"The Greatest" heavyweight-boxing champion Cassius Clay or better known as Muhammad Ali was the dominant heavyweight fighter of the 1960s and 1970s. A fighter of exceptional speed and many talents, Muhammad Ali won the world heavyweight title on 3 separate occasions over a span of 15 years including the Gold Medal in the 1960’s Olympics that took place in Rome. On April 28, 1967, Ali was drafted into military service during the Vietnam War, his religion came into conflict with his patriotic duty as he avoided the draft Ali said at a ceremony in Houston, Texas “I have searched my conscience and I find I cannot be true to my belief in my religion by accepting such a call. … If justice prevails, if my Constitutional rights are upheld, I will be forced to go neither to the Army nor jail. In the end I am confident that justice will come my way for the truth must eventually prevail.” Two months later in June of 1967, a Houston jury took 21 minutes to convict Ali—still called Cassius Clay in court—of draft evasion. He was given a five-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. He would also be stripped of his passport and his heavyweight title, and was banned from fighting in the United States until death. After spending almost 3 years in jail his appeal reached the Supreme Court in 1971. In the case Clay v. United States, the Court ruled 8-0 that Ali met the 3 standards for conscientious objector status: that he opposed war in any form, that his beliefs were based on religious teaching and that his objection was sincere. His conviction was reversed. And he returned to boxing and defeated George Foreman in1974 and Leon Spinks in1978. After retirement Ali has suffered from Parkinson's disease. Despite the progression of his disease, Ali remains active in the public life to this day; his most recent event was when he hosted the 15th Annual Celebrity Fight Night Awards in Phoenix, Arizona in March 2009. The event benefited the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation and the...
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