Your tribute “He will never die” (The Nation – June 5) clearly shows that Muhammad Ali , the magnificent heavyweight champion whose fast fists and irrepressible personality transcended sports and captivated the whole world. Ali transcended the boundaries of sport and country and had become the greatest ambassador the United States ever employed. He was a boxer who lived up to his reputation as the greatest ever to don a pair of boxing gloves. With his dancing feet and quick fists, he could “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”.

He had a show-time personality, dazzling footwork and great hand speed that combined to make him a champion like his sport had never seen. His prodigious boxing talent was matched only by a towering self-belief. Muhammad Ali’s record as a boxer was impressive. The record books show that his professional career spanned 21 years, during which he won 56 fights, 37 by way of knockout, and lost five. Ali epitomized courage, elegance, conviction and perseverance and real inspiration and pinnacle of self confidence. Besides being the greatest boxer, he was a beautiful, gentle man with a great sense of humour. He was not just a champion in the ring but was a champion of civil rights, and a role model for so many people. Lastly, I would like to quote his statement that “Even if you dream of beating me, wake up and apologize”! Who else can say this ?


India, June 5.