The Legacy of Muhammad Ali

Remembering Muhammad Ali on the anniversary of him becoming the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Nick Pettit, Staff Writer

Born Cassius Clay, but later known as Muhammad Ali, Ali was a boxer, philanthropist, and a social activist. He is regarded as one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century.


He grew up in a heavily segregated south. When he was young, he had his bike stolen. When talking to police officer, Joe Martin, he said that he wanted to beat up the thief. Officer Martin reportedly told him, “Well, you better learn how to fight before you start challenging people.” according to, Clay and Martin started training, since Martin trained young boxers.


Clay had his first official bout in 1954, and he won the fight by split decision. Clay then went on to win the 1956 Golden Glove tournament for novices. Then in 1959, he won the National Golden Glove Tournament. He would then go to compete in the 1960 Olympics with the US boxing team. He won the gold medal in the 1960 Olympics and was heralded as a American Hero. 


On February 25th, 1964, Clay (Muhammad Ali) knocked out Sonny Liston and became the World Heavyweight Champion in boxing. It is also the day that he said his famous quote, “Float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee.” After this victory, he attended a party with his friend, Malcom X. Then on February 27th, 1964, Clay announced he would be joining the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. In April 1967, he was drafted to serve in the US military. He refused to serve on the grounds that he was a practicing Muslim Minister. He was stripped of his world title and boxing license. He was arrested and found guilty of violating the Select Service laws by the US Department of Justice. He was released in 1970, missing three years of the prime of his life. In June 1971, the US Supreme Court overturned the conviction.


Muhammad Ali, the world famous boxer, philanthropist, social activist, and was a important man in the history of sports. He was one of the Greastest boxers of all time: a Muslim, an American hero, and a man people look up to. He achieved many things, he is a symbol for black Americans in sports. He passed away in 2016, but his legacy still stands to this day.