Tuesday 17 January 2017

Absurdly talented and oozing charisma, Ali's magic cast a lifelong spell

The greatest boxer who ever lived opened up another universe for us when we saw him on TV

Published 05/06/2016 | 02:30

'But in a more complex way he embodied the best energies of his time, the best energies of the 20th century, because it seemed that everything came together in Ali'
'But in a more complex way he embodied the best energies of his time, the best energies of the 20th century, because it seemed that everything came together in Ali'

I was telling my daughter this morning about this great man, and the first thing that came to mind was a night long ago when Muhammad Ali was fighting - and it happened to be on television.

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But it was so long ago that most people in Ireland didn't have television, especially people in Athlone. We didn't have it in our house, so we all went to the nearest house which had such a thing, and we sat there in awe watching Ali beating some white man - Jerry Quarry, perhaps - but it doesn't really matter who his opponent was, we were there for Ali.

What a thing it was, what a scene - as if Athlone was some place in the jungle with little access to the technologies of the world, and its inhabitants were naturally going to be transfixed by the amazing things that we were seeing coming all the way from America. By this amazing person.

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