A Manhattan street, close to Madison Square Garden, has temporarily been renamed Muhammad Ali Way in honor of the boxer.
Muhammad Ali Way
Since the sad death of Muhammad Ali on Friday a number of tributes have flowed in for the legendary boxer. New York has now shown its respect by having temporarily renamed 33rd Street, Muhammad Ali Way.
Madison Square Garden
The location is not random. Ali fought at Madison Square Garden eight times during his illustrious career, including the much hyped ‘Fight of the Century’ versus Joe Frazier in 1971.
The announcement was made on Tuesday and New York mayor, Bill de Blasio said, “Today we are paying tribute to the man in the heart of this city,” de Blasio said. “He deserves this naming honor and more.”
“Muhammad Ali was a champion, activist and the self-proclaimed Greatest.” The mayor added, “throughout his life he lived up to that title again and again”
Muhammad Ali died on Friday, aged 74, from respiratory illness. Despite his successes in the ring, one battle he would eventually lose was his fight against Parkinson’s disease that affected his later years. Indeed, de Blasio, the democrat mayor noted that Ali “never backed down from a fight in or outside the ring.”
He was a multiple heavyweight champion of the world, but his appeal extended so much further than just boxing fans, with his willingness to use his position to promote causes he believed in such as racial and religious tolerance and fighting injustice. He was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and regularly battled for social justice.
Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and this is where his public funeral will be held on Friday. Bill Clinton and Billy Crystal (among others) are due to give eulogies and the pallbearers will include another former champion Lennox Lewis and actor Will Smith, who portrayed Ali in the 2001 film about the boxer’s life.
Will the new name last?
It is not known how long the new street names will remain in place. For the name change to become permanent legislation first needs to be passed by council and the signed off by the mayor. There are currently no plans of this to happen.