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In addition, he was known for his social message of black pride and black resistance to white domination and for refusing induction into the U. His final record of 56 wins and 5 losses with 37 knockouts has been matched by others, but the quality of his opponents and his overwhelming success during his prime placed him among boxing’s immortals.
He won the gold medal in light heavyweight boxing and returned to the United States to pursue his professional boxing career shortly thereafter.
It was also around this time that Clay became a member of the Nation of Islam, announcing his name as Cassius X, then Muhammad Ali in 1964.
On March 6, 1964, he took the name Muhammad Ali, which was given to him by his spiritual mentor, For the next three years, Ali dominated boxing as thoroughly and magnificently as any fighter ever had.
In a May 25, 1965, rematch against Liston, he emerged with a first-round knockout victory.
He held his hands unconventionally low, backed away from punches rather than bobbing and weaving out of danger, and appeared to lack true knockout power.
The opponents he was besting were a mixture of veterans who were long past their prime and fighters who had never been more than mediocre.Ali was the first fighter to win the world heavyweight championship on three separate occasions; he successfully defended this title 19 times.Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest boxers in history, the first fighter to win the world heavyweight championship on three separate occasions. Muhammad Ali achieved renown as a boxer through his speed, superb footwork, ability to take a punch, and tremendous courage.There are also records of FBI surveillance of Muhammad Ali in various parts of the country and his time spent with the members of the Nation of Islam.Also, a motion picture, sound recordings and several photographs of Ali at State Dinners and meetings with sitting presidents.He sought to raise public interest in his fights by reading childlike poetry and spouting self-descriptive phrases such as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” He told the world that he was “the Greatest,” but the hard realities of boxing seemed to indicate otherwise.Clay infuriated devotees of the sport as much as he impressed them.Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!Born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, Muhammad Ali is consistently ranked as one of the greatest boxers of all time.At the age of 18, Ali traveled to Rome, Italy to participate in the 1960 Olympics.