ali, muhammad

Cultural Dictionary
Ali, Muhammad [(ah-lee)]

An African-American boxer of the twentieth century, who was world champion in the heavyweight class for several years between 1964 and 1979. He was known in his boxing career for his flamboyant personality and aggressive self-promotion, as well as for his superior boxing ability and style. His boxing strategy, he said, was to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” A Black Muslim, Ali was originally named Cassius Clay. After he refused for reasons of conscience to serve in the armed forces in the 1960s, several boxing associations revoked his title as world champion, but he regained it later. During his boxing career he was extremely popular in Africa, and after his retirement he traveled there as a goodwill ambassador.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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