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Boxing legend Muhammad Ali

Updated 11:49 AM ET, Mon June 6, 2016
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Since winning a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics, Muhammad Ali has never been far from the public eye. Take a look at the life and career of Ali, the three-time heavyweight boxing champion who called himself "The Greatest." Bob Gomel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, poses in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, prior to his amateur boxing debut in 1954. He was 12 years old and 85 pounds. As an amateur, he won 100 out of 108 fights. AP
Ali rose to prominence at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, where he claimed a gold medal in the light-heavyweight division. Central Press/Getty Images
Ali boldly predicted it would take him five rounds to knock out British boxer Henry Cooper ahead of their bout in London in 1963. The fight was stopped in the fifth round as Cooper was bleeding heavily from a cut around his eye. Len Trievnor/Express/Getty Images
Patrick Power, 6, takes on Ali in the ring in 1963. Patrick was taking boxing lessons after getting bullied. Keystone/Getty Images
Ali poses for a picture with The Beatles in Miami, during the run-up to his heavyweight title fight against Sonny Liston in 1964. Chris Smith/Popperfoto/Getty Images
Ali celebrates after defeating Liston in Miami on February 25, 1964. Upon becoming world heavyweight champion for the first time, Ali proclaimed, "I am the greatest!" Harry Benson/Express/Getty Images
Ali relaxes after his win over Liston in 1964. At 22, he became the youngest boxer to take the heavyweight title from a reigning champion. Harry Benson/Express/Getty Images
Civil rights activist Malcolm X, left, takes a picture of a tuxedo-clad Ali surrounded by jubilant fans in March 1964. Shortly after the Liston fight, Ali announced that he had joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay. Bob Gomel/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Known for being as quick with his mouth as he was with his hands, Ali often taunted his opponents. He famously said he could "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Harry Benson/Getty Images
Ali prepares to defend his heavyweight title in 1965. Allsport/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Ali stands over Liston during their rematch in Lewiston, Maine, on May 25, 1965. Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
Ali eats at a restaurant in 1965. Terry Fincher/Express/Getty Images
The referee pushes Ali to a neutral corner as Floyd Patterson slumps to the canvas in November 1965. The fight was stopped at the end of the 12th round and Ali was declared the winner. Allsport/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Ali signs an autograph for a fan in 1966. Evening Standard/Getty Images
Ali visits a children's home in London in May 1966. R. McPhedran/Express/Getty Images
Ali trains for his second fight against British champion Henry Cooper in May 1966. R. McPhedran/Express/Getty Images
British talk-show host Eamonn Andrews shares a laugh with Ali in May 1966. Les Lee/Express/Getty Images
Ali lands a right to the head of Brian London during their bout in London on August 6, 1966. Ali won by a knockout in the third round. Allsport/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Ali looks in his hotel-room mirror in February 1967. Harry Benson/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The referee counts as Ali looks down at Zora Folley during a championship fight in New York on March 23, 1967. Ali won by a knockout in the seventh round. AFP/Getty Images
As a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, Ali refused induction into the U.S. Army in April 1967. Here, top athletes from various sports gather to support Ali as he gives his reasons for rejecting the draft. Seated in the front row, from left to right, are Bill Russell, Ali, Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images
Ali walks through the streets of New York with members of the Black Panther Party in September 1970. Ali was sentenced to five years in prison for his refusal to enter the draft, and he was also stripped of his boxing title. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali's conviction in 1971, but by that time Ali had already become a figurehead of resistance and a hero to many. Related: Photographer fondly recalls his three days with Ali David Fenton/Archive Photos/Getty Images
On November 2, 1970, Ali returned to the ring for his first professional fight in three years. He defeated Jerry Quarry in the third round. Keystone/Getty Image
Known as the "Fight of the Century," Ali and Joe Frazier split a $5 million purse to fight for Frazier's title on March 8, 1971, in New York. Frazier won by unanimous decision, handing Ali his first professional loss. AFP/Getty Images
Ali toys with the finely combed hair of television sports commentator Howard Cosell before the start of the Olympic boxing trials in August 1972. AP
Ali and Frazier appear on "The Dick Cavett Show" in January 1974. The two got into a brawl in ABC's New York studio and were fined $5,000 each. ABC/Getty Images
Ali passes a cheering crowd in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), on September 28, 1974. Ali was in the country to fight George Foreman, who had recently defeated Frazier to win the title. AFP/Getty Images
Ali and Foreman fight October 30, 1974, in what was billed as "The Rumble in the Jungle." Ali, a huge underdog, knocked out Foreman in the eighth round to regain the title that was stripped from him in 1967. AFP/Getty Images
Ali addresses a Nation of Islam meeting in London in December 1974. The following year, Ali left the Nation and embraced a more mainstream Islamic faith. Tim Graham/Evening Standard/Getty Images
Ali offers advice to future opponent Richard Dunn in March 1976. Ali defeated Dunn in the fifth round two months later. It was his last knockout win. Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Ali and his third wife, Veronica, second from right, visit the Kremlin in Moscow in June 1978. The two were married from 1977 to 1986. Ali was married four times. AFP/Getty Images
Ali takes his daily run along a Pennsylvania country road, shrouded in early morning fog, in 1978. Keith Williams/The Courier-Journal/USA TODAY Sports
Ali takes a hit from Leon Spinks during their title fight in New Orleans on September 15, 1978. Ali won by unanimous decision, regaining the title he lost to Spinks earlier that year. AFP/Getty Images
Ali sits with his daughters Laila and Hana at the Grosvenor House in London in December 1978. He briefly retired from professional boxing the following year. Frank Tewkesbury/Evening Standard/Getty Images
Ali came out of retirement on October 2, 1980, for a title fight with Larry Holmes and a guaranteed purse of $8 million. Holmes won easily, beating up Ali until the fight was stopped after the 10th round. Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Ali and Trevor Berbick weigh in for their fight in the Bahamas in December 1981. Berbick won by unanimous decision. It was Ali's last professional fight. Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Ali prays at a mosque in Cairo in October 1986. Two years prior, he revealed that he had Parkinson's syndrome, a disorder of the central nervous system. MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images
In 1990, Ali met with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to negotiate the release of 15 American hostages in Iraq and Kuwait. Here, Ali leaves Iraq with the hostages on December 2, 1990. RABIH MOGHRABI/AFP/Getty Images
Ali lights the Olympic torch at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Lutz Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images
Juan Antonio Samaranch, president of the International Olympic Committee, gives Ali a replacement gold medal in 1996. Ali had thrown his 1960 gold medal into the Ohio River after he was criticized for not fighting in Vietnam. Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images
Ali and his fourth wife, Lonnie, unveil his special-edition Wheaties box in February 1999. The box marked the cereal's 75th anniversary, and it was the first time a boxer appeared on the cover. HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger raises Ali's hand during the Celebrity Fight Night charity event in Phoenix in March 2002. Schwarzenegger was presented with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for his work with the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Foundation, the Inner-City Games Foundation and the Special Olympics. The award was presented by former CNN host Larry King, left. Jeff Topping/Getty Images
Ali arrives in Kabul, Afghanistan, in November 2002 for a three-day goodwill mission as a special guest of the United Nations. He was appointed as a U.N. Messenger of Peace in 2000. Paula Bronstein/UNICEF/Getty Images
U.S. President George W. Bush presents Ali with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, on November 9, 2005. Douglas A. Sonders/Getty Images
Members of the media watch a video of Ali before the grand opening of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, in November 2005. JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images
Ali's wife, Lonnie, watches as actress Alfre Woodard presents him with the President's Award during the 2009 NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles. Vince Bucci/Getty Images for NAACP
On May 24, 2011, Ali appears at the National Press Club in Washington to publicly appeal to Iranian officials for the release of captive hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. The hikers were released in September 2011, more than two years after their detention. YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images
Ali poses during a photo shoot outside his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, in January 2012. Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
Ali poses for a picture with, from left, Greg Fischer, Len Amato, daughter Laila Ali and Donald Lassere during the U.S. premiere of the HBO film "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight" in October 2013. Michael Hickey/Getty Images for HBO
A boxing robe worn by Ali, which belonged to the late country singer Waylon Jennings, went up for auction in 2014. Guernsey's Auction House/AP
Ali is seen with singer Carrie Underwood at a charity event in Phoenix in April. Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night