Scarborough tribute to ‘The Greatest’

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali

n Mr Dunn fought Ali in 1976 in Munich for the undisputed championship of the world, receiving £52,000 for his efforts. In comparison, David Haye was reported to have made in excess of eight figures for his universally panned performance against Wladimir Klitschko.

SCARBOROUGH pugilists have lavished praise upon arguably the biggest icon in the fight game, Muhammad Ali, as the legendary champion celebrates his 70th birthday.

Boxers past and present have paid tribute to ‘The Greatest’, who celebrates his birthday today, and is regarded by many as not only the greatest boxer of all time, but also one of the greatest sportsmen.

Leading the tributes is former European heavyweight champion Richard Dunn.

The 66-year-old fought Ali for the world title in 1976, but was stopped in the fifth round.

Despite the loss, Mr Dunn, who lives in Scarborough, said the two have remained friends ever since, saying: “He is so special.

“He was an unbelievable figure and he’s a smashing bloke – just a really good, down to earth guy.

“I’ve met with him about three or four times (since the fight) and the charisma of the man is incredible. I love the man to pieces.”

In regards to Ali’s legacy, he added: “I’ve my opinion of who the best ever was, but what’s not in question is that Ali brought boxing to the forefront of people’s minds. His impact was massive.”

Former world featherweight champion Paul Ingle believes Ali was “100 per cent perfect, the best ever”.

Scarborough’s only world champion said he was one of his biggest influences, adding: “I always used to think what a class fighter he was. He was a wizard.

“For his size, he was just unbelievable, his speed and accuracy were fantastic.

“He could do anything that he wanted to, he was a magician.

“Everything that was hard about boxing, he enjoyed.”

And Scarborough’s next big boxing hope, Westway’s Danny Price, was full of praise for Ali.

The former amateur champion, who has his third pro fight on Saturday, said: “Ali was more of a legend out of the ring than in the ring, he was just the ultimate showman.

“My coach Ray Simpson went down to London for his fight against Henry Cooper. He told me that he had never heard a crowd like it.

“They were booing and whistling but Ali just laughed it off, telling them that he was going to win after five rounds. He did just that.”