Ali was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. His birth name was Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.
Cassius X before settling on the name Muhammad Ali after converting to orthodox Islam during the 1970s.
Ali started a different kind of fight with his outspoken views against the Vietnam War.
He refused to serve in the military when he was drafted in 1967 because he was a practicing Muslim minister with religious beliefs that prevented him from fighting.
“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America,” he had explained. “And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put any dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them, poor people? Just take me to jail.”