Born Cassius Clay Jr in 1942 in the Southern U.S. state of Kentucky, Ali began his rise to fame in 1960 when he won a gold medal in light heavyweight division of the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Four years later, he truly shot to superstardom after winning the WBA, WBC and lineal heavyweight titles. It was also during the late 1960s that he changed his name to Muhammad Ali, describing “Cassius Clay” as his “slave name”.
While mostly recognised for his efforts in the boxing ring, Ali was the voice behind quotes such as “float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee”. He was also a keen activist for black Americans’ civil rights, and strongly opposed the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam conflict, making him an icon of counterculture.
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