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Mohammed Ali

Remembering the life and career of iconic boxer Muhammad Ali who died 5 years ago

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He said he was ‘The Greatest’ and he was. Legendary heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest boxers and athletes in history, died June 3, 2016, at the age of 74.

The iconic boxer, born Jan. 17, 1942, still sparks inspiration and influence today.

Take a look back at his incredible life and career in photos, following his days as Cassius Clay to his rise in sports and politics.

Muhammad Ali

Today we remember the life of legendary heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali, former three-time heavyweight champion of the world. Ali died at the age of 74 after a 30-year fight with Parkinson’s. The boxing champ passed away after being treated for respiratory complications at Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center in Arizona, surrounded by his family and friends. Ali, originally born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., became a Golden Gloves champion in 1959, and an Olympic gold medalist the following year. His unparalleled talents have made him a legend in the world of boxing

Muhammad Ali, 1960

Then known as Cassius Clay, the future three-time Heavyweight World Champion first gained major notability at the 1960 Rome Olympics. He is pictured here after winning the gold medal for Light Heavyweight Boxing, standing beside Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland (R), who won silver, and Giulio Saraudi of Italy and Anthony Madigan of Australia, who tied for bronze. (Central Press/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali and his trainer Angelo Dundee, 1962

Young heavyweight fighter Cassius Clay is seen with his trainer Angelo Dundee at City Parks Gym in New York, Feb. 8, 1962. Dundee traveled around the world with Ali, and he was the corner man in all his fights, including his famed bouts with fighters such as Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, Jerry Quarry, Oscar Bonavena and the list goes on. (Dan Grossi/Ap Photo)

Muhammad Ali, 1963

Heavyweight contender Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali) held up three fingers as he predicts that opponent Charlie Powell will fall in the third round in January 1963. He was correct. (Marvin Lichtner/Getty Images

Muhammad Ali and his mother Odessa Grady Clay, 1963

Cassius Clay plants a kiss on his mother Odessa Grady Clay’s cheek at their home just east of Louisville, Kentucky on April 4, 1963. Ali’s mother had a great influence on the three-time World Heavyweight Champion. “My mother is a Baptist, and when I was growing up, she taught me all she knew about God. Every Sunday, she dressed me up, took me and my brother to church, and taught us the way she thought was right. She taught us to love people and treat everybody with kindness.” (H.B. Littell/Ap Photo)

Muhammad Ali, 1963

Heavyweight contender Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali), gets his poetic mouth taped by trainer Angelo Dundee during his weigh-in before his fight with Doug Jones on March 13, 1963. Ali won in ten rounds. (George Silk/Getty Images)

Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, 1964

The Islamic faith brought Muhammad Ali and African American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X together. The boxing champ changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali upon converting to Islam before the pair became fast friends. A rift in the Nation of Islam however forced Ali to turn his back on Malcolm, the person who introduced him to faith and black pride. Ali later said that turning his back on Malcolm was one of the mistakes he regretted most in his life. (Ap Photo)

Muhammad Ali, 1964

A major victory: On Feb. 25, 1964, Ali fought Sonny Liston in a highly anticipated fight for the World Heavyweight Championship. Ali went on to win the title for the first time that year, stealing it from Liston and becoming at age 22, the youngest boxer to take the title from a reigning champion. (Focus On Sport)

Muhammad Ali and Sonji Roi, 1964

Muhammad Ali had been married a total of four times and has seven daughters and two sons. He met his first wife, cocktail waitress Sonji Roi, about one month before they married. Ali’s Muslim customs in regard to dress for women reportedly contributed to their break up. They divorced on Jan. 10, 1966. (Bettmann)

Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston, 1965

Unstoppable: The following year, Muhammad protected his title when he fought Sonny Liston again and knocked him out after dropping Liston with a short hard right to the jaw on May 25, 1965, in Lewiston, Maine. (John Rooney/Ap Photo)

Muhammad Ali, 1966

Cassius Clay runs alongside a horse-drawn carriage, in Queen’s Mews, Knightsbridge, London on May 11, 1966. Clay is in training for his fight against British challenger Henry Cooper on May 21. (Peter Kemp/Ap Photo)

Muhammad Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King, 1967

Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, left, and Dr. Martin Luther King speak with reporters in Louisville, Ky. King says the sooner this country does away with the draft, the better off we’ll be. Ali was here for his court hearing to prevent his Army induction on April 28, 1967 in Houston. Ali transformed the role and image of the African American athlete in America, by his embrace of racial pride and his criticism of the white political establishment. (Ap Photo)

Muhammad Ali, 1967

Muhammad Ali is escorted from the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station in Houston by Lt. Col. J. Edwin McKee, commandant of the station, after Ali refused Army induction. Ali says he was a conscientious objector who would not serve in the Army of a country that treated members of his race as second-class citizens. Ali was consequently stripped of his title as heavyweight boxing champion and later sentenced to five years in prison and received a $10,000 fine, the maximum penalty for the offense. (Ap Photo)

Muhammad Ali, 1967

Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) reads the Daily News story about his victory over Zora Folley at the Midtown Motor Inn on March 23, 1967. Folley was the last man to face Ali in the ring before Ali’s three year exile from boxing in 1967. Despite his conviction, Ali stayed out of prison as his case was appealed. (New York Daily News Archive)

Muhammad Ali and Belinda Boyd, 1967

Muhammad Ali is shown posing with his bride, the former Belinda Boyd, 17, following their marriage at Ali’s home on Chicago’s south side, August 19, 1967. It was the second marriage for Ali. His bride is the daughter of a member of the Black Muslim group to which Ali belongs. (Ap Photo)

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, 1971

Muhammad Ali (left) taunts rival boxer Joe Frazier at Frazier’s training headquarters, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, early 1971. The two men fought for the World Heavyweight Title on March 8. Frazier won. (John Shearer/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, 1971

In the Fight of the Century, “Smokin Joe” Frazier became the first man to defeat Muhammad Ali. Frazier confidently heads for neutral corner after knocking out Muhammad Ali in the 15th round at Madison Square Garden. The decision was unanimous on that day in 1971. (Fredn Morgan/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali and his daughters Jamillah and Rasheda, 1971

Muhammad Ali trains in Zurich for his fight against the West German Jurgen Blin, with his twin daughters Jamillah and Rasheda on Dec. 22, 1971. (Central Press/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali, 1972

The boxer is also a family man. In 1972, he stands outside his house with kids Maryum, Jamillah and Rasheda. Ali married his second wife Belinda Boyd in 1967. They also had a son, Muhammad Ali Jr. this year. (Getty Images/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali, 1974

Ali weighs in to for a rematch with Joe Frazier. Smokin’ Joe may have won the Fight of the Century, but in this Jan. 28, 1974 fight, Ali knocked out Frazier. (Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery)

Muhammad Ali vs. George Forman, 1974

Muhammad Ali jumps into action as he throws a punch at George Foreman in the Heavyweight Championship fight on Oct. 30, 1974, in Kinshasa, Zaire. Ali won and got back his title. (Focus On Sport)

Muhammad Ali, 1976

The Greatest: Muhammad Ali poses during a press conference in London on March 9, 1976 with a copy of his autobiography, “The Greatest — My Own Story.” (Frank Tewkesbury/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali and Veronica Porsche, 1978

Muhammad Ali had been married four different times throughout his life, with his last wife being Yolanda Williams, who he remained married to until he passed. He is pictured here with his third wife, Veronica Porsche at Heathrow Airport in London in 1978. The couple married in 1977 and had two children together. They divorced in 1986. (Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali and his daughters Laila and Hanna, 1978

Heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali with his daughters Laila (9 months) and Hanna (2 years 5 months) at Grosvenor House on Dec. 19, 1978. (Frank Tewkesbury/Getty Images)

Jesse Jackson and Muhammad Ali's, 1984

Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome in 1984, a disease that commonly results from head trauma from activities such as boxing. Here, the boxing great is pictured outside the hospital due to his worsening condition, meeting with reporters where he declared he’s still “the greatest.” He posed for photos alongside his life-long friend Reverend Jesse Jackson, before entering the hospital. Jackson called Ali a “hero for our generation.” (Bettmann)

Muhammad Ali and Laila Ali, 2002

Muhammad Ali’s massive talent had a major impact on his daughter, Laila, who went on to follow in his footsteps and became a boxer as well. Laila poses with her legendary father after defeating Suzy Taylor after two rounds at the Aladdin Casino on Aug. 17, 2002, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali, 2000

After another divorce, Ali went on to marry Yolanda in 1986. Ali and Lonnie adopted a son together, Asaad Amin. Here, he and wife Lonnie are joined by Mayor Rudy Giuliani to ring in 2001 in Times Square. (DOUG KANTER/Getty Images)

Muhammad Ali, 2005

Muhammad Ali’s efforts did not go unrewarded. On Nov. 9, 2005, President George W. Bush presented the boxing legend with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony. (JASON REED/Reuters)

Mohammad Ali, 2011

Ali spent his last years at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona with his devoted wife Lonnie. (Allen Berezovsky/FilmMagic

Muhammad Ali and his wife Yolanda "Lonnie" Williams, 2012

Ali is survived by his wife Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams (pictured) and his nine children. The couple is pictured during happier times onstage during the Keep Memory Alive foundation’s “Power of Love Gala” celebrating Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Feb. 18, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event benefits the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Muhammad Ali Center. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

 

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About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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