This article focuses on Muhammad Ali’s internationalism, particularly in relation to the African continent. It highlights the tensions and energies that defined Ali’s political engagements outside the United States. The conclusion is that Ali’s actions were at times principled and progressive, at other times naïve, opportunistic, and/or conservative and, on the whole, personified the paradoxes and complications of Third World solidarity, racial nationalism, and postcolonial politics. The essay revisits five particular moments in this history: Ali’s 1964 visit to three African countries; the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” fight between Ali and George Foreman in Zaire in 1974; Ali seriously contemplating participating in boxing matches in South Africa; Ali’s Cold War diplomacy on behalf of the United States government; and, finally, Ali’s visit to a newly freed Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

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