Born on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., who is now the man that the world has come to know, respect and love as Muhammad Ali "the greatest". The Boxing superstar lead an illustrious career in the ring against many formidable opponents, but his real fame came to him while leading many political battles outside of the ring.
Today he is a retired boxer and former three-time World Heavyweight Champion and winner of an Olympic Light-heavyweight gold medal. Cassius Clay was named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., who was named for the 19th century abolitionist and politician Cassius Clay. The parents of one of the greatest fighters that ever lived raised him on meager wages as his mother, Odessa Grady Clay, who was a household domestic and his father, Clay Sr., painted billboards, Clay Sr. was also a Methodist allowed Odessa to bring up both his sons as Baptists.
After joining the Nation of Islam in 1964 and subsequently converting to Islam in 1975 Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Ali became a boxer after getting upset as a child at the tender age of twelve years old because someone had stolen his bicycle, a Louisville police officer by the name Joe E. Martin told him to learn to box so Muhammad Ali began training with Fred Stoner at the gym.
Ali worked for $4 a week on Tomorrow's Champions, a TV show that Martin hosted but secretly he trained with Stoner throughout his amateur career.
As an amateur fighter Muhammad Ali went on to win six Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, two national Golden Gloves titles, an Amateur Athletic Union National Title, and the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Ali's record was 100 wins, with five losses, when he ended his amateur career. The champ throughout his legendary career suffered a few losses, once during his amateur bouts to Kent Green of Chicago, who could boast he was the last person to defeat the champion until Ali lost to Joe Frazier in 1971 as a pro. All in all Ali's record was 100 wins, with five losses, when he ended his amateur career.
There were many men who influenced and benefited Ali throughout his career, none more prominent that Angelo Dundee; Ali first met Dundee when Dundee was in Louisville with light heavyweight champ Willie Pastran. Prior to the Ali Dundee introduction Ali had already won several professional bouts, and was in search of a good trainer, Dundee ultimately was his preference. Among Ali's victims were the aged Archie Moore (a boxing legend who had fought over 200 previous fights, Sonny Banks (who knocked him down during the bout), Alejandro Lavorante, Archie Moore was Ali's trainer prior to Angelo Dundee, that business relationship failed because Archie Moore wanted the champ to do menial chores around the training camp so off went Ali in search of a new trainer.
Although Ali suffered many small losses in his career there also where many victories throughout his life, as he continued to learn his craft and develop his boxing skills in the ring, he also developed politically outside the ring. I believe this development process made him world renowned and recognized as a world spokesmen and highly regarded among political figures. There are some who say that Muhammad Ali's growth as a political figure only took off when he became a Muslim and a member of the Nation of Islam, they believe that as a Muslim he became world known especially by people of color and people of the third world countries, they all saw him as a free black man because he bore the name of Africans and historic figures of African and Islamic descend. Once while in the thriller in Manila this theory was tested and before the fight between Ali and George Forman the Africans before meeting George Forman had assumed that he was white because he had a white name, yet everybody all over the world knew and recognized Muhammad Ali as a free, intelligent black man because of his African and Islamic name, a name that he rather than the system had selected. Another incident which also made him famous was as a Muslim he refuse to be inducted into the armed services and this action caused many of Ali's admires and followers to duplicate his decision, yet it also lead to the loss of his title, his boxing license, and he was facing possible prison time. It was due to Ali's refusal to allow himself to be inducted into the armed services that made millions of men also not join and this action elevated the idea that joining the army was optional not mandatory.
It was in 1964, when Ali failed the U.S. Armed Forces qualifying test because his writing and spelling skills were said to be sub par. However, in early 1966, the tests were revised and Ali was reclassified as 1A. In my opinion I believe they changed this test to ensure that they would be certain to induct Ali, and this was for the same reason that any famous athlete was inducted into the army, because his admission into the armed services meant the admission of millions of men, and so he was reclassified. It seems to me highly bizarre but there was never a restructuring of the voting qualifications test when blacks who after slavery couldn't read and the establishment were trying to prevent blacks from voting.
He refused to serve in the United States Army during the Vietnam War as a conscientious activist, because as he said "War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. "I'm not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don't take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers." Ali also said in 1966: "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong ... They never called me nigger." Why should black people go to war for a country that treated them so inhumane? This was a question that Ali raised as a result of his refusal to be inducted and it was one that resonated in the minds of many black people at that time.
Well through all of this drama Ali was stripped of his title, his boxing license and forced off the boxing circuit. It was the New York State Athletic Commission who suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. At the trial two months later, the jury, after only 21 minutes of deliberation, found Ali guilty. The judge imposed the maximum sentence. After a court of appeals upheld the conviction, the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. During this time, people turned against the war, and support for Ali grew. Ali financially supported himself by opening a restaurant chain called "Champburger" and visiting many college universities to give speeches across the country. Joe Frazier, who had become champion during Ali's absence from the ring, often gave financial assistance to Ali during this time. However he continued to box in places like Canada and off beat places but with lesser capable opponents.
Muhammad Ali has been married four times and has seven daughters and two sons. Ali met his first wife, cocktail waitress Sonji Roi, approximately one month before they married on August 14, 1964. Roi's objections to certain Muslim customs in regard to dress for women contributed to the breakup of their marriage. They divorced on January 10, 1966. On August 17, 1967, Ali married 17-year old Belinda Boyd. After the wedding, she converted to Islam and changed her name to Khalilah Ali, though she was still called Belinda by old friends and family. They had four children: Maryum (b. 1968), Jamillah and Liban (b. 1970), and Muhammad Ali Jr. (b. 1972).
However, Ali began an affair with a young woman named Veronica Porsche in 1975. By the summer of 1977, Ali's second marriage was over and he had married Veronica. At the time of their marriage, they had a baby girl, Hana, and Veronica was pregnant with their second child. Their second daughter, Laila, was born in December of 1977. By 1986, Ali and Veronica were divorced.
On November 19, 1986, Ali married Yolanda Ali. They had been friends since 1964 in Louisville. Their mothers were close friends, although Lonnie has publicly denied the popular notion that Muhammad Ali was once her babysitter. They have one adopted son, Asaad.
Ali has two other daughters, Miya and Khaliah, from extramarital relationships. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali
It would be safe to say that Muhammad Ali loved women and that there are a numerous and diverse avenues of Ali's life that I have neglected here but that's only because his life held so many avenues of interest that it is difficult to state them all in this medium, unless I were writing a book. Let's just say that Muhammad Ali was an extraordinary man with an extraordinary life and leave it at that.