(CNN)In 1960, Curt Gunther was an established sports photographer. A young boxer named Cassius Clay was heading to the Olympics, unknown by most outside his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, and some avid followers of the sport.
Previously unseen photos show young Muhammad Ali at home
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It was probably about then, says Curt Gunther's son, Steve, that two paths crossed, with the young boxer setting out on his history-making course and the photographer setting out to chronicle that course in images.
For decades, Curt Gunther stood by Ali's side both in and out of the ring, capturing the knockout punches that made news, and the candid moments that made up home life for a man who championed his sport and his beliefs.
Personal photographs of Muhammad Ali, rarely seen by the public, are some of the thousands of archives handed down from Curt Gunther to his son before the elder Gunther died in 1991.
"My dad just lived to get the shot," says Steve Gunther, who lives in California.
It is these snapshots that rarely saw the light of day that Steve Gunther wants the world to see as part of the joint legacy left by his father and, now, Ali.
"Though my father did publish a lot of his work, he was more concerned with getting 'the shot' than hustling up jobs or marketing himself, so there are thousands of photos in his archive," says the late photographer's son, who is working on restoring many of these historic images.
Curt Gunther died at age 72, before digital cameras revolutionized the field of photography.
"My poor dad struggled with his Nikon F camera his whole life," says Gunther. "He shot all these photos of celebrities the old-fashioned way before there were good zoom lenses, or auto-focus. He never got to experience the easy way of shooting."