For the 18-year-old from Louisville, here atop the medal stand after his Olympic victory, all roads led from Rome. Clay finished his amateur career with a record of 100-5 and made his professional debut two months after the Games.
Muhammad Ali picks up his grandson Michael Alford, 5, before the start of the premier showing of "Twice Born," in New York Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2000. The NBC documentary offers a look into the life and career of Ali through the prism of the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he won the light heavyweight boxing gold medal, and the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta where Ali lit the torch during opening ceremonies.
After a long, often sloppy bout, Ali -- here being held back by referee Mark Conn -- produced one of the most dramatic finishes of his career, dropping Bonavena three times in the 15th and final round to automatically end the fight. The win cleared the way for a showdown with Joe Frazier, the man who had taken the heavyweight title in Ali's absence.