Muhammad Ali is the only three-time Heavyweight Champion.. To use his own words, he "shocked the world" when he defeated Sonny Liston in February of 1964 to win the title for the first time. He then changed his name from Cassius Clay to Cassius X and then to Muhammad Ali.
He won a Gold Medal in the 1960 Olympics in Rome as a light heavyweight. He was a 7-1 underdog when he defeated Liston in their first bout. Ali defeated Liston a second time and years later he fought Joe Frazier three times.Those fights were classics; Frazier won the first one and Ali the next two.
Ali was stripped of his title when he refused induction into the Armed Forces because of his political and religious beliefs. He did not fight for three-and-a-half years but then he returned to the ring and won the title two more times.
Ali also was a great entertainer. He dubbed his fight with George Foreman in Zaire as the "rumble in the jungle." He called his third fight with Joe Frazier the "thrilla in Manila."
For Howard's thoughts on Muhammad Ali, click here.