MUHUMMAD ALI Swap Card Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1960, Ali won a spot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team. He traveled to Rome, Italy, to compete. At 6 feet 3 inches tall, Ali was an imposing figure in the ring. He was known for his footwork, and for possessing a powerful jab. After winning his first three bouts, Ali then defeated ZbigniewPietrzkowski from Poland to win the gold medal. After his Olympic victory, Ali was heralded as an American hero. He soon turned professional with the backing of the Louisville Sponsoring Group. During the 1960s Ali seemed unstoppable, winning all of his bouts with majority of them being by knockouts. He took out British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper in 1963 and then knocked out Sonny Liston in 1964 to become the heavyweight champion of the world. Often referring to himself as "the greatest," Ali was not afraid to sing his own praises. Ali was doing some spiritual searching and decided to join the black Muslim group, the Nation of Islam, in 1964. At first he called himself Cassius X, but then settled into the name Muhammad Ali. Two years later, Ali started a different kind of fight when he refused to acknowledge his military service after being drafted. He said that he was a practicing Muslim minister, and that his religious beliefs prevented him from fighting in the Vietnam War. Ali was a boxer, philanthropist and social activist and is considered to have been on of the greatest boxers of all time.