Scottish quote of the week: Muhammad Ali on the Bard

Muhammad Ali pictured in 1964, who was then known as Cassius Clay. Picture: Harry Benson/Getty Images
Muhammad Ali pictured in 1964, who was then known as Cassius Clay. Picture: Harry Benson/Getty Images
Share this article
0
Have your say

“I’d heard of a man named Burns – supposed to be a poet;

But, if he was, how come I didn’t know it?

They told me his work was very, very neat,

So I replied: ‘But who did he ever beat?’”

Muhammad Ali’s went toe-to-toe with Robert Burns as he recited this bullish verse back in 1965 during a visit to Scotland, but the legendary boxer’s links to Scotland extend beyond his playful jab at the Bard.

Ali forged a bond with Glasgow photographer Harry Benson, whose intimate photographs of the man once known as Cassius Clay - including a famous set of pictures of Ali together with The Beatles - bolstered his status as a pop culture icon.

The former world champion visited Scotland again in 1993 to attend a book signing in Waterstone’s in Glasgow. Then-Rangers striker Ally McCoist was among those who arrived to meet Ali in the flesh.