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100 Greatest Photos of Muhammad Ali

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's greatest moments, in photos

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.

Boxing champ Muhammad Ali lets loose at a bowling alley in Chicago, IL in 1965 (Isaac Sutton/Ebony Collection) Muhammad Ali from the EBONY Archives

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100 Greatest Photos of Muhammad Ali

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.

Muhammad Ali's women - and a very fractured family

Frail: Muhammad Ali became dependent on his wife, Lonnie (right), and her sister, Marilyn Williams (left), after Parkinson's took hold