Tue | Jul 17, 2018

The people’s fighter - Grange

Published:Monday | June 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Minister of Sport Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, in reacting to the passing of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, says he was the people's fighter and has called for everyone to celebrate his life.

Ali died on Friday night at the age of 74.

"Muhammad Ali came into boxing at a time when racial segregation was rampant in America. Yet, he was never daunted by this as a young man. He was confident in his abilities, which was evident both inside and outside the ring," said Grange.

"He was bold and courageous, never afraid to challenge the political establishment, a fact which landed him in prison when he refused to go to war in Vietnam. That, for us as people of colour, was truly inspiring."

She added: "Although his views were shared by millions of people around the world, not many were prepared to speak out the way he did."

The minister continued: "Ali's braveness has been, and will remain, an inspiration for generations to come. He did not fight for himself, but for his people. He was a boxer of the highest calibre, an extraordinary fighter.

"He battled Parkinson's disease for 32 years, and so even in the face of death, he was still fighting. His was the spirit of a champion," Grange added.

"Muhammad Ali transcended the sport of boxing and sport in general. He made boxing entertaining with his signature swag, which attracted millions of followers worldwide. More importantly, Muhammad Ali was an exceptional human being."

Grange also expressed condolences to the boxer's family, close friends and to the boxing fraternity, but is confident that Muhammad Ali will forever be remembered as the people's fighter and a true sporting legend.