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On 19 July 1972, Muhammad Ali defeated Al "Blue" Lewis in 11 rounds at Croke Park, Dublin. It was an extraordinary week both for Ali and the sporting and cultural history of Ireland. Thirty years on, through interviews with dozens of those whose paths Ali crossed, Dave Hannigan presents this narrative.
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The enthralling narrative about one incredible boxer and the remarkable impact of his visit to Ireland.
Twenty-four hours after arriving in Dublin, Muhammad Ali rang his publicist Harold Conrad. ?Hey, Hal?? said Ali, ?where are all the niggers in this country?? ?Ali,? replied Conrad, ?there aren?t any.?
On July 19, 1972, it took Muhammad Ali eleven rounds to defeat Al ?Blue? Lewis at Croke Park, Dublin. A mere footnote in the larger Ali story, this fight against a game ex-convict from Detroit marked the culmination of an extraordinary week in Ireland?s sporting and cultural history. From the moment the world?s most charismatic athlete touched down at Dublin Airport and announced his maternal great-grandfather Abe Grady had emigrated from County Clare more than a century before, the country was in his thrall and -- being Ali -- he loved it. It was an extraordinary week. Ali was both charming and charmed by those who came to pay homage -- among them civil rights campaigner Bernadette Devlin, Oscar-winning director John Huston, actor Peter O?Toole and an old lady who invited him in for a cup of tea.
Dave Hannigan is a sports journalist based in New York where he writes for Dublin’s Sunday Tribune. He was
formerly Irish football correspondent for the Sunday Times and is the author of The Garrison Game, a portrait of Irish football.
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