He came into the world as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on Jan. 17, 1942, in Louisville, Ky., the son of Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., a handsome, loquacious sign painter, and his wife, Odessa Grady Clay, a church-going woman who tried to instill into her two sons the virtues of hard work, humility and respect for their elders.


He departed this mortal coil in a Phoenix hospital on Friday as Muhammad Ali, 74, arguably the foremost heavyweight champion ever, and the most widely known human being in the second half of the 20th century.  And while the self-proclaimed GOAT (“Greatest of All Time”) retained some of the traits of his birth parents – the good looks...

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