Muhammad Ali remembered in San Diego for his fights outside of the boxing ring

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Muhammad Ali’s greatness in the boxing ring is unquestioned, but his legacy outside of it is where his lasting impact will forever be felt.

Ali announced his conversion to the Nation of Islam shortly after defeating then-heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in 1964. Muslims around the world say Ali has inspired them tremendously, and the Islamic Center in San Diego took the time to honor the late, great man. Ali’s ties to the San Diego Islamic community go back to over 30 years ago, when Ali wrote a generous check to fund the construction of a mosque for the Islamic Center in Clairemont. It’s his humanitarian efforts that have many local Muslims mourning the loss of one of the most beloved global figures.

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One of Ali’s most defining fights was outside of the ring, where he lost three years of his career during his athletic prime due to his refusal to join the army and fight in Vietnam. He went on to beat the conviction, but we’ll never know how his time banned from the ring detracted from his greatness within it. Many note that his boxing style was never the same after his return, even if he continued tallying wins and holding titles. 

His fans say his legacy was made historic because of what those three years represent.

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"Muhammad Ali, as I can see him is, I see him beyond the ring," Imam Taha Hassane with the San Diego Islamic Center said. "Of course he was a boxing champion with gold medals and a world champion, etcetera, but the other side of his personality that is often neglected by a lot of people is that he was a civil rights champion."

"He was a person who challenged the status quo at the time and he took decisions that were very unpopular at that time."

Categories: Local San Diego News