Muhammad Ali, the boxer, was an Olympic Gold medalist and the first to win the heavyweight title three times. Muhammad Ali, the star, was a jive talking showman who had reporters eating out of his hands always wondering what he was going to say next. Muhammad Ali, the humanitarian, has worked to uplift and inspire people around the world. Ali grew up Cassius Clay Jr.. in Louisville, Kentucky, and started boxing at an early age. Working on his fitness he'd run beside the school bus rather than ride it, and spar under an old cedar tree in his front yard. He took up boxing so that he would be ready if he ever caught up with the thieves who stole his treasured bicycle. But boxing became so much more to him than just a way to get revenge or defend himself. During his amateur career he registered 100 wins and only five losses, competed in the famous Golden Gloves tournament, and won a Gold Medal in the 1960 Olympic games in Rome. Ali's third professional bout was against Sonny Liston, the champ, on Feb 25th, 1964 in Miami Beach. Ali won in an upset, becoming the heavyweight champion of the world, and then retained his title the following year. In March 1964 he celebrated his joining the Fellowship of Islam by changing his name to Muhammad Ali. In 1966 Ali became a conscientious objector to the war in Vietnam, refusing to fight due to his religious beliefs, and taking his personal battle to court. Toward the end of the 70's, boxing was losing it's grip on the American public and many of Ali's former opponents had retired. By now, Ali was firmly established as a cultural phenomenon, his views on politics, fate, society, and life sought by the media and public. He was, arguably, the most famous person in the world. Ali retired in June, 1979, but was coaxed out of retirement in 1980 to contest the WBC title, and that was when the first rumblings that something was seriously wrong with the greatest boxer in history, took hold. He was examined at the Mayo Clinic and diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1983. Since retiring he has worked endlessly for various humanitarian causes, including the search for a cure for Parkinson's.