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Muhammad Ali dead: Will Smith recalls playing legendary boxer in Ali biopic

The three-time heavyweight has passed away at the age of 74

Jacob Stolworthy
Saturday 04 June 2016 12:37 BST

Preceding the death of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali at the age of 74, actor Will Smith revealed what it was like to play the renowned figure.

Smith played the boxer in Michael Mann's biographical 2001 film Ali scoring a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his efforts.

The actor took to the stage at the 2015 Sportsperson of the Year ceremony where he elaborated upon what it was like to take on such a coveted role.

Three-time heavyweight Ali has endured as one of the most loved boxers of our generation. "He was the greatest of all time," Smith said. "When you think about the legacy of Muhammad Ali, what he did in the ring is not what we think about. I got to wear Muhammad Ali's greatness.

"He's a champion for civil rights; he's a champion for fighting for justice; he's a champion for utilising whatever tools he has to make the world a better place."

Ali tells the 'greatest' boxer's story from 1964-74 including his capture of the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston, his criticism of the Vietnam War and ensuing banishment from the sport.

It goes on to cover the social and political upheaval in the United States following the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr..

Jon Voight also earned an Oscar nomination for Ali playing American sports journalist Howard Cosell.

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