I AM SMALL AND WE ARE BIG
PHOTO: Tributes have flowed for the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali. (Getty Images: Scott Halleran)
Anthony Mundine has led tributes from Australian boxing to former heavyweight world champion Muhammad Ali, who died on Saturday.
Mundine told the ABC that Ali, who died in a Phoenix hospital aged 74, had "inspired generations" in and out of the ring.
"He inspired me because he was real," Mundine said. "As an athlete, [as a] fighter he was the best.
"As a person and the human being he was ... he kept it real. Even when he declined to go to war to bomb and kill other poor people, that really resonated [with me].
"It's a very sad loss. He was one of the great men of all time. A great person and activist in his own right.
"I just wanna pay respect to Muhammad Ali and what he's done. He's inspired a lot of people. May God rest his soul."
Ted Tanner, the president of Boxing Australia called Ali "certainly the greatest entertainer," if not the greatest boxer of all time.
Tanner, who is also the vice-president of the International Boxing Association, said Ali was linked with Australia from early in his career.
"In the Golden Gloves in the late 1950s, he defeated an Australian boxer Tony Madigan," Tanner said.
"Then in the 1960 Rome Olympics he defeated Tony in the semi-finals, as Ali won gold and Madigan ended up with the bronze medal.
"We knew even then there was a great champion coming, someone who could win an Olympic title at  years old.
"He brought a great popularity to the sport, and he had a great impact on the sport in Australia right from the very beginning."
Ali a true world champion, says Kieza
News Corp columnist and boxing writer Grantlee Kieza said a generation was attracted to boxing because of Ali.
"He never fought in Australia, but a lot of people went up to Kuala Lumpur and the Philippines to see him fight [Joe Bugner and Joe Frazier]," he said.
Muhammad Ali's great legacy
Muhammad Ali leaves behind a legacy of thrilling fights, trash talk poetry and taking a stand against inequality and war.
"He transcended boxing, because he was such a charismatic figure, he became bigger than boxing.
"He took his show on the road, he fought all over the world - in continental Europe, in England, in Africa against George Foreman, in the Philippines against Joe Frazier, in Malaysia against Joe Bugner.
"He was a world champion in every sense."
Kieza said Ali's long battle with Parkinson's Disease was very sad, particularly in the way that it limited his ability to share his wit and way with words.
"It was very cruel that the man so verbose and so entertaining had it all taken away," he said.
"On the flipside, though, the way he fought against adversity endeared him to very many people."
PHOTO: Tributes have flowed following the death of former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali.(AFP: Pressens Bild Files)
-来自 ABC NEWS
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