Cassius Clay - Originally known as Cassius Clay, Ali...

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Originally known as Cassius Clay, Ali changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964, subsequently converting to Sunni Islam in 1975, and more recently to Sufism. In 1967, three years after Ali had won the World Heavyweight Championship, he was publicly vilified for his refusal to be conscripted into the U.S. military, based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War – "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. .. No Vietcong ever called me nigger" – one of the more telling remarks of the era. At the age of 12, Ali discovered his talent for boxing through an odd twist of fate. His bike was stolen, and Ali told a police officer, Joe Martin, that he wanted to beat up the thief. "Well, you better learn how to fight before you start challenging people," Martin reportedly told him at the time. In addition to being a police officer, Martin also trained young boxers at a local gym. Ali started working with Martin to learn how to box, and soon began his boxing career. In his first
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