Why is Muhammad Ali important?

Ali is important for his career in boxing and for the way he stood up to the Government for his belief in his religion (refusal to join military). Muhammad Ali always took special pride and knowledge in his African ancestral roots, but the guy was not out there acting as Martin Luther King. What really made the grade on the Ali legend is how he continued to win, when he wasn't expected to. Liston first bout was start. The Foreman match, also was a big really big upset and surprise, especially to the American people. It should be remembered that black fighters were already dominating the Heavyweight scene in boxing ever since Joe Louis was at the helm (pretty much). So, Ali being a black and at the top, really wasn't anything new.