2016.
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