Box­ing fra­ter­nity united in mourn­ing The Great­est

CityPress - - News - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

Trib­utes poured in yesterday from all walks of life as the death of for­mer world heavy­weight box­ing cham­pion Muham­mad Ali touched the globe.

Don King, the pro­moter who staged many of Ali’s fights, in­clud­ing The Rum­ble in the Jun­gle, said: “It’s a sad day for life, man. I loved Muham­mad Ali, he was my friend. Ali will never die. Like Martin Luther King, his spirit will live on. He stood for the world.’’

Ge­orge Fore­man, Ali’s friend and ri­val in the fa­mous Rum­ble in the Jun­gle fight, said: “Muham­mad Ali was one of the great­est hu­man be­ings I have ever met. No doubt he was one of the best peo­ple to have lived in this day and age.”

Floyd “Money” May­weather (world cham­pion boxer across five di­vi­sions): “There will never be an­other Muham­mad Ali. The black com­mu­nity all around the world, black peo­ple all around the world, needed him. He was the voice for us. He’s the voice for me to be where I’m at to­day.”

Manny “Pac­man” Pac­quiao (ex-world cham­pion across six di­vi­sions): “We lost a gi­ant to­day. Box­ing ben­e­fited from Muham­mad Ali’s tal­ents, but not as much as mankind ben­e­fited from his hu­man­ity.”

Barry McGuigan (for­mer world feath­er­weight cham­pion): “Every­body wanted to box be­cause of him. He was just so amaz­ing in every way. More than any­thing else it was how hum­ble and how bril­liantly charis­matic he was. He was the great­est sports­man there has ever been and we were very lucky that he chose box­ing.”

Bob Arum (box­ing pro­moter): “He was the great­est fighter of all time but his box­ing ca­reer is sec­ondary to his con­tri­bu­tion to the world. He’s the most trans­form­ing fig­ure of my time, cer­tainly. He did more to change race re­la­tions and the views of peo­ple than even Martin Luther King.”

Mu­di­ta­mbi Ravele (Box­ing SA chair­per­son): “The South African box­ing com­mu­nity joins the world box­ing fra­ter­nity and dips our ban­ner in recog­ni­tion and cel­e­bra­tion of this life lived to the fullest.

“His de­ci­sion to fight ar­guably the great­est fight in the his­tory of box­ing, in Zaire – now the Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of Congo – was a home­com­ing of gi­gan­tic pro­por­tions and it sealed his con­nec­tion to Africa.”

Stan­ley Christodoulou: (World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion [WBA] judge and ref­eree): “I was priv­i­leged to of­fi­ci­ate as a ref­eree dur­ing his sec­ond heavy­weight world ti­tle fight against Leon Spinks in New Or­leans in 1978, where he won on points. He was a gen­tle gi­ant and a great sportsper­son who made box­ing en­joy­able with his an­tics in­side the ring when­ever he was in ac­tion.”

Dr Peter Ngatane (African Box­ing Union board mem­ber and World Box­ing Coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tive):

“Ali changed the face of box­ing in a pro­found way with his en­ter­tain­ing fight­ing style and skills. He also fought for hu­man rights. He was a gift to box­ing and his life needs to be cel­e­brated.”

Brian Mitchell (for­mer WBA ju­nior light­weight cham­pion): “As far as fame goes, he is the great­est ath­lete that has ever lived. He did much for box­ing. I had the hon­our of meet­ing him when he was in Jo­han­nes­burg in 1993.”

Din­gaan “The Rose” Tho­bela (for­mer World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion and In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion light­weight; and World Box­ing Coun­cil su­per mid­dleweight ti­tlist):

“Through his fight­ing style of mov­ing around the ring, he taught us box­ers that box­ing is not about in­jur­ing or killing your op­po­nent, but to en­ter­tain.

“He was the great­est sport­ing icon of all time who also stood for hu­man rights.

“His life must be cel­e­brated glob­ally.”

PHOTO: ED MULHOLLAND / WIREIMAGE

SAD DAY Fight pro­moter Don King

PHOTO: LUCKY NX­U­MALO

EN­TER­TAINER Din­gaan Bon­gane Tho­bela

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

THE VOICE Floyd ‘Money’ May­weather

PHOTO: LUCKY NX­U­MALO

GIFT TO LIFE Dr Peter Ngatane

PHOTO: GETTY

HU­MAN­ITY Manny ‘Pac­man’ Pac­quiao

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

HON­OURED Brian Mitchell

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