Muhammad Ali is remembered as one of the greatest in not only boxing but also in sports history. Last Friday one of the greatest sports figures passed away at the age of 74 after decades of battling Parkinson’s disease. In his long and storied career there have been many stories about him, and most likely there are still some not yet told.
One of those stories involves Ali along with three models. Sports commentator and analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz has interviewed by the BBC on the day Ali passed away, as GMA News Online reports. On that interview he recalls of the time the boxer was in Manila for his fight with Joe Frazier. That fight has become one of the greatest in boxing history and has dubbed the “Thriller in Manila.”
Nathanielsz recounts of the dinner hosted by Nene Araneta, who then owned Araneta Coliseum where the fight was held. At the dinner, Ali met three models from the U.K. after which they invited him to their room after dinner. Ali agreed to the invitation. Nathanielsz said that he asked him to go along to the room. They proceeded going there 10 minutes after the dinner.
Once they got to the room Ali sat on the sofa and asked for an orange juice. While in the room he then began to preach to them about Islam until 3 in the morning. It has been one of those episodes in Ali’s career that shows his playful nature even outside the ring.
“’I fooled them, didn’t I’?” Nathanielsz quoted Ali as saying after the encounter. While the “Thriller in Manila” would go down as one of the greatest fights in Ali’s career, it is stories such as these that remind people that he doesn’t take himself too seriously and still retain his humorous side despite his fame.
Over the years, Ali has been known not only as a boxer but as a civil rights advocate and an orator as well, as The Lad Bible notes.
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Knowle West Media Centre