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Muhammad Ali's Louisville

Muhammad Ali, originally known as Cassius Clay, was born in Louisville on 17th January 1942.  It was here he honed his ability as a boxer, and it was here he returned to after winning an Olympic Gold Medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics. He returned often after capturing the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World and was actively involved with the vision and direction of the Muhammad Ali Center.

Muhammad Ali Center

The Muhammad Ali Center is a vision of the Ali family, opened in 2005 and celebrates the life and legacy of the worldclass boxer and global humanitarian. Located in downtown Louisville for over a decade, the six-story multicultural centre and award-winning museum features exhibits spotlighting the six core values Ali strived to live by throughout his life: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Respect, Giving and Spirituality. Highlights include a mock boxing ring, Ali boxing memorabilia, a theatre that screens a short film showcasing  Ali's life, and a full-sized boxing ring, where a large projector displays "The Greatest", his signature fight. Read more at

Columbia Gym

Ali first learned to box at the Columbia Gym, located in the basement of Columbia Auditorium, which is now the Spalding University Center. He was invited by Joe Martin, a police officer who also worked as a boxing coach. Ali met Martin when the young teen reported his red bicycle stolen. He never recovered the bike, but his fate was sealed with that encounter. The gym, where Ali first practised his first cutting jabs and fast footwork, is still used by Spalding athletes today.

Cave Hill Cemetery

This scenic 296-acre Victorian era National Cemetery and arboretum is the native son's final resting place. Public visiting hours are daily from 8 4:45 p.m. Ali joins other famous Kentucky icons, including KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders, Louisville founder George Rogers Clark, bourbon legend Pappy Van Winkle and the Hill sisters, former Louisville school teachers and authors of the "Happy Birthday" song.

Footsteps Of Greatness

Visit these other Ali-related Louisville Landmarks:

  • Central High School, where he graduated in 1960.
  • Freedom Hall, home to his first professional fight - Kentucky Exposition Centre
  • Second Street Bridge, where legend has it Ali tossed his Olympic Gold Medal into the Ohio River after being denied service in a local restaurant.
  • Muhammad Ali Boulevard from E. Chestnut to Southern Parkway.
  • Smoketown Boxing Glove Monument Hancock & Lampton Streets.
  • Kentucky Rushmore Mural 1503 Bardstown Road.
  • Ali's Hometown Hero Banner Third & River Roads.

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