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In the News: Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali made the news in Scholastic News Edition 5/6 on October 31, 2005
By Tiffany Chaparro

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali is seen training October 9, 1974 for his world championship fight in Zaire.
(Photo: AP Wide World)
Muhammad Ali, world-famous icon and former heavyweight champion, is opening the Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The Ali Center, which is set to open November 21, will show videos, newsreel footage, and photos of Ali and historical events.

The center will also focus on themes of peace, social responsibility, respect, and personal growth. Ali hopes to inspire people to believe in themselves and follow their dreams like he did.

"No one should allow others to determine who they are or their potential for greatness," Ali said. "All of us are born with the potential for greatness."

Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in 1942. He grew up in Kentucky during segregation. This means that there were different rules for blacks and whites that were unfair to blacks and other minorities.

Clay became interested in boxing when he was 12 years old after a police officer suggested it. By 18, Ali was the light-heavyweight gold medalist at the Summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy.

Within a few months of winning the gold medal, Clay decided to become a professional boxer. From 1960 to 1963, Clay had a record of 19-0, with 15 knockouts! In 1964, he won his first world-heavyweight championship. Also that year, Clay joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. This decision caused a major controversy.

Ali stirred more controversy when he was sentenced to jail and stripped of his world-championship boxing title for refusing to be drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. He chose not to fight because of his religious beliefs.

But in 1974, Ali regained his heavyweight title in the "Rumble in the Jungle" boxing match against George Foreman in Zaire.

Ali continued to box until 1981, when he retired with a record of 56 wins and 5 losses. In 1982 Ali was diagnosed with Pugilistic Parkinson's syndrome, a disorder that can occur among professional boxers who receive several blows to the head. In 1996, Ali lit the Olympic flames of the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.

Today, he lives in Michigan with his wife.