Muhammad Ali with Angelo Dundee, Miami 1964 © Howard Bingham
For some years I have told a few close friends that I would like to be at Muhammad Ali’s funeral when he passed on. Wouldn’t you know it that the champ himself arranged that for me and millions of his fans and friends around the world.
I went to Louisville last Thursday night for Ali’s final drive through his hometown and I attended his memorial service on Friday, June 10. I was so glad I could be there.
The Muhammad Ali motorcade exiting I-64 at the 9th Street ramp on his last ride through Louisville en route to the Cave Hill Cemetery. © Glenn Redden/Govinda Gallery Archive
Ali’s hearse approaching the crowd gathered on both sides of Muhammad Ali Blvd. © Glenn Redden/Govinda Gallery Archive
I held a copy of Knockout, the boxing book I edited with Ali on the cover, as the motorcade drove by. Will Smith gave me a high five. © Glenn Redden
I saw Muhammad Ali fight only once in person and that was against Jimmmy Young on April 30, 1976 at the Capital’s Center in Landover, MD. A couple of days before the boxing match I went to watch Ali train and talk to the press at the Sheraton Hotel just off the beltway. The best thing about the fight was that it went 15 rounds and I got to watch the greatest boxer of all time in action for the entire fight. Ali won the fight in a unanimous decision.
Muhammad Ali vs. Jimmy Young, Capital’s Center, Landover, MD April 1976.
As a boxer Ali reinvented the fight game bringing a new and dynamic dimension to boxing that had never been seen before. But what really made me admire more than any other athlete was his courage and conviction inside and outside the ring along with the most extraordinary charisma I have ever seen in a person. When Ali took the stand and refused to be inducted and fight in an unjust war far from home I, along with millions of other people, was strengthen by his conviction. I was active in the anti-war movement at the time and Ali’s courage against all odds was inspiring.
A demonstration to end the war in Vietnam, Constitution Ave, Washington, DC 1969. I am second from the right with sunglasses. © GW Hatchet/Govinda Gallery Archive
Muhammad Ali was as clever as they come, had a great sense of humor, and was loved by so many people young and old, black and white, male and female. Ali came to represent the Brotherhood of Man.
My ticket for the Muhammad Ali memorial service.
The front and back covers of the program from Muhammad Ali’s memorial service June 10, 2016.
The inside of the program for Muhammad Ali’s memorial service.
Outside the Ali Center in Louisville June 10, 2016.