Muhammad Ali Recites a Poem During an Interview in Ireland
Like countless others around the planet, I spent a large portion of the weekend reflecting on the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali, who passed away on Friday at 74. Not so long ago the former heavyweight boxing champion was the most recognized person in the world. He remains the most important athlete to have ever lived.
This is from a July 1972 interview in Dublin with TV interviewer Cathal O’Shannon where Ali recites an original poem about the 1971 Attica Prison riots, the deadliest in US history.
Ali imagines himself in the shoes of a black prisoner, responding to the white warden issuing a final ultimatum. His reply, which could be taken as a call to arms , but which Ali touchingly calls a “poetic poem,” takes the form of a dozen tercets: