Saturday, 4 June 2016
When Ali refused to be drafted to fight in Vietnam, citing that he refused to co-operate with the US government in oppressing another race of people and that he had: 'no quarrel with them Vietcong'.
He was stripped of his title, fined $10,000 and was given five years in jail, a sentence that was later quashed on appeal.
That he made a stand when the Vietnam war was still popular and at a time when black people still lacked basic civil rights in America was a huge step, especially as he must have known that it would hit his boxing career and his popularity.
Muhammad Ali was a legendary boxer but he was a rare breed where his largest impact was felt far beyond the boxing ring where he gave up some of the best years of his sporting career on principle and therefore moved on civil rights for generations to come and that is why he is rightly being called an inspiration.