I am the greatest! Ali at the O2.
“I done Tussled with an Alligator, I done tussled with a Whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown Thunder in jail; only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick!”
Not only was Muhammad Ali undeniably one of the greatest boxers the world has seen, but also he broke the mould of what boxers were expected to be like, and behave as.
Known as many things, early in his career he became known as “The Louisville lip” It referred to his eagerness to comment and get involved in the promotion and publicity of his professional fights. It wasn’t looked upon particularly kindly at the time, but Ali realised that publicity was important, it grew the sport, and also the prize fund!
Beyond the reaches of the limelight, Ali was also an incredibly principled man. He was honest and open, some of his views he modified later in life, but he was more than just brave in the ring. His decision to publicly oppose the draft for Vietnam on conscientious objector grounds effectively finished his early career. Ali never could be accused of taking the easy path, either inside or outside of the ring.
The exhibition is a must for almost any boxing fan, but especially so if you’re any kind of Ali fan. It covers his entire career and touches on many different aspects of his life. For example his lifelong friendship with Paddy Monaghan, former Irish Bareknuckle boxing champion. If Ali liked you, he liked you. It didn’t matter what walk of life you came from.
This is a nicely put together exhibition, and can either be gently wandered around… taking in whatever you happen upon, or you can use one of the exhibition talking guides and have a thorough, and in-depth experience.
I am the greatest runs until August 31st at the O2.