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Muhammad Ali – RIP

The world is a poorer place this morning!

Last night when I finally retired to bed, I did so in the knowledge that rumours were breaking stateside that Muhammad Ali’s respiratory problems were worse than first feared.

Various sources were inferring that his children had gathered at his hospital bedside to say their final farewells.

This morning, I’ve awoken to the news the Muhammad Ali has passed away and that his latest fight was a battle he couldn’t win.

Sadly I’m too young to have ever watched Muhammad Ali box live in the flesh, but I’ve pawed through numerous videos of the man in action, videos that show he was, quite probably, the greatest boxer of all time.

But Muhammad Ali was more than just a boxer, he was a public figure that millions looked up to, a public figure that wasn’t afraid to voice his opinions and somebody who stood up for what he believed in, most notably his refusal to be drafted for the ill-fated Vietnam war.

Although I never saw Muhammad Ali fight live, I was fortunate enough to see him in the flesh.

Back in the 1980’s I, like thousands of others, descended upon Wembley Stadium to see if Frank Bruno could rip the world heavyweight crown from Tim Witherspoon.

The nature of the event meant that the main bout didn’t start until very late in the evening, but I, like so many others, gathered outside Wembley Stadium in the early afternoon, soaking up the atmosphere that accompanies such an event.

Sat on one of the grassy slopes outside the famous old Wembley Stadium, beneath the twin towers, I became aware of something of a throng of people heading my way.

As if got closer I could make out the figure of Muhammad Ali, surrounded by security staff and ordinary people just trying to get a piece of the great man.

I stood up and from my slightly elevated position, I could get a clearer view of the great man, his facial features as recognisable as those thousands of pictures I’d seen of him and the miles of video tape I’d watched of him, losing it for a second I screamed one word out aloud CHAMP just as the persistent buzz around him dropped in decibels.

Now whether Muhammad Ali had heard me or not, I’m not sure, but he glanced in my direction and lifted his arm and waved, a magical moment from a person who had an aura about him that very few can replicate.

RIP – Champ!


The Journalist

Writer: Kid Glove Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday June 4 2016

Time: 9:35AM

 

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