Tributes to Muhammad Ali

U.S. boxing great Muhammad Ali poses during the Crystal Award ceremony at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, in this January 28, 2006 file photo.Image copyright

Figures from the world of boxing and beyond have paid tribute to Muhammad Ali, the former world heavyweight boxing champion, who has died aged 74.

“It’s a sad day for life, man. I loved Muhammad Ali, he was my friend. Ali will never die. Like Martin Luther King his spirit will live on, he stood for the world.” – Don King, who promoted many of Ali’s fights, including the Rumble in the Jungle

“Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest human beings I have ever met. No doubt he was one of the best people to have lived in this day and age.” – George Foreman, Ali’s friend and rival in the Rumble in the Jungle

“Today we bow our heads at the loss of a man who did so much for America. Tomorrow we will raise our heads again remembering that his bravery, his outspokenness, and his sacrifice for the sake of his community and country lives on in the best part of each of us.

“At a time when blacks who spoke up about injustice were labelled uppity and often arrested under one pretext or another, Muhammad willingly sacrificed the best years of his career to stand tall and fight for what he believed was right. In doing so, he made all Americans, black and white, stand taller. I may be 7ft 2in but I never felt taller than when standing in his shadow.” – former basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

“There will never be another Muhammad Ali. The black community all around the world, black people all around the world, needed him. He was the voice for us. He’s the voice for me to be where I’m at today.” – Floyd Mayweather, world champion boxer across five divisions

“Everybody wanted to box because of him. He was just so amazing in every way. More than anything else it was how humble and how brilliantly charismatic he was. He was a beautiful-looking man, a beautiful-looking individual and he had so much compassion. He was the greatest sportsman there has ever been and we were very lucky that he chose boxing.” – Barry McGuigan, former world featherweight champion

“We lost a giant today. Boxing benefitted from Muhammad Ali’s talents but not as much as mankind benefitted from his humanity.” – Filipino six-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao

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