Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been credited with the profitability of the sport across the world.
Ali, who died aged 74 of a respiratory ailment complicated by Parkinson's disease on Friday June 3, 2016, in a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, described himself as The Greatest.
And on Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM Friday June 10, 2016, a former president of the Ghana Boxing Association, Moses Foh-Amoaning, said the pugilist, born Cassius Clay, merited the accolade.
“If Muhammad Ali said he was the greatest, it is true. Apart from Sugar Ray Robinson…I don’t think any boxer compares in terms of his contribution to professional boxing in the ring,” he told Chief Jerry Forson on the show.
“So, really, it was Ali who made boxing appealing and exciting. And if you quantify the amount of money that flowed into boxing, that is, the commercialisation of professional boxing, nobody did it better than Muhammad Ali; he was the greatest salesman.”
Mr Foh-Amoaning recalled Ali’s famous wit, the characteristic foul-mouthed abuses he hurled at opponents in the lead-up to bouts – a strategy he later admitted at the end of his career was an effort to get into their heads – and unmatched big talk combined to drive up spectators at his bouts and generated a widespread interest in bouts, culminating in the first million-dollar bout dubbed: ‘The Fight of the Century’ between him and Joe Frazier in 1971.
Ali’s influence outside the sport, continued Mr Foh-Amoaning, was also felt, dropping his name Cassius Clay, which he had described as a “slave name”, converting to Islam, and leading the civil rights campaign for African Americans using his influence and capacity in the ’60s, a feat that placed him on the same pedestal as activist Martin Luther King.
Ali’s memorial service was held in his hometown of Louisville and the former heavyweight boxer will be laid to rest at the Cave Hill cemetery at a private burial ceremony.
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