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Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies at 74


06-05-2016 10:48 BJT

Complications from a decades-long battle with Parkinson's disease has claimed the life of boxing titan Muhammad Ali. His family, sharing the final moments of the former Heavyweight Champion, say he did not suffer, was surrounded by loved ones, and fought to the end. CCTV's Sean Callebs has more on the 74-year-old icon's life and legacy - in and outside the ring.

He's always been as brash as he was brilliant

Muhammad Ali is considered by most to be the greatest of all time.

A heavyweight fighter, who was amazingly agile in the ring. The only thing faster than his lightning punches was his wit.

Ali, at age 22-when he was still known as Cassius Clay - on the eve of fighting, and defeating the highly favored Sonny Liston to win the heavyweight crown for the first time.

But Ali's most protracted fight was against the United States government.

After converting to Islam, and changing his name - Ali - refused induction in the U.S. Army after being drafted, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to the U.S. involvement in the war.

The late Bert Sugar was one of boxing's legendary journalists.

Indeed Ali was eventually vindicated, but the U.S. legal battle robbed the champ of his prime.

At this point in his life - Ali was regarded as the best known athlete in the world.

He was wildly popular in China.

Anywhere he traveled, Ali was seemingly always shoulder to shoulder with fans - and the always present media.

Ali's greatest rival - was arguably Smokin' Joe Frazier.

Their third, and final bout - dubbed the 'Thrilla in Manila' - is considered one of the greatest fights of all time.

Ali won by a TKO when one Frazier's trainers stopped the fight in the 14th round.

But Ali's critics - and his doctors - believe Ali stayed in the sport he loved, too long.

This horrific beating he took at the hands of Larry Holmes is largely blamed for advancing his Parkinson's disease.

Ali had fame - after leaving the ring - lighting the Olympic torch to signal the start of the '96 summer games in Atlanta.
But the years of abuse had taken its toll.

Ali was married four times - and had seven daughters and two sons.

His daughter Laila, became a boxer in 1999.

Muhammad Ali was forced to curtail his public appearances in the last few years as his health declined.

But he was always a big draw.

And, he remained 'The Greatest'- Muhammad Ali-dead at 74.

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