San Franscisco: Tributes to Muhammad Ali poured in from across the sporting, cultural and political world after his death at age 74 with many saying there would never be another one like “The Greatest.”
Ali was fondly remembered not just as a heavyweight boxing icon but also for his fight for social justice, while others recalled his warmth and generosity, how he was equally at home with presidents and people on the streets.
George Foreman, Ali’s most famous knockout victim from the Rumble in the Jungle, noted Ali’s other main rival, Joe Frazier, in tweeting: “Ali, Frazier and Foreman … we were one guy. A part of me slipped away, the greatest piece.”
The front page headline on Ali’s hometown newspaper, the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky, simply said, “The Greatest,” with a legendary 1965 photo of Ali standing over a flattened Sonny Liston.
“We lost a legend, a hero and a great man,” said Floyd Mayweather, who retired last year as an unbeaten welterweight champion. “He’s one of the guys who paved the way for me to be where I’m at. Words can’t explain what Muhammad Ali did for the sport.”
Another former world heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, tweeted: “God came for his champion. So long great one. The Greatest. RIP.”
Don King, who promoted the Rumble in the Jungle, said Ali will live on forever alongside other U.S. civil rights heroes.
“He was tremendous, not just a boxer, a great human being, an icon,” King said. “Muhammad Ali’s spirit, like Martin Luther King Jr., will live on. That’s why Muhammad Ali will never die.”
Ali spoke out for African-American civil rights in the 1960s, carrying on his fight against injustice and sacrificing the prime years of his own career in the process.
“When people saw what he had done for what he believed in, threw away three-and-a-half years of his career and he remained steadfast, he came through all of that bigger and more important than ever before,” boxing promoter Bob Arum said.