Actor starred as the boxer in 2001 film
Will Smith, who portrayed Muhammad Ali in the 2001 movie Ali, has been named as one of the eight pallbearers for the boxer’s memorial service on Friday in Louisville, Kentucky.
In a city accustomed to capturing the world’s attention for just two minutes during the Kentucky Derby each year, Ali’s memorial service looms as one of the most historic events in Louisville's history.
Former presidents, heads of nations from around the globe, movie stars and sports greats will descend upon the city to pay final respects to The Louisville Lip.
As well as Smith, former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has also been named as one of the eight pallbearers. Also serving are Jerry Ellis, brother of Jimmy Ellis, who was Ali’s former sparring partner and former world champion; and several of Ali’s relatives and a friend from Louisville.
Former US President Bill Clinton, a long-time friend of Ali, will deliver the eulogy at the funeral being held at the KFC Yum! Centre, where the 15,000 seats are likely to be filled.
“It’s been a really bittersweet time for our city,” said Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville.
“We’ve all been dreading the passing of The Champ, but at the same time we knew ultimately it would come. It was selfish for us to think that we could hold on to him forever.
“Our job now, as a city, is to send him off with the class and dignity and respect that he deserves.”
Others speakers will include representatives of multiple faiths, including Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Mormonism.