Posted June 3, 2016 5:34 PM ET; Last updated June 4, 2016 4:11 AM ET
Fighter: Kentucky-born Ali picked up the gloves at the age of 12. Within six years he'd achieved an amateur record of 100 wins to five losses and took gold at the 1960 Olympic games. That same year he turned pro.
[Updated June 4, 2016 4:11 AM ET]
An Olympic champion and veteran of 61 heavyweight fights spanning three decades, in the ring Ali may be best known for his three epic bouts with longtime foil Joe Frazier, a brutal trilogy that left both fighters greatly diminished.
Ali who devoted much of his post-boxing career to humanitarian causes around the world and who for decades was widely recognized as the most famous person on the planet, had battled Parkinson’s since 1984 and in recent years had lost the ability to speak. It was a cruelly ironic twist for the outspoken boxer who made almost as many headlines with his loquaciousness and poetry — “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see” — as he did with his dancing feet and iron fists.
Muhammad Ali dead at 74
By Don Burke
June 4, 2016 | 12:31am
New York Post
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[Posted June 3, 2016 5:34 PM ET]
Bob Gunnell said Thursday that Ali, who has long battle Parkinson's Disease, is in 'fair condition' and being being treated by doctors in Phoenix, where he lives, as a precaution.
He declined to say in which hospital Ali is based or when he was admitted. However, he did say that Ali's stay in hospital is expected to be 'brief.'
'He is being treated by his team of doctors and is in fair condition,' Gunnell said. 'A brief hospital stay is expected. At this time, the Muhammad Ali family respectfully requests privacy.'
The three-time world heavyweight boxing champion's health has been fragile in recent years, but he has always succeeded in fighting back.
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The Greatest: Ali (seen here victorious over Sonny Liston in 1965) was a three-time world heavyweight boxing champ in his prime.
And although his public appearances have diminished since then, Ali has remained active on his official Twitter channel, and has also spoken up on major issues of the day.
In December last year, Ali responded to Donald Trump's remarks about banning Muslims from the U.S. with an open letter that asked for peace and understanding, rather than fear.
'Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam,' said Ali, who converted to Islam in 1964,
Talking about recent terror attacks, he added that politicians should 'clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people's views on what Islam really is.'
That remark continued a long history of outspoken political activism by the 'rope-a-dope' champ, who nearly torpedoed his own career in 1966 when he refused to sign up the Vietnam War, saying 'No Vietcong ever called me a n****.'
Triumphant: Ali spars with challenger Floyd Patterson for the world heavyweight championship belt in 1965. Clay won in the 12th round with a technical knockout.
In 1990, he met with Saddam Hussein in Kuwait to negotiate the release of American hostages, and in 2011 appealed to Iran to release a pair of captive hikers.
Ali was born Cassius Clay Jr on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. His introduction to boxing began when he was just 12: Furious over the theft of his bike, he told a police officer he would 'whup' the thief.
That officer happened to be boxing coach Joe E. Martin, who told the young boy he should learn to box before he put up his fists - and that's exactly what he did.
Over the next six years Clay won six Kentucky and two national Golden Gloves titles, an Amateur Athletic Union National Title and the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics.
That same year he left behind an incredible amateur scorecard of 100 wins with five losses and took up the mantle as a professional.
His speed and strength quickly took him up the ladder, though his mouth was what caught the public's attention.
With characteristic cockiness, he called New Yorker Doug Jones - then third in the world behind Clay and then-champ Sonny Liston - 'an ugly little man' and Jones's home turf of Madison Square Garden as 'too small for me'.
Though statements like that would become his trademark, they didn't go down well at the time, and when Clay beat Jones in 1963 by unanimous vote, the ring was pelted with trash by the audience.
In 1964 Clay was gunning for Liston's title, saying he would 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,' while Liston was an 'ugly bear' who would be donated to the zoo after the match.
Though temporarily blinded by ointment used to seal Liston's cuts - the first he'd ever had inflicted in the ring - Clay won in the seventh round by a TKO. At 22, he was the youngest-ever heavyweight champion.
It was after this match that Clay announced he had converted to Islam, given up what he called his 'slave name' and would in the future be known by a new moniker: Muhammad Ali.
Liston came back for the belt the next year, but was taken down in two minutes by Ali, who knocked him down with a blow so fast it was hard to see - a blow the press later called the 'phantom punch.'
From 1967-1970, following an outcry at his refusal to sign up for the Vietnam War (Ali told press 'No Vietcong ever called me a n****'), Ali found himself frozen out of the game, denied a boxing license, and stripped of his passport and - arguably worse - title.
During that time he spoke at colleges against the Vietnam War and in favor of racial justice and black pride - beginning an interest in advocacy that he would pursue in later years.
Finally, he was able to return to boxing with his draft evasion case still on appeal, and in 1971 he took on Joe Frazier in what was dubbed 'The Fight of the Century.'
This was the first fight in which Ali introduced his 'rope-a-dope' strategy, leaning against the ropes to exhaust his opponent but ultimately lost in his first professional defeat. Three years later he took down Frazier by unanimous judges' decision.
This was Ali in his prime: taking on George Foreman in Zaire in 1974 - a bout that would be termed 'The Rumble in the Jungle' - he took down the fearsome boxer and reclaimed the world champ belt with a knockout.
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali, 74, hospitalized with respiratory issue - but spokesman says he's 'in fair condition'
Ali's hospitalization in Phoenix was announced Thursday
His spokesman said it was a 'precaution' and that he's 'in fair condition'
His stay in hospital is expected to be 'brief,' the spokesman said
He was last seen in public in April, attending a celeb fight night
By ASSOCIATED PRESS and JAMES WILKINSON FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 13:12 EST, 2 June 2016 | UPDATED: 17:01 EST, 2 June 2016
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Boxing great Muhammad Ali is hospitalized in the Phoenix area with what two people familiar with his condition say may be more serious problems than his previous hospital stays.
The people told The Associated Press on Thursday that Ali is fighting respiratory issues that are complicated by the Parkinson's that he was diagnosed with in the 1980s. The two spoke separately in describing Ali's condition that they say is concerning to family members.
Muhammad Ali hospitalized for treatment of respiratory issue
Posted: Jun 02, 2016 1:40 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 02, 2016 3:03 PM EDT
WDRB 41 Louisville News