A Roundup of Thoughts on Muhammad Ali From Fight Night

Posted By on March 20, 2017

Lonnie Ali, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Larry Fitzgerald (Getty Images)

By Mike Saucier

What follows is a roundup of interviews by Frontdoors Media, during which Celebrity Fight Night guests gave their thoughts on what Muhammad Ali and Fight Night meant to them:

Larry King:

“57 years of friendship. I met him when he was Cassius Clay. He’d just won the Olympics. Interviewed him 100 times. Went to Vegas with him. He was the best. There was nobody in second place, the best.”

Sharon Stone:

She met Ali when she was 19 while at the Miss Pennsylvania pageant. “He was very nice to me and called my dad and asked in the movie ‘The Greatest,’” she said. Her dad said no, insisting that Stone would finish school and not be in movies. To which Ali quipped: “Mr. Stone, you can hide that girl under bushel or basket but she’s going to be in movies.” That began a series of several philanthropic enterprises between the two. “He was a very dear friend to me and obviously he meant a lot to the world and he meant a lot to me personally,” she said. Celebrity Fight Night, she said, has “become like a family.”

Jimmy Walker:

“It’s a celebration of the life of Muhammad Ali. The energy was here as soon as I walked in to the room. There’ll never be another Muhammad Ali – they don’t make them like that anymore. We’re grateful for everything he’s done for the vent. The giving is powerful. We still have to find a cure for Parkinson’s.”

David Foster:

“There’s no one word you can use to describe him. You can’t use icon. You can’t use legend. You can’t use anything. He was bigger than all of that. He was in rare air. And I will always remember him as the young gun who was powerful with his words and with his fists. That’s how I remember him and I’m just grateful to have known him and to have been in his presence.”

Larry Fitzgerald:

“He never bit his tongue. He spoke up. He spoke for the people who couldn’t speak for themselves. You have to tip your cap to him and commend him for his courage and I am really proud I could be here and try to raise awareness for a great cause.”

Lonnie Ali:

“Every year they outdo themselves. I think it’s about the feeling in the room. We have wonderful talent. I think the people who come here are genuine and authentic and really care about the work going on here and what we’re trying to do. There’s such a love in this room. Tonight especially, that love is very evident. I know Muhammad’s here tonight.  He couldn’t not be here because his name was invoked so many times I know he’s here tonight. We raised a lot of money and it’s going to do a lot of good. We have wonderful supports here, wonderful donors. And we’re a fun group!”

Harvey Mackay:

“He was a close, close friend for many years. The champ probably had a bigger heart than anybody I’ve ever known or read about. I’ve traveled with him one on one through airports everywhere. He had one goal: every human being he encountered, he wanted to put a smile on their face. I was in a stretch limousine with him from Berrien Springs, where he lived in Michigan. One day we took a limousine out to dinner 15 miles away, got out of the limo and he said, ‘One minute’ and then he walked back to the driver and said, ‘join us.’ He’d do that all the time.”

Kirk Gibson:

“He’s an inspiration to all of us. He took the same principles that made him a great fighter to his fight against Parkinson’s. He was diagnosed back in the mid-‘80s, he was very visible about it. He created a lot of awareness by doing what he did.”

Laila Ali:

“Fight Night has been an amazing event over the years. Anytime people come together and have a good time and donate money to charity for a good cause and get a tax writeoff, the charity can do more good.”

Reba McIntyre:

“He meant hope and faith and he gave us a platform to get everybody together to raise money to find a cure for Parkinson’s and a lot of other charities that need help. He was big-hearted. He gave us hope and faith and that’s what everybody needs.”

Al Molina:

“Muhammad Ali fought in a hotel in Cuba that belonged to my father. So I knew him when I was three or four years old and frankly Muhammad was in inspiration for all of us. He’ll be greatly missed here at Fight Night. He really stood for overcoming any kind of challenges. Every success is met with challenge – it’s the only way you can have success is to overcome challenges. Parkinson’s disease has got a tremendous enemy when it comes to the future because this organization is doing a great job.”

Brian McKnight:

“He made me believe that superheroes actually existed. He said what he was going to do and he did it.”

Nick Lowery:

“What he means to me is the capacity of any human being, particularly professional athletes to do something that governments can’t do – which is to bring people together out of love and understanding, to unite people across the boundaries of nations and religions. No one, probably never will and never has, done more for that than him. I wish to God he could have spoken more in the past ten years because I think we’d be a more united world with less hate, more love, more understanding and maybe a bit more humor too.”

Frontdoors Media

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