218 Views

What I Discovered About Muhammad Ali When I Interviewed Him In Lagos – Nigerian Journalist Reveals

Describing Muhammad Ali, the great boxing legend, as ‘larger than life’, iconic Nigerian sports broadcaster, Dele Adetiba, who is reputed to be the only Nigerian journalist to have interviewed Ali in a live studio session, disclosed to TheCable that the pugilist was actually bigger in real life than the way he appeared on television.
According to Dele, as a result of Ali’s height, the fighter had to lower his head when he wanted to enter the Lagos studio of Nigerian Television (NTV), now known as Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), where the interview held.
“When you see him from a distance, he looked so ordinary. Looking at him on TV, I didn’t realise how big he was until I was next to him. I am almost 6ft tall, with me standing next to him, I realised he was really big,” Dele said.
“He was about 6ft 3/4 inches. When he came to the studio, he had to bend before he could enter. Otherwise, he would have knocked his head on the studio door.
 
“Ali was truly bigger than he looked. Most people of his size could have had, maybe a wide chest, small waist and then you will know that this is a big man, but he was well proportioned.”
Dele said Ali’s scope of operation went beyond punishing opponents in the boxing ring. “He wasn’t trying to beat anybody but all he did was to show his expertise and avoiding punches. He was having exhibition fights with people that could not beat him; that were too far below him.
 
“When he moved, you will realise that he would have covered the entire ring. Chasing him, you will just have a long chase and by just one stride he had taken, he’d have covered one third of the ring. He was a massive fellow,” he said.
Dele Adetiba interviewing Mohammed Alli
The veteran journalist, who also spoke about some other qualities that the late fighter had, said there was more to Ali than boxing. “He was larger than life, both physically and to some extent mentally. He was intimidating in every way, but he was a warm, friendly person,” he said.
“He was beyond boxing in the sense that he had a personality that was bigger than boxing. His style was different.
 
“He was intelligent enough to write poems and rhymes. He loved to taunt people. There are people who went to spar with him so that he could be beaten.
 
“I wanted somebody to shut his mouth when he was in his prime but when I look back now on the kind of things he had done, I just know that there’s none like him. So, just talking about his boxing prowess alone will not be complete, he was much more than that.”
Dele explained that during his heyday, Ali was not deliberately cynical as people thought based on his use of language and the manner in which he allegedly pulled down his opponents.
“What people may have not said or know about him, which I did not find out in time was that a lot of what he said was in jest.
 
“Some of his words felt he enjoyed ridiculing people. He called one of his opponents Uncle Tom. He called Frazier a gorilla.
 
“It was all just publicity stunt. Many times he was joking. I can look at this from the perspective of somebody who didn’t believe in Ali. I almost hated him at that time; looking back now, I realise that I was wrong, but he was right. In many cases, you will realise that he was able to be friends even with people he fought.
 
“So, he was a bigger person. Looking back now, I can say Joe Frazier was by far a lesser man compared to Ali because until he died, he never really let go off the animosity and rivalry.
 
“But to people like Ali, it was all just sport. He didn’t hate anyone. He was a friend to all. Ali had power; Ali had style; Ali was like a show man; Ali was a thinking person.
 
“Ali was able to come into a fight and change depending on what he met. Ali could have been successful in whatever he could have put his hands in life. He was just a brilliant mind,” he said.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest Posts

Father Mbaka Reveals What Will Happen To Buhari-led APC Government
Politics
16 views
Politics
16 views

Father Mbaka Reveals What Will Happen To Buhari-led APC Government

PH - July 23, 2018

The Spiritual Director, Adoration Ministry, Enugu Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka has warned President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the Federal Legislature of impending doom. The fiery…

Meet Marenikae, the Pioneer of New Music Genre “Afromerge”
Entertainment
18 views
Entertainment
18 views

Meet Marenikae, the Pioneer of New Music Genre “Afromerge”

PH - July 23, 2018

Having lived abroad and at home, Marenikae is on a quest to bridge the gap between foreigners and their understanding of African music, case in point, Afropop.…

Here’s Why You Should Eat Dinner Early
Featured
24 views
Featured
24 views

Here’s Why You Should Eat Dinner Early

PH - July 23, 2018

People who eat two hours before going to bed have a lower risk of breast and prostate cancer as opposed to those who hit the sack immediately…

JAMB Remits N7.8b To FG As Examination Surplus
Education
20 views
Education
20 views

JAMB Remits N7.8b To FG As Examination Surplus

PH - July 23, 2018

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has remitted another N7.8 billion to the Federal Government. Its Head, Media and Information, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, made this known…

MUST WATCH: 9 Fruits And Vegetables That Contain The Most Pesticides
Food and Health
23 views
Food and Health
23 views

MUST WATCH: 9 Fruits And Vegetables That Contain The Most Pesticides

PH - July 23, 2018

Apples, strawberry and grapes are among the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides. According to a research by Environmental Working Group (EWG), 97 percent of…

Saraki Denies Being Offered Oil Bloc, Nomination Tickets
Politics
27 views
Politics
27 views

Saraki Denies Being Offered Oil Bloc, Nomination Tickets

PH - July 23, 2018

The senate president, Bukola Saraki, has debunked speculations about juicy offers being made to him and his associates as part of the on-going discussions with the presidency…

Nigerians Applaud Singer Falz Over New Video On Assault
Entertainment
25 views
Entertainment
25 views

Nigerians Applaud Singer Falz Over New Video On Assault

PH - July 23, 2018

Nigerians and the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) have lauded singer, Folarin Falana a.k.a Falz for addressing sexual violence in his latest music video. The…

Gov Ahmed Reacts To Saraki’s New Appointment
Politics
22 views
Politics
22 views

Gov Ahmed Reacts To Saraki’s New Appointment

PH - July 23, 2018

Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed has hailed the elevation of the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki from the title of Turaki of Ilorin to Waziri of…

Veteran Nigerian Singer, 2Baba Talks Celebrity Status In New Interview
Entertainment
26 views
Entertainment
26 views

Veteran Nigerian Singer, 2Baba Talks Celebrity Status In New Interview

PH - July 23, 2018

2Baba, Nigerian singer, says his parents taught him to respect everybody despite their level in society. The veteran singer has had a lengthy career and is still…

Nigerian Rapper, MI Abaga Addresses Choc Boiz Break Up
Entertainment
18 views
Entertainment
18 views

Nigerian Rapper, MI Abaga Addresses Choc Boiz Break Up

PH - July 23, 2018

MI Abaga, rapper and record label executive, has released the video for ‘Brother’, four years after the song was recorded. ‘Brother’, which featured Nosa and Milli, was…

Researcher Links “Processed Meat” to Insomnia and Hyperactivity
Food and Health
22 views
Food and Health
22 views

Researcher Links “Processed Meat” to Insomnia and Hyperactivity

PH - July 23, 2018

A research has shown that nitrates, the chemicals used to cure meats such as beef jerky, salami, hot dogs and other processed meat snacks, may contribute to…

Food and Health
21 views

Gov Ortom’s Wife Commences Free Medical Treatment For VVF Patients In Benue

PH - July 23, 2018

Wife of Benue Governor, Mrs Eunice Ortom, has commenced free medical treatment for women suffering from Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in the 23 local government areas of the…

Why Kizz Daniel Refused to Work with Reekado Banks on Selense – Harrysong
Entertainment
25 views
Entertainment
25 views

Why Kizz Daniel Refused to Work with Reekado Banks on Selense – Harrysong

PH - July 23, 2018

Kizz Daniel is reportedly holding a grudge against Reekado Banks and has refused to feature on any song the latter is involved in. The feud may have…

Photos from the N10million White Wedding of Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva’s Son
Entertainment
37 views
Entertainment
37 views

Photos from the N10million White Wedding of Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva’s Son

PH - July 23, 2018

Veteran Nollywood Actors, Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva’s son, Olusoji married his woman, Boma Douglas in a colorful White Wedding Ceremony. Top stars like Ufoma McDermott, Kate…

First Bank Hosts Chinese Business Forum To Deepen Intercontinental Partnerships
Business
36 views
Business
36 views

First Bank Hosts Chinese Business Forum To Deepen Intercontinental Partnerships

PH - July 23, 2018

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has organised the FirstBank-Chinese Business forum with aim of strengthening business partnerships between Nigeria and China. The bank in statement said that…

Nigeria’s Inflation Slows To Lowest Rate In 30 Months
Business
36 views
Business
36 views

Nigeria’s Inflation Slows To Lowest Rate In 30 Months

PH - July 23, 2018

Nigeria’s consumer prices rose at the slowest pace in 2 1/2 years in June as food costs climbed the least since March 2016. The annual consumer inflation…

Buhari’s Minister Fires APC Chairman, Oshiomhole
Politics
35 views
Politics
35 views

Buhari’s Minister Fires APC Chairman, Oshiomhole

PH - July 23, 2018

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has faulted the stand of the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on the constitution…

Bayelsa Community Gets Water Project From Oando, Partners
Business
29 views
Business
29 views

Bayelsa Community Gets Water Project From Oando, Partners

PH - July 23, 2018

Oando PLC and its joint venture (JV) partners – Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), have provided good drinking water to the…

Loading...