Should London Have A Statue To Muhammad Ali?

By M@ Last edited 31 months ago
Should London Have A Statue To Muhammad Ali?

Former boxer Chris Eubank reckons London should erect a statue to Muhammad Ali. Eubank made the appeal on various news programmes following Ali's death, insisting that the memorial be built in Hyde Park.

Should the Champ receive a permanent memorial here in London? Those unfamiliar with his life might wonder why, given that he never lived here.

Yet Ali had a strong affinity for London, visiting on many occasions. His first professional fight outside the US took place at Wembley in 1963, in a famous bout against Henry Cooper, followed by a rematch at Highbury three years later. The Standard has an excellent piece on Ali's many other trips to our city, including the memorable 1999 visit to Brixton and the day he dressed up as a City gent.

Our appetite for Ali is demonstrated in the ongoing Muhammad Ali exhibition at the O2. It has attracted thousands of visitors and many more will now make the pilgrimage.

And it's not as if London has been shy when it comes to erecting statues to non-Brits. Our streets are already populated by several memorials to Mandela, a statue of Gandhi, at least seven bronze versions of US presidents, an itinerant statue of Yuri Gagarin and no doubt several others.

Eubank says he'll fund the statue himself, with support from the wider boxing community — though it's not clear if this would include the cost of any repair and maintenance in the future.

Are there any downsides to the proposal? So long as the piece is privately funded, it's hard to spot any knockout punches to the idea.

Last Updated 06 June 2016