Muhammad Ali was born on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. His birth name was Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, but he changed it to Muhammad Ali in 1964 after he joined the Nation of Islam.
As an amateur boxer, Ali won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. When he turned professional, he was the first person to win the world lineal heavyweight championship three times. Ali has 56 wins and 5 loses to his career records.
In 1967, Ali was arrested for draft evasion charges after refusing to be drafted into the U.S. military based on religious beliefs and general opposition to the Vietnam War. The arrest caused him to lose his boxing license, as well as the boxing title for four years while the case was fought in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Muhammad Ali was known for his unique fighting style, which he himself described as "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee". Some of his most notable boxing matches included the three matches with Joe Frazier and one with George Foreman. In 1970, while his case was still on appeal in the Supreme Court, Ali was allowed to resume boxing in Georgia against Jerry Quarry, whom he defeated after three rounds. Shortly after the match, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that Muhammad Ali had been unjustly denied his boxing license and Ali went on to fight Oscar Bonavena in 15 long rounds before finally defeating him and qualifying for the match against the undefeated Joe Frazier. On March 8, 1971, Frazier and Ali met for the "Fight of the Century", which ended in Ali's first professional loss.
During a match with Foreman, Ali invented a tactic that involved leaning on the ring ropes and covering up against ineffective body shots thrown by Foreman. This move was later termed "The Rope-A-Dope". Ali regained his world title in this match.
Muhammad Ali has been married four times and has seven daughters and two sons. It was during his third marriage with a woman by the name of Veronica Porche that Ali's daughter Laila was born in December of 1977.
In Laila's first professional boxing match in December of 1999, Ali knocked out April Fowler in the first round. She went on to win 8 consecutive matches and soon the boxing fans wanted to see Laila Ali face off against George Foreman's daughter or Joe Frazier's daughter. It was June 2001 when Ali had the first match with Jackie Frazier-Lyde (Joe Frazier's daughter). The fight was given the name Ali/Frazier IV, after the women's fathers' fight trilogy. After 8 rounds, the judges ruled Laila Ali the winner.
In 2002, Laila Ali co-authored a book with David Ritz, titled Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power. It was meant to motivate and inspire young people.
Laila has been married twice. She gave birth to her son, Curtis Muhammad Conway Jr on August 26, 2008.