Saturday 4 June 2016

Muhammad Ali R.I.P. - A Personal Memory

Saturday morning's sad news of the death of Muhammad Ali, calls to mind my personal encounter with this great man, on his first product-endorsement tour of the UK.

Back in 1971, Ali agreed to work for a week promoting Ovaltine (his first product endorsement) via an extended train trip around the UK, stopping at every station that was near a supermarket, inviting the local managers on board to meet the champ and disembark at the next station, inspired for life, in many cases.

We even managed to secure an interview on the new Michael Parkinson TV chat show, an episode that has been repeated many times since.

To our surprise, we found Ali to be a modest, even shy man, with immense presence, whose can-do attitude proved to be an inspiration personally and to other members of the team.

As fans will know, an exhibition dedicated to the great man opened in March 2016 at the O2, and because of illness, Muhammed Ali was not able to attend the opening session, but he sent a mock-epilogue to commemorate the event, which can now serve as a memorial I believe he would have wanted:

'I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times.

Who was humorous and who treated everyone right.

As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him.

And who helped as many people as he could.

As a man who stood up for his beliefs no matter what.

As a man who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love.

And if all that's too much then I guess I'd settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and a champion of his people.

And I wouldn't even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was.

Be cool and look out for the ladies!'

Muhammad Ali R.I.P. - Saturday 4th June 2016


Jon C (Ceuta) said...

Nice one Brian, he was as spellbinding outside the ropes as he was in the ring.

Brian Moore said...

Thanks Jon
A once-in-a-lifetime encounter...
Even more so when you re-visit the Parkinson interviews
Great weekend