SI's 100 Greatest Photos of Muhammad Ali

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Text: Richard Rothschild, Colin Becht, SI.com
Photo: Neil Leifer

Muhammad Ali

Fifty years ago, 22-year-old Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) battered the heavily favored Sonny Liston in a bout that shook the boxing world. The fight ignited the career of one of sports' most charismatic and controversial figures, whose bouts often became social and political events rather than simply sports contests. At the peak of his fame, Muhammad Ali was the best known athlete in the world. On this, the 50th anniversary of Ali first becoming heavyweight champion, we present SI's 100 greatest photos of "The Greatest."

Liston, one of the most feared heavyweight champions in history, was a 1-8 favorite over the young challenger known as the Louisville Lip. But Clay, here stinging the champ with a right, used his dazzling speed and constant movement to dominate the action and pile up points.

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