THE GREATEST: Born Today, January 17, 1942: Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad AliPosted: January 17, 2017
Jerry Mitchell writes: January 17, 1942: Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Muhammad Ali broke through racial barriers in the segregated South and became the best boxer in history, winning an Olympic gold medal in 1960 and the heavyweight championship in 1964. Three years, he was stripped of his title after he refused to be drafted into military service. In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction, and Ali fought again, winning back the heavyweight crown in 1974 when he defeated George Foreman. But the boxer formerly known as Cassius Clay is probably best remembered for his three matches against Joe Frazier. His boxing and his words became poetry, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Sports Illustrated declared him “Sportsman of the Century,” and President George W. Bush awarded Ali the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Despite suffering from Parkinson’s disease, he dedicated himself to philanthropy. He died in 2016.