WE, like everyone else, got news of Muhammad Ali’s passing on Saturday morning. It hit us hard. The man was a living legend.
It’s always sad to lose a great champion and they don’t come much greater than Muhammad Ali. It was a sad day for everybody in boxing and everybody in the world.
As a little lad growing up, we always used to watch Ali on the TV or listen to his fights on the radio. He was a big part of our lives and a great ambassador for the sport; us young kids definitely looked up to him.
Tyson and Hughie also looked up to him the way we did. He was a gift passed down the generations. It didn’t matter whether you watched him during his prime or not. He was the kind of fighter who will never be forgotten. A great fighter and an even greater human being.
His win against George Foreman was absolutely amazing because the whole world were convinced he was going to get annihilated. The Joe Frazier fights also stick in my mind whenever I think of Ali. They showed the toughness of the man. He beat Frazier at his own game in the final fight, which is rightly considered one of the greatest fights of all-time.
His passing has reminded us all of what a tremendous champion he was and what a tremendous era he conquered. After all, that seventies heavyweight era is about as good as it gets.
Boxing is all about having different characters and getting these characters to establish rivalries. Back then, Ali had Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Sonny Liston, Ken Norton and Larry Holmes. They were all around at roughly the same time and it made Ali even greater because you are ultimately judged against your competition. He was up against some of the greatest heavyweights to ever set foot in a ring and, more often than not, he got the better of them.
Every generation has its own superstars. In the nineties we had Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, and then, following that, we had the reign of the Klitschko brothers. Well, now, thanks to his win against Wladimir Klitschko in November, we’ve got a new era started by Tyson Fury. He has freshened things up and given the division a new look and a new feel. He has given it a new lease of life.
But his work is far from over.
I know he talks about retirement and leaving the sport early, but I’m pretty certain you’re going to see Tyson Fury around for a very long time.