Muhammad Ali dead at 74: Reaction to death of a boxing icon

By on

promo289290446There is a fascinating piece from the Hollywood bible, Variety, about the publication’s coverage of Muhammad Ali. His first mention came in the 1 December, 1961 edition, but Ali did not make it to page one until 30 January, 1963. That edition featured a dispatch from Pittsburgh on “the colorful young heavyweight” and his knockout of Charlie Powell.

Variety declared: “Never in the history of the city has a public figure dominated the news media as Brassius Cassius.” Ali made the rounds of local TV and public events and caused a stir simply by walking down the street. The story features generous examples of Ali’s verse including this gem: “If I say a mosquito can pull a plow/Just hitch him up and don’t ask how.”

But the highlight without a doubt is:

Variety even gave a good review to Ali’s one and only comedy album, I Am the Greatest, released by Columbia Records in 1963, months before he claimed his first heavyweight championship title.

Facebook Twitter Google plus
22m ago
16:16
Flags lowered in Louisville

Oliver Laughland Oliver Laughland
Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher. Photograph: Timothy D. Easley/AP
Flags in Louisville, Kentucky, Muhammad Ali’s hometown, have been lowered to half mast following a short ceremony led by the city’s mayor, during which he warmly remembered the former heavyweight champion’s childhood in the city.

“Muhammad Ali belongs to the world but he only has one hometown,” said Mayor Greg Fischer, as a small crowd applauded. “The Louisville Lip spoke to everyone, but we heard him in a way that no-one else could, as our brother, our uncle and our inspiration.”

The Mayor’s office said flags will remain at half mast until Ali is laid to rest in the city, which is home to the Muhammad Ali Center, a museum and cultural facility dedicated to his legacy and where he made his last formal appearance in October 2015.

Members of the Louisville Metro Police Color Guard lower the flags at Louisville city hall.
Members of the Louisville Metro Police Color Guard lower the flags at Louisville city hall. Photograph: Timothy D. Easley/AP
Fischer paid tribute to the local institutions that helped forge Ali’s early identity, reminding the crowd Ali had graduated from Louisville central high school in 1960 and was born in the local hospital on 17 January 1942.

“Imagine that day, that little boy, eyes wide open looking around the room at the old Louisville general hospital, not knowing the life that awaited him. The life he would make. The world he would shake up, and the people he would inspire.”

Fischer also recalled an anecdote from Ali’s early adolescence when his red bicycle was stolen in front of a downtown gym. “[He] told police officer Joe Martin that he wanted to ‘whoop’ whoever took it. And Martin said: ‘you better learn to box first’”.

As three Louisville metro police officers lowered the stars and stripes outside the Mayor’s office, a young boy in the crowd could be seen saluting.

Updated at 4.18pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
32m ago
16:06
Muhammad Ali with Nelson Mandela at a dinner in New York in 2005.
Muhammad Ali with Nelson Mandela at a dinner in New York in 2005. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock
Sello Hatang, head of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, has issued a statement following Muhammad Ali’s death:

Nelson Mandela, a boxing enthusiast most of his life, acknowledged Ali as his boxing hero. Madiba had great respect for his legacy and spoke with admiration of Ali’s achievements.”

A photograph of Ali and Mandela together sat next to the former president’s desk at his foundation, Hatang said, and Mandela’s favourite book at the office in his later years was an autographed copy of the Ali biography Greatest of All Time.

The statement included a comment Mandela made at an event in Washington DC in 1990: “There is one regret I have had throughout my life: that I never became the boxing heavyweight champion of the world.”

Facebook Twitter Google plus
46m ago
15:52
Obama pays tribute

US president Barack Obama has paid tribute to Muhammad Ali in a heartfelt statement:

Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing. But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time.

In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him – the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston.

I was too young when it was taken to understand who he was – still Cassius Clay, already an Olympic gold medal winner, yet to set out on a spiritual journey that would lead him to his Muslim faith, exile him at the peak of his power, and set the stage for his return to greatness with a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of South East Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden.”

Read more here.

Facebook Twitter Google plus
54m ago
15:44
I’m going to handover now to Chris Johnston. I’ll leave you with a summary of all our news and reaction, and George Foreman’s wonderful words on his boxing rival:

Muhammad Ali, ‘the Greatest’, dies in Phoenix
‘God came for his champion’: tributes from around the world
‘I’m so mean I make medicine sick’: his best quotes
Sean Ingle: The 20 moments that made him the Greatest
‘Fighter, joker, magician, preacher’: Kevin Mitchell’s tribute
The man behind the icon, by his biographer Thomas Hauser
Jamie Doward: Why Parkinson’s was Ali’s greatest battle
Play VideoPlay
Current Time 0:00
/
Duration Time 0:56
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
FullscreenMute
George Foreman on Muhammad Ali: he was truly beautiful – audio
Updated at 3.59pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
1h ago
15:39
James Lawton has written this lovely piece on Ali’s enduring spirit in the face of physical decline:

We are mourning not just the passing of the greatest fighter in history but a presence in our lives which, however haltingly, never ceased to speak of the possibilities of the human spirit.

Anyone who happened to be around him in the climactic phase of his career had to be aware of the dangers that he was courting. But almost to the end, on a chilly night in the Nevada desert in 1980 when he was pounded to a cruel defeat by his former sparring partner Larry Holmes, there was a belief, however irrational, that somehow he would find a way to beat the attrition of the years. He was, after all, a miracle of his species.

Ali’s physical decline could not mask his extraordinary spirit
James Lawton
Outpouring of grief at news of boxer’s death is reminder of how his aura touched all corners of the world
Read more
Facebook Twitter Google plus
1h ago
15:32
Muhammad Ali dead at 74 – summary

The world is mourning the death of boxing legend, Muhammad Ali, who has died aged 74 after being admitted to a hospital in Pheonix on Thursday. Ali had suffered from Parkinson’s syndrome since 1984. His condition was complicated by a respiratory illness. An announcement over funeral arrangements will be made late on Saturday. Ali will be buried in Louisville, according to local media.
President Obama released a statement with his wife Michelle Obama, saying: “Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it.” Bill Clinton described Ali’s talent as “a blend of beauty and grace, speed and strength that may never be matched again.”
The world of boxing has paid tribute. His great rival George Foreman put it beautifully: “You know what, I found Muhammad Ali to be one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever met in my life. I got beat up in the jungle. We never had any arguments until we met in the ring that night. I hit him with everything and I had, and all he would say is, ‘That all you got, George?’ What a night. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and myself were one guy – we lived through each other. A big piece of me died when he passed away, and I call it the greatest piece.”
Frank Bruno said Ali was an “inspiration, mentor, my friend, an Earthly god of humanity, simply the greatest”. Yorkshireman Richard Dunn, who lost to Ali in 1976, said: “When we’ve long gone they’ll still be talking about him and it’ll be worthwhile as well.”
Carl Froch paid tribute, saying “generations later people are still watching his fights and are still mesmerised by the way he worked,” and Prince Naseem added: “He deserves to be put on a platform which couldn’t be built by human hands.” Amir Khan said: “No fighter or sportsman will ever reach the level of Ali, whose name will continue to echo through the ages.”
Other sporting icons have paid tribute, including his friend Pele: “The sporting universe has just suffered a big loss. Muhammad Ali was my friend, my idol, my hero. The sadness is overwhelming.” Tiger Woods posted on Twitter: “You’ll always be The Greatest for more than just what you did in the ring.” Sachin Tendulkar said: “My hero since childhood. I always had a wish to meet you some day but now it will never happen. RIP The Greatest.”
Interviewer Michael Parkinson said: “He was the most extraordinary man I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a few. His charisma was palpable.”
Facebook Twitter Google plus
1h ago
15:18
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Follow
Chicago Bulls ? @chicagobulls
Rest in Peace to the Champ, Muhammad Ali.
3:16 PM – 4 Jun 2016
1,846 1,846 Retweets 2,752 2,752 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
1h ago
15:12
Follow
Bernie Sanders ? @BernieSanders
Muhammad Ali was the greatest, not only an extraordinary athlete but a man of great courage and humanity.
1:53 PM – 4 Jun 2016
2,593 2,593 Retweets 5,962 5,962 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
Advertisement

1h ago
15:09
The former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan:

He was 6ft 3in and 18 stone and he was walking round the ring like he was floating on air. He brought style and artistry to the game.

What he did was magnificent. He offered himself up for the African-American people to make a difference. He had courage in the ring and he had courage outside of it. For a number of reasons he is the greatest boxer of all time, arguably one of the greatest athletes of all time, and certainly one of the greatest individuals that there’s ever been.

As a person he was just lovely. You knew that he was gorgeous man, a really lovely man from the inside out. I loved him as a human being, loved him as a sportsman.

Facebook Twitter Google plus
2h ago
15:04

Follow
Historical Pics @HistoricalPics
Muhammad Ali on why he didn’t fight in the Vietnam War:
10:11 AM – 4 Jun 2016
5,024 5,024 Retweets 5,337 5,337 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
2h ago
15:02
Readers’ tributes
Nasim Chowdhury: “Muhammad Ali was exactly my father’s age so I missed his legendary sporting achievements, but I relived them through VHS video cassettes and copious reading. I also got to meet my hero in person at a shopping centre in London in the autumn of 1993 where he signed my copy of Thomas Hauser’s Muhammad Ali, His Life and Times. I found him to be just as handsome and noble in real life as he was on TV; perhaps even more so.

“The greatest thing about him for me though was not his sporting achievements as such, but how he used all the skills and talents he had – oral, physical, looks – to propagate his faith, and how beautifully he showed it as one of justice, dignity and equality.

“Being a young, black, American Muslim who was one of the greatest sportsmen (if not the greatest) of all time was a very potent combination, especially at a time when injustice and turmoil was at its height. It took a very brave soul to stand up to this and put a glittering career and reputation at stake, and yet he did it unflinchingly.

“Quite simply, he was the very best example of Islam in practice for millions of young Muslims all over the world. A true citizen of the world and a universal example. May he rest in peace.”

Ajay Patta: “That thing about John Lennon saying they were more famous than Jesus? Well, growing up in India in the 70s, we knew of Ali. Didn’t know anything about the Beatles. Make of that what you will. But I bet that can be safely applied to many of us from the subcontinent. I followed his career on the sports pages. Probably my first sporting hero.”

Updated at 3.03pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
2h ago
14:58
There are many tributes to Ali from the world of football, another illustration if it was needed of just how his influence spread above and beyond boxing. Here are a few from the Premier League:

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Follow
Wes Morgan ? @Wes5L1nk
#RIPMuhammadAli
11:32 AM – 4 Jun 2016
65 65 Retweets 234 234 likes
Follow
Mesut Özil ? @MesutOzil1088
“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion.” Thx for the inspiration, you greatest of all the time. R.I.P. ? #ali pic.twitter.com/RV9aw6lcgj
10:32 AM – 4 Jun 2016
9,635 9,635 Retweets 11,141 11,141 likes
Follow
Emmanuel Adebayor ? @E_Adebayor
SEA, RIP to the greatest. Definition of legend and empowerment. #RIPMuhammadAli pic.twitter.com/jlaRHBg1bl
10:26 AM – 4 Jun 2016
63 63 Retweets 100 100 likes
Updated at 2.59pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
2h ago
14:50
One of basketball’s greatest, LeBron James, on Muhammad Ali:

“The reason why he’s the GOAT [greatest of all time] is not because of what he did in the ring, which was unbelievable. It’s what he did outside of the ring, what he believed in, what he stood for, along with Jim Brown and Oscar Robertson, Lew Alcindor – obviously who became Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] – Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson. Those guys stood for something. He’s part of the reason why African-Americans today can do what we do in the sports world. We’re free. They allow us to have access to anything we want. It’s because of what they stood for, and Muhammad Ali was definitely the pioneer for that.

“People forget what you did as a professional. People forget the championships and all the other things you were able to accomplish. But they will never forget how you made them feel. That’s a Maya Angelou quote, but I’ll transcend that into what Muhammad Ali was able to do.”

Facebook Twitter Google plus
Advertisement

2h ago
14:46
Follow
Mia Hamm ? @MiaHamm
RIP, Champ. Thank you for your leadership, your humanity, and love. We are all better because of you. @MuhammadAli
1:38 PM – 4 Jun 2016
85 85 Retweets 404 404 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
2h ago
14:37
Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali stands over the British challenger Richard Dunn after knocking out his opponent in the fifth round of their fight in Munich in May 1976. Photograph: Dpa Files/EPA
Facebook Twitter Google plus
2h ago
14:35
Yorkshireman Richard Dunn, who lost to Ali in Hamburg when challenging for his WBA and WBC titles in May 1976, told Sky Sports News:

“I think his legacy will last forever. When we’ve long gone they’ll still be talking about him and it’ll be worthwhile as well. He was such a fantastic champion. (If young boxers) watch his fights and see what a great athlete he was and they want to be the same then it’s there for them. He’s a good example. He was a hell of a fighter.”

Other sporting icons have paid tribute. Pele said: “The sporting universe has just suffered a big loss. Muhammad Ali was my friend, my idol, my hero. We spent many moments together and always kept a good connection throughout the years. The sadness is overwhelming. I wish him peace with God. And I send love and strength to his family.”

And Tiger Woods posted on Twitter: “You’ll always be The Greatest for more than just what you did in the ring. A champion to so many people in so many ways.”

Facebook Twitter Google plus
2h ago
14:32
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Follow
Cincinnati Reds ? @Reds
A hero, legend and true inspiration. Rest In Peace, Muhammad Ali. #TheGreatest

(? 2009/Civil Rights Game Weekend)
1:43 PM – 4 Jun 2016
85 85 Retweets 262 262 likes
Follow
Carolina Panthers ? @Panthers
The Legend. The Champ. The Greatest.

Rest in peace, Muhammad Ali. pic.twitter.com/OMIRsTqIzu
1:32 PM – 4 Jun 2016
672 672 Retweets 1,172 1,172 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
2h ago
14:21
From one showman to another, Yorkshire’s former featherweight world champion Prince Naseem has paid this tribute to Ali:

I studied Ali growing up, for all of us in the gym there was only one focus: Ali was the only person to copy.

My thoughts and my prayers go out to his family. Muhammad Ali will never be forgotten. He was everything. He was bigger than the sport. He deserves to be put on a platform which couldn’t be built by human hands. There will never, ever be another Muhammad Ali.

I love the guy, I’ve got more pictures with Ali that with my own father. There was one video I always use to watch called a.k.a. Cassius Clay, I watched him religiously every day for 15 years. That’s what made me want to be a showman, be a champion the way that I was, speak the way that I did. It all goes back to Muhammad Ali.
a.k.a. Cassius Clay
Facebook Twitter Google plus
Advertisement

2h ago
14:11
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson)
June 4, 2016
[email protected] Champion,hero & global figure who sacrificed his career, fame& money;risked the most,for his beliefs. pic.twitter.com/YCSP4iuhEK

Facebook Twitter Google plus
3h ago
14:05
“Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it”

President Obama and the first lady Michelle Obama have released a statement on the death of Muhammad Ali:

Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d “handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.”

… In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him – the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston. I was too young when it was taken to understand who he was – still Cassius Clay, already an Olympic Gold Medal winner, yet to set out on a spiritual journey that would lead him to his Muslim faith, exile him at the peak of his power, and set the stage for his return to greatness with a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of Southeast Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden.

“I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me – black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.”

That’s the Ali I came to know as I came of age – not just as skilled a poet on the mic as he was a fighter in the ring, but a man who fought for what was right. A man who fought for us. He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.

He wasn’t perfect, of course. For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved. But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes – maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves. Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world. We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest. We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.

Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace.

Updated at 2.11pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
3h ago
13:54
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Follow
Harlem Globetrotters ? @Globies
One of the greatest athletes and showmen of all-time… RIP Muhammad Ali.
12:48 PM – 4 Jun 2016
56 56 Retweets 99 99 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
3h ago
13:52
In 2010 Barack Obama wrote this piece for USA Today about what Muhammad Ali meant to him:

It was this quality of Ali’s that I have always admired the most: his unique ability to summon extraordinary strength and courage in the face of adversity, to navigate the storm and never lose his way.

This is the quality I’m reminded of when I look at the iconic photo I’ve had hanging on my wall of the young fighter standing over Sonny Liston. And in the end, it was this quality that would come to define not just Ali the boxer but Ali the man — the Ali I know who made his most lasting contribution as his physical powers ebbed, becoming a force for reconciliation and peace around the world.

Facebook Twitter Google plus
3h ago
13:43

Follow
John Hunt @HuntyCaller
Muhammad Ali remembered with a minutes applause @EpsomRacecourse #Derby
1:19 PM – 4 Jun 2016
17 17 Retweets 21 21 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
Advertisement

3h ago
13:41
And the current IBF welterweight world champion, Kell Brook:

I’ve watched everything he’s ever done. He’s changed boxing, he took it to a completely different level, from a young brash Cassius Clay who shook up the world. The guy was way bigger than boxing. He’s touched many people over the world. He just wanted to give to everyone.

He just wanted to win. Maybe the people around him at the last part of his career should have told him to stop way before he did. In his mind he just thinks he’s the greatest – which he is – but sometimes the reflexes go and the young hungry fighters are coming though.

There will never be anybody like him.

Updated at 1.41pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
3h ago
13:33
Some more reaction from the boxing world coming in. Here’s four-time super-middleweight world champion Carl Froch talking on Sky Sports:

In his prime he was just a very skilful, awkward, tricky, elusive type of fighter and that’s how I will remember him – as one of the greatest. You’ve got to love the way he backed up what he said. He transcended our sport globally. Generations later people are still watching his fights and are still mesmerised by the way he worked. He was one of the greatest in my opinion. I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade but I’m a massive Mike Tyson fan, but you can easily say that Ali is up there with the top two or three of all time.

Facebook Twitter Google plus
3h ago
13:24
“A blend of beauty and grace, speed and strength that may never be matched again”

The former US president Bill Clinton has paid tribute:

Hillary and I are saddened by the passing of Muhammad Ali. From the day he claimed the Olympic gold medal in 1960, boxing fans across the world knew they were seeing a blend of beauty and grace, speed and strength that may never be matched again. We watched him grow from the brash self-confidence of youth and success into a manhood full of religious and political convictions that led him to make tough choices and live with the consequences. Along the way we saw him courageous in the ring, inspiring to the young, compassionate to those in need, and strong and good-humored in bearing the burden of his own health challenges.

I was honored to award him the Presidential Citizens Medal at the White House, to watch him light the Olympic flame, and to forge a friendship with a man who, through triumph and trials, became even greater than his legend. Our hearts go out to Lonnie, his children, and his entire family.

Updated at 1.25pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
3h ago
13:21
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA)
June 4, 2016
Nobody will ever come close to this mans greatness.
And if they do, they better wake up and apologise. #RIPAli pic.twitter.com/ED2wgignB2

Facebook Twitter Google plus
3h ago
13:17
Muhammad Ali’s greatest biographer, Thomas Hauser, has written this wonderful piece for the Guardian reflecting on getting to know the deeply spiritual and intelligent boxer:

Ali was tired. He’d been awake since 5am, when he’d risen to pray and read from the Qur’an. His voice, already weak from the ravages of Parkinson’s Syndrome, was flagging. The facial “mask” which accompanied his medical condition was more pronounced than usual.

Most of the people in line were joyful. But one of them, a middle-aged woman with a kind face, wasn’t. Muhammad’s condition grieved her. As she approached him, she burst into tears.

Ali leaned over, kissed her on the cheek, and told her, “Don’t feel bad. God has blessed me. I’ve had a good life, and it’s still good. I’m having fun now.”

The woman walked away smiling.
Muhammad Ali: the man behind the icon
Read more
Updated at 1.18pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
Advertisement

3h ago
13:10
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Follow
Warwickshire CCC ? @WarwickshireCCC
Muhammad Ali visiting the Bears at Edgbaston. He’d probably have dominated with the bat too. #TheGreatest
1:05 PM – 4 Jun 2016
84 84 Retweets 123 123 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
4h ago
13:06
Here’s a lovely memory of meeting Ali, emailed by Shubha Nath:

Just though to drop you this as I told someone this morning and they said it was very poignant so I thought I would share a beautiful memory with others.

I was off to do some Charity work this morning when I went to my son’s bedroom to give him some money; as I was leaving my son said “mum Mohammad Ali died of Parkinson’s and he had respiratory problems.” He then said “he was 74”.

I met Muhammad Ali when I was 15 in a place called Smethwick in Birmingham; he was visiting a factory which belonged to a friend of ours. I will never forget the room was completely packed out and there were many photographers. My father’s face caught Mohammad Ali’s eye and he looked at me gave a big wide beautiful smile and said “is you father always this ugly?”

I laughed and replied yes always! Of course he was teasing; my father was a very handsome man… same round face as Muhammad Ali.

In November 2015 I lost my father to Parkinson’s and respiratory problems. He was the same age as Muhammad Ali when he died; 74.

I think my sister still has photographs of when Muhammad Ali picked her up and was kissing her; she was 5 months old. Another great man; lost to a deadly evil disease.

Updated at 1.11pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
4h ago
12:55
It’s time for me to hand over to Lawrence Ostlere. Thanks for your company and tributes.

Facebook Twitter Google plus
4h ago
12:52
Muhammad Ali dies aged 74 – a summary

Muhammad Ali, ‘the Greatest’, dies in Phoenix
‘God came for his champion’: tributes from around the world
‘I’m so mean I make medicine sick’: his best quotes
Sean Ingle: The 20 moments that made him the Greatest
‘Fighter, joker, magician, preacher’: Kevin Mitchell’s tribute
Updated at 12.55pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
4h ago
12:48
“He was the most extraordinary man I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a few”

Michael Parkinson has paid tribute on Sky Sports News.

The first time I met him, he walked across the studio floor towards me, and first of all I was struck by the grace and elegance of his movement, and the size of him. Then I became obsessed by his hands – he had the longest fingers of a boxer I’d seen. They were the fingers of a concert pianist rather than a pugilist.

He was the most extraordinary man I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a few. He didn’t have any reservations about behaviour, and what he should or should not say. So what you got was raw: he could be funny, nasty, aggressive. He was a package you could not predict.

The nicest thing that’s ever happened to me in television was when his family came over with the Ali exhibition earlier this year. We had a call from them saying that he loved to watch the Parkinson interviews on YouTube. He would point and say, ‘Watch this, I get him here’, and all that. They asked if we could put together a compilation on disc to save him going on YouTube. Those interviews defined my career in many ways.

His charisma was palpable. You were sitting with a guy who was box-office. He could sell tickets – and sell himself – better than anybody else I’ve ever met. And he couldn’t stop talking. It was never an easy ride with him, but my word it was a fantastic experience.

Facebook Twitter Google plus
Advertisement

4h ago
12:41
“Inspiration, mentor, my friend”

Here’s some more reaction from around the world to the news that Muhammad Ali has died aged 74.

Amir Khan “No fighter or sportsman will ever reach the level of Muhammad Ali, whose name will continue to echo through the ages. Inspiring, charismatic, a true legend – Ali will never be forgotten. Having the chance to meet the great man will be a memory and privilege I will always hold dear.”

Nicola Adams “Prayers go out to boxing’s greatest of all time and an inspiration to me and so many people.”

Joe Calzaghe “People loved him, he was someone completely different, backed it up in the ring and everybody wanted to tune in and watch him fight. He was a superstar. There’ll never be another Muhammad Ali, in 1,000 years’ time people will look back and say he was the greatest. He was my inspiration, I tried to copy some of his moves and it is a truly sad day. But I’m proud that my sport of boxing has probably the greatest all-round sportsman of all time.”

Frank Bruno “Inspiration, mentor, my friend, an Earthly god of humanity, simply the greatest.”

Facebook Twitter Google plus
4h ago
12:26
You’ll have seen this before, but it never fails to facilitate happiness, not even on the 478th viewing

Updated at 12.29pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
4h ago
12:20
David Beckham has posted this picture and tribute on Instagram.

Updated at 12.23pm BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
4h ago
12:17
View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
Follow
NelsonMandela ? @NelsonMandela
Statement from the @NelsonMandela Foundation on the death of #MuhammadAli https://www.nelsonmandela.org/news/entry/statement-from-the-nelson-mandela-foundation-on-the-death-of-muhammad-ali … #RIPMuhammadAli
10:56 AM – 4 Jun 2016
120 120 Retweets 101 101 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
4h ago
12:16
A good point from David Haye on Sky Sports News

The Ali era was the best ever in heavyweight boxing. They went 15 rounds, the gloves didn’t have as much padding. It was much tougher physically.

Facebook Twitter Google plus
Advertisement

5h ago
12:05
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Follow
J.K. Rowling ? @jk_rowling
Unsurprisingly, he said it best himself. #MuhammedAli
10:42 AM – 4 Jun 2016
17,787 17,787 Retweets 22,692 22,692 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
5h ago
11:56
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Follow
sachin tendulkar ? @sachin_rt
My hero since childhood. I always had a wish to meet you some day but now it will never happen. RIP “The Greatest”
9:56 AM – 4 Jun 2016
3,185 3,185 Retweets 8,210 8,210 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
5h ago
11:54
Some more of your tributes

Howard White “Muhammad stayed at my house for several days in 1992 in Oxford. What everyone is missing is what Ali was really about – and that was his religion. He told me that boxing was Allah’s way of letting him spread the word and that boxing was just a means to an end.”

Shahrouz Hafez “I’m 25, so I missed witnessing the majestic fights of Ali’s life — from the ring, to the courtroom, to the social arena. But I grew up hearing of the man, of my family sitting around, late into the night, to watch him fight. When I emigrated to Canada as a seven-year-old, it was through Muhammad Ali’s life that I found courage and confidence. Through biographies of the man and the example of his life, I learnt what it meant to be a courageous, to stand for principles, and to do what’s right. “He was one of my first heroes but as I aged he became THE hero. I sit here, at 3am pacific time and I can’t help shedding a tear. The last of the titans has fallen today, a man like no other, and one that the world was lucky to have. May he rest in peace and I’m certain his memory will live on forever!”

Kais Uddin “They always said he was thick. They also despised and tried to belittle him. He was hated for saying what he believed and only after becoming sick with Parkinson’s Disease did they pay grudging acknowledgment . By then they thought he was harmless and the awards came two a penny. If they could have a little of his courage, humanity and humility, we would be in a better place.”

Sohail Ramzan Rana “Ali’s status as the greatest boxer and human being is unquestionable. Here in Pakistan, there were millions of villagers in the sixties and seventies who only knew one man outside their own country; it was Ali. I remember watching his fight with Larry Holmes along with around 500 village men on a small black-and-white TV. Nobody believed that he lost; they believed the referee cheated him. Such was Ali’s invincibility in their eyes.”

Facebook Twitter Google plus
5h ago
11:44
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Follow
Gareth Bale ? @GarethBale11
RIP to a true legend #MuhammadAli #thegreatest
11:42 AM – 4 Jun 2016
4,335 4,335 Retweets 7,782 7,782 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
5h ago
11:43

Facebook Twitter Google plus
Advertisement

5h ago
11:39
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Follow
Liverpool FC ? @LFC
Sport has lost a true great. Rest in peace, Muhammad Ali. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
10:08 AM – 4 Jun 2016
5,633 5,633 Retweets 6,599 6,599 likes
Facebook Twitter Google plus
5h ago
11:32
George Foreman’s tribute

This is lovely: George Foreman on Radio 4 this morning talking about Muhammad Ali.

You know what, I found Muhammad Ali to be one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever met in my life. I got beat up in the jungle. We never had any arguments until we met in the ring that night. I hit him with everything and I had, and all he would say is, ‘That all you got, George?’ What a night. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and myself were one guy – we lived through each other. A big piece of me died when he passed away, and I call it the greatest piece.

Facebook Twitter Google plus
5h ago
11:23
In case you missed it, this is a glorious tribute from Kevin Mitchell
Fighter, joker, magician, religious disciple, preacher: Muhammad Ali
Read more
Updated at 11.23am BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
5h ago
11:17
Mo Farah’s tribute

This has just dropped in my inbox from our athletics correspondent (and boxing expert) Sean Ingle:

London 2012 Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah, who is running in the 3,000m in Birmingham tomorrow, has just paid tribute to Muhammad Ali.

“It’s a sad day for all sports, not just for boxing. He was an icon. Someone I grew up watching. He was one of my heroes. Last night I heard the news [he was very ill] just before I went to bed and my then when I woke up my heart just sank. My respects go to his family. We have lost a legend.

Muhammad Ali was a character. It was just amazing what he did. He made boxing look easy. The way he thought of life, he stood up for what he believed. He was a jokey, funny and some of the quotes of his are still used too. And seeing this guy, growing up, I get emotional thinking about him now, and my support goes to his family and friends. We will miss him. Everyone will miss him.

Updated at 11.45am BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
5h ago
11:12
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua)
June 4, 2016
He was and still is an inspiration to so many. RIP the greatest ? pic.twitter.com/tOUA2YKuhF

Facebook Twitter Google plus
6h ago
11:07
“I’m so mean I make medicine sick”

Muhammad Ali was surely the most quotable sportsman of all. Here are some of his most memorable lines.

Muhammad Ali’s best quotes: ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’
The boxer wasn’t known as the Louisville Lip for nothing; here are Ali’s sharpest verbal jabs and most withering putdowns
Read more
Updated at 11.12am BST
Facebook Twitter Google plus
6h ago
11:05
‘God came for his champion’: Muhammad Ali tributes from around the world
Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson and George Foreman among those to recall how Ali transcended sport and inspired the world
Read more
Facebook Twitter Google plus
6h ago
11:02
Follow
Mayor of London ? @MayorofLondon
Muhammad Ali was not just a boxing legend, but a civil rights champion and a towering figure of our time
10:53 AM – 4 Jun 2016
583 583 Retweets 1,038 1,038 likes

 

-The Guardian

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

[email protected]

A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

view all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ABOUT 233TIMES

233times.com is a Ghanaian media house which serves as a major source of exclusive interviews ,music and video downloads, news and more.

233times.com reports on major events,news covering entertainment, politics, sports, etc from within Ghana, Africa and beyond.

We have a platform for the amateur artistes to portray their staggering talents ...more...

WE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. FOLLOW US

facebook twitter youtube google plus linkedIn

To advertise with us or make enquiries, please visit 233times.com/advertise or call +233249455142 (Selorm), +233248185848 (Nana Kwesi)