Boxing: Clinton praises Ali's courage in adversity


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The Independent Online

Bill Clinton, the former United States president, has paid tribute to the courage Muhammad Ali has shown throughout his entire life, not just during his boxing career.

Ali celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday and is known as one of the greatest fighters the world has seen, but Clinton feels Ali has fought his greatest battle over the past 18 years since being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

"He made it [boxing] part theatre, part dance and all power," Clinton told BBC Sport. "And then when he risked it all to oppose the Vietnam war, in a funny way it could have destroyed him. But it didn't because people realised he had been very forthright and he was prepared to pay the price for his convictions."

Clinton added: "Struggling with Parkinson's he has shown a different kind of, and perhaps a greater, courage than he showed as a young man risking having his body, face and brain battered by the shock of boxing.

"And it's taken a lot of courage to continue to go out, to be seen, he wasn't self-conscious. He's something special."