World Heavyweight Boxing Champion
Who is Muhammad Ali?
Muhammad Ali is a former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and arguably one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. He is the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion winning titles in 1964, 1974, and 1978. In 1999, Sports Illustrated named Muhammad Ali the Sportsman of the Century. That same year BBC viewers selected him as Sports Personality of the Century.
Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. He changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam and later converted to Sunni Islam. In 1984, Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In 1996, he had the honor of lighting the flame at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 1980, an article in The New York Times revealed the heavyweight boxer had a great-grandfather named Thomas Morehead who was a slave whose parents were said to be his white owner and a slave named Dinah. A cousin of Ali's who was the last surviving granddaughter of Thomas Morehead shared an account of her grandfather that revealed that his father had been his owner Armstead Morehead. It is through Armstead Morehead that Muhammad Ali has family connections to U.S. Presidents James Madison and Zachary Taylor. He also has connections to explorer Meriwether Lewis, General George S. Patton, and General Robert E. Lee.
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