Rugby pays tribute to Muhammad Ali

Date published: June 4 2016

5th July 1975:  Muhammad Ali, formerly known as Cassius Marcellus Clay, about to punch Hungarian-born British boxer Joe Bugner, in their title fight at the Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. Ali won the fight, keeping his World Heavyweight title.  (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

Having left a legacy that extends far beyond boxing, some of the biggest voices in rugby have paid tribute to Muhammad Ali after he passed away on Friday.

What Muhammad Ali did—in a culture that worships sports and violence as well as a culture that idolizes black athletes while criminalizing black skin—was redefine what it meant to be tough and collectivize the very idea of courage. Through the Champ’s words on the streets and deeds in the ring, bravery was not only standing up to Sonny Liston. It was speaking truth to power, no matter the cost. He was a boxer whose very presence taught a simple and dangerous lesson fifty years ago: “real men” fight for peace and “real women” raise their voices and join the fray. Or as Bryant Gumbel said years ago, “Muhammad Ali refused to be afraid. And being that way, he gave other people courage.” – Dave Zirin #muhammadali #thegreatest #dpfb

A photo posted by David Pocock (@davidpocock) on

COMMENTS