The passing of the world’s greatest event maker


I’ve only read one book on boxing.  “The Fight” by Norman Mailer.

I’ve only been to the cinema to see one Boxing Documentary “When We were Kings” by Leon Gast.

There’s a reason for both of these.

Muhammad Ali.

When Muhammad Ali stepped into a boxing ring it was an Event.  With a capital E.  The nation was transfixed.

There was only one world heavyweight Champion in those days.  Or so it seemed.

And although Scotland claimed a World Champion on the night of my Brother in Law’s stag not many years later in the form of Jim Watt, and even though Scotland’s Ken Buchanan, another Scottish World Champion, ran a hotel barely 200 yards from my house neither came close to the greatness of the greatest.

Why is that?

Because Muhammad Ali was much more than a boxer.

He was a poet, of sorts.  He was a politician.  He was a comedian, an athlete, an entertainer, a human rights activist.

He was the real deal.

A man who refused to fight in Vietnam because “No Vietcong ever called me a nigger.”

A man who electrified the British public in Michael Parkinson interviews, time and again.

And a man who turned pugilism into theatre.

“If you want entertainment go to the theatre” once said a shit Hibs manager, Bobby Williamson (Mr Bobby).

Ali was’t just theatre.

He was Broadway.

We loved you Ali, Bumaye!