Muhammad Ali, The Greatest Showman Boxing Has Ever Seen

January 1963 - Pittsburgh: Boxing heavyweight contender Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali) reclining bare-chested in hotel room and pointing finger while expounding on boxing. (Photo by Marvin Lichtner/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Was Muhammad Ali the greatest showman? Sure -- just ask Muhammad Ali. "I am the greatest" was his mantra and, for entertainment value and cinematic charisma, he was right. Muhammad Ali was a very good boxer, but he was not unbeatable. But in terms of sports personalities -- or celebrity personalities -- he was on the highest plane. Muhammad Ali was charmingly cocky, he was an entertaining braggart, he was an entrancing presence whether you liked boxing or not. 

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., in 1942. Throughout his spectacular career, Ali boxed under the names of Cassius Clay and later Muhammad Ali, after converting from Baptist to Muslim. He passed away in 2016 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was one of the most celebrated athletes of our time -- for both his skill in the boxing ring and his larger-than-life charisma.