Heavyweight boxing icon Muhammad Ali was officially crowned the “King of Boxing” on Monday during the 50th convention of the World Boxing Council in the Mexican city of Cancun.
Ali, who was accompanied by his wife Lonnie and who wore dark glasses, was led to a red velvet throne.
WBC president Jose Sulaiman told the audience he had known Ali for about 50 years, while the Ukrainian boxing legend Vitali Klitschko said as a young boy he had been inspired to hear tales of the great man’s brilliance because he lived in the then Soviet Union, it was impossible to see Ali in action.
“Sport brings the world together and any dream is possible,” said Klitschko, who finished by gently shaking Ali’s hand.
Formerly known as Cassius Clay before he embraced Islam, Ali’s extravagant style inside and out of the boxing ring led to him acquiring iconic status.
He won his first heavyweight title from Sonny Liston at the age of 22 and recorded 56 wins in his 21-year career.
Because he skipped the draft for the US Army during the Vietnam War, famously saying: “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.” the American Government arrested him and found him guilty of evasion and stripped of his world title and boxing licence.
Ali retired in 1981 and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984.