It has been more than 40 years since Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston in one of the biggest upsets in the history of boxing and became the heavyweight champion of the world. Clay went on to change his name to Muhammad Ali and change the face of our nation forever. Since his last fight in 1981, Aliís legend has only grown. While some believe that the controversial superstar is now being idolized by a nation that once reviled him due to his old age and deteriorating health, Aliís legacy both in and out of the ring need not be dramatized in order to understand its scope.
There are three clear parts of Aliís life. He was born in rural Kentucky and began his boxing career at an early age. Shortly after winning the title he changed his name and became a lighting rod for controversy. Since leaving the ring, Ali has become an ambassador for peace and an icon the world over. In order to understand the man we see today, it is necessary to look back at the turning points and crossroads throughout life. If you already have an opinion of Ali one way or another, take the time to analyze this opinion and perhaps heíll convince you of the same thing he told the group of reporters sitting ringside that 1964 February evening in Miami Beach. He said simply, ďEat your words! Eat your words! I am the greatest!Ē