By: Abdullah Mulla, 5th Grade

Muhammad Ali, waiting like a lion in the corner of the ring, waiting to strike. His life started as a regular African American kid known as Cassius Clay. His career had started in the oddest of ways. Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., soon to be Muhammad Ali, was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville Kentucky. He was also soon to be a Philanthropist and Professional Boxer. His life changed at the age of 12, but he faced a certain struggle before that.

According to the article "The Importance of Muhammad Ali", Clay's black color was a big struggle for him. Though it never affected his career too much. He wasn't treated differently in his career life. Still, just like any African American he could barely drink water in stores without being racially discriminated. Even at the age of 3! Who knew that having your bike stolen could get you a professional boxing career? According to, that's how Ali made his debut in Boxing. Twelve year old Clay and his friend rode their bikes to the candy store, to get stuffed on sweets. When Clay came outside to check on his bike, it was stolen. A nearby stranger directed Clay to the gym, where a policeman stood proudly at his post, guarding the area. The moment Clay entered the gym, something changed inside of him. The scene of people lifting weights, the smell of sweat, it all triggered something inside of Clay...true joy. From that moment, Clay would do nothing but train and exercise. From age 12 to age 23, training was a very important part in Clay’s life. He also won a Golden Olympic Medal at the age of 18, but what happened to Clay after 23?

The time was finally here! Clay's first boxing match, and this match, truly shocked the world! A new boxer Cassius Clay, was up against Heavy Weight Champion Charles "Sonny" Liston. Believe it or not, Clay won the match! Cassius Clay was now the Heavy Weight Champion! That took the world by storm. He shook the world again, even more, just two days later in a completely different way.

Two days later, Clay had joined the Nation of Islam. The world was very confused. Almost a week later, Islamic mentor Elijah Muhammad had given Cassius Clay the name of Muhammad Ali. Many people refused to refer Cassius Clay as Muhammad Ali, but that didn't affect him. The next 3 years of boxing was easy for him. One of his famous sayings was "float like a butterfly; sting like a bee".

Muhammad Ali was on a roll until he faced the big dilemma. The way Ali handled it though, it didn't seem like a difficult task. Ali was demanded to participate in the Vietnam War. Ali had simply denied it. According to the article "The Importance of Muhammad Ali", Ali had stated "I don't got no quarrels with them Vietcongs!" Ali was then sent to jail and banned from boxing for 3 years for denying a Federal order.

Ali retired in the late 1970's, but not exactly. He still did boxing matches on and off. However he did retire completely in 1981 and the inspirational man never officially had a boxing round ever since. Muhammad Ali currently lives in his hometown, Louisville, Kentucky at the age of 73, with a loving family of his wife, Belinda Ali and his 8 children. The reason Ali is so famous is because he didn't just encourage black people. He encouraged everyone! He didn't just help black people. He helped everyone alike. Muhammad Ali, waiting like a lion in the corner of the ring, waiting to strike!