On February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston in Miami Beach to win his first heavyweight boxing title. Liston came into the match heavily favored; however, the 22-year-old Clay demonstrated superior speed and quickness against his older opponent, age 32. Liston succumbed to Clay by technical knockout (TKO) after failing to respond to the seventh round bell.
Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali one week after his first fight against Sonny Liston. In 1967, Ali was stripped of his boxing titles when he, a conscientious objector, refused to serve in the Vietnam War. After three years away from the ring, Ali returned to boxing and claimed several more titles before retiring in the early 1980s.
Ali is regarded by many boxing historians as the greatest heavyweight champion of all time. In addition to his many accomplishments inside the ring, Ali has created a lasting legacy as a philanthropist, social activist and cultural icon.