Muhammad Ali, a hero to me

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There are several pictures on the wall of my home study. I guess in some ways they are there for inspiration for when I work the late hours, but they are all heroes. Some are fictional from Marvel and DC comics, some more personal, but the one that takes pride of place is a real life hero, Muhammad Ali.

I recall an evening in the latter part of the seventies. My dad was in the lounge with a friend waiting for the Ali fight to be televised. I was a bit too young to know what all the fuss was about, and just before the fight began, my dad said my brother and I could stay up late to watch it. It was September 1977 and Ali fought and beat Earnie Shavers. After that I watched both Leon Spinks fights and although Ali was past his glory days, he was still an awesome site to watch.

For many years, I’ve backtracked over Muhammad Ali’s boxing career, admiring his fighting style, his grace in the ring and that famous ‘Ali Shuffle’. But not only that, I revered the Ali outside of the ring, his courage of conviction, his famous quotes, his sense of humour and his humility. He was truly one of the greatest human beings of the last century, a legend in life and a legend in passing. A fighter all the way to the end, until the bell finally rang.

No doubt you’ve read the tributes in the press from those that knew him personally, to those that admired him from a distance. I was the of the latter, but he was a hero to me, all the same.