Members of Parliament, athletes, former athletes and activists were among those who paid tribute to boxing legend, Muhammad Ali on Sunday at the Impeccable Banquet Hall.
The event which was a collaborative effort of the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) and Mc NEAL Enterprise, paid homage to Ali who passed away on June 3 at the age of 74.
Odinga Lumumba (Head of the Mc NEAL Enterprise), Steve Ninvalle (President of the Guyana Boxing Association), Christopher Ram (Chartered Accountant), Clive Atwell (Pastor/Boxer), Mike Parris (Guyana’s only Olympic medalist), Rupert Roopnaraine (Minister of Education) and Clement Rohee (MOP) were among those who voiced tributes for Ali, the heavyweight champion boxer who transfixed the world with his sporting feats, quick-witted commentary and civil rights activism.
Ali who coined several catch phrases including the famous ‘Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee’ visited Guyana in April of 1979.
Said Lumumba “He made an impact on Guyanese boxers and he has inspired many young people. Mr. Ali created an atmosphere that Black America could have fought for more freedom in the turbulent days and made a lasting impact on the world.
Lumumba reminded that Ali “was not just a boxer, he was a teacher and a leader and I felt that we needed to honour the things he had done in particular for those who have been oppressed.”
Ali died of septic shock after several days in the hospital with a severe respiratory illness. His funeral which was held on Friday in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky was attended by thousands of mourners.
Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky
Aged 22, he took on heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in Miami. He won and proclaimed to the world: “I am the greatest!”
Ali was the first man to win heavyweight titles three times
Ali attended his first Nation of Islam meeting in 1959 and converted to Sunni Islam in 1975
In 1967, he famously refused to fight in Vietnam, citing religious reasons
Married four times, he had seven daughters and two sons
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, at the age of 43
Ali died late on June 3, 2016, in a hospital in Arizona after being admitted with respiratory problems.