Pay­ing re­spects to The Great­est

Box­ing com­mu­nity mourns death of former cham­pion who was an in­spi­ra­tion to gen­er­a­tions of fight­ers past and present

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

Box­ing com­mu­nity mourns death of Muham­mad Ali

Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang’s box­ing com­mu­nity have paid trib­ute to Muham­mad Ali, who died last week at the age 74.

The self-pro­claimed “Great­est”, Ali in­spired gen­er­a­tions of box­ers and be­came known for his ex­ploits out the ring as much as his fight­ing skills.

He burst into the scene when he was still called Cas­sius Clay.

He won gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics and went on to cap­ture the world heavy­weight cham­pi­onship from Sonny Lis­ton in 1964 be­fore con­vert­ing to Is­lam and chang­ing his name.

He be­came syn­ony­mous with the civil rights move­ment in the USA and with the grow­ing dis­con­tent about the war in Viet­nam. When he re­fused to be drafted, he was stripped of his ti­tles and banned from fight­ing in 1967.

After his re­turn to the ring in 1971, he won back his ti­tles and his fights with Joe Fra­zier and Ge­orge Fore­man be­came leg­endary. How­ever, glory came at a price and he was di­ag­nosed with Parkin­son’s dis­ease.

Cam­bus­lang trainer Peter Har­ri­son, whose son Scott be­came a world cham­pion, ad­mit­ted his death had not been a shock.

He said: “When you con­sider what he was like in his youth, at his peak, and com­pare him to his later years, it was quite sad for him and his fam­ily.

“He was mas­sive for our sport. He wasn’t just a boxer, he was a po­lit­i­cal fig­ure, a co­me­dian and an en­ter­tainer.

“If you come into our gym, as soon as you walk in it’s pic­tures of Muham­mad Ali.”

Archie Durie, who runs Durie’s Box­ing Gym in Ruther­glen, said Ali had been one of his idols.

He added: “He was my dad’s role model as well so he in­spired dif­fer­ent eras.

“He was the master of bal­ance and box­ing is all about bal­ance. Ob­vi­ously, he ob­jected to fight­ing in the Viet­nam War, but what a fighter he was in the ring.

“I missed out on see­ing him in Glas­gow and I re­gret that. His death is a big loss to box­ing.”

Brian Mur­phy at the O’Neil’s club in Cam­bus­lang echoed the thoughts of oth­ers.

He said: “Box­ing wouldn’t be the same with­out him. He brought the big money and the glam­our.

“There’s a great story from Mickey Duff. He was sit­ting be­hind Ali on the way home from an ex­hi­bi­tion in Ger­many and men­tioned that the ref­eree had his fee stolen.

“When the ar­rived in the UK they seen the ref­eree count­ing his money and it turned out Ali had paid his fee. That’s the kind of man he was.”

The per­fect punch Cham­pion Muham­mad Ali de­feat­ing Sonny Lis­ton in their re­match for the world heavy­weight ti­tle with a first round knock­out in Lewis­ton, Maine on May 25th, 1965

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.