Life and Love with 'The Greatest': Muhammad Ali

July 29, 2012

When Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams was six years old she looked out of her front door in Louisville, Kentucky, and saw an energetic young man holding court to a wide-eyed gaggle of neighbourhood boys, including her brother.

“Who’s that big man?” she asked her mother, not knowing that the answer would change her life.

“That’s Cassius Clay,” her mother told her. “The Champ”, “The Louisville Lip”, the 1960 Olympic gold medallist and the most exciting heavyweight boxer the world had ever seen.

Lonnie crossed the street to find out for herself what all the fuss what about: “He was wearing a crisp white shirt and a black bow tie, and all the boys were crowding around trying to listen to him. There were kids’ bikes all over the lawn. He saw that I was the only girl and he beckoned me over and started to talk to me — but he scared me, he was so huge.”

Despite her apprehension, it proved to be … [more]

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