Known for floating like a butterfly, and stinging like a bee, Muhammad Ali is now fighting to have two detained American hikers freed.
According to the Huffington Post, Ali is reaching out to Iranian leadership to help free a pair of American hikers still being held in Iran.
Two years ago, American hikers Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd went on a hiking trip to northern Iraq, and were subsequently detained by Iranian forces on espionage charges, although the Americans were still inside the Iraqi borders, according to reports.
Fattal and Bauer remain confined somewhere in Iran — Shourd was released in September in a deal negotiated by the Swiss embassy – as problems arose between the United States and Iran during talks due mostly to animosity between the two nations.
Now, Ali is stepping in where diplomacy between the two countries has failed. In an open letter he sent to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei the American-Muslim asks Khamenei to "Please show the world the compassion I know you have in your heart."
Ali is a known activist for peace, as shown during the Iran-Iraq war where he also assisted with prisoner negotiation.
Ali previously sent a letter to the Iranian leader shortly before the release of Shourd, although there is no direct connection between the two events.
Iran also acted similarly when forces detained British sailors off the coast for a similar offense a few years ago. The penalty in Iran for espionage is death.