Champ: Muhammad Ali • Thomas Hoepker • Magnum Photos

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Champ: Muhammad Ali

Thomas Heopker's iconic photos of the world's great boxer Muhammad Ali capture both the man and the myth

Thomas Hoepker

Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali, boxing world heavy weight champion showing off his right fist. Chicago, USA. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker World heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is scared by a bee while visiting a movie set. London, UK. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, boxing world heavy weight champion in Chicago, jumping from a bridge over the Chicago River. USA. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad ALI in a boxing outfit posing for studio photographer. Chicago, Illinois, USA. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali, boxing world heavy weight champion with Johnny Coulon, the world bantam weight champion of 1910, in his Chicago gym. Chicago, Illinois, USA. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad ALI in a bakery flirting with Belinda, who will later become his wife. Chicago, Illinois, USA. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Olympics Games. Muhammad Ali fighting for the gold medal in the light heavyweight class. Medal ceremony. Rome, Italy. 1960. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali in a restaurant with Herbert Muhammad, son of Black Muslim leader Elija Muhammad. London, UK. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali being driven to pre-fight training. London, UK. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker World heavyweight champion Muhammad ALI prays to Allah before the first round of a title fight. London, UK. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali, (formerly Cassius Clay), boxing world heavy weight champion. After the fight against Brian London, ALI rewards himself with a big bowl of ice-cream. London, UK. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali with Telly Savalas on the set of the film 'The Dirty Dozen.' UK. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali in a car, surrounded by children. Chicago, Illinois, USA. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali in a barber shop. Chicago, Illinois, USA. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker World heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali visits Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad in his Chicago home. Chicago, Illinois, USA. 1966. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali. Ali sitting in his Cabrio. Miami Beach, Florida, USA. 1970. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali joking with fans. Miami, Florida, USA. 1970. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay) during training in Chris Dundee's gym in Miami Beach. Miami Beach, USA. 1970. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Inside Muhammad Ali's home in Philadelphia. His wife Belinda with their children. Philadelphia, USA. 1970. © Thomas Hoepker | Magnum Photos
Thomas Hoepker Muhammad Ali, boxing world heavy weight champion. Ali, suffering from Parkinson's disease, is bering driven to his home in Berrien Springs, Mich. He holds photo by Thomas Hoepker taken in 1966. USA (...)

Ali was and is the greatest. A great sportsman, he was a controversial thinker that enthralled people but also offended many in and outside of the ring.

Thomas Hoepker had the opportunity to spend time with Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali and take photographs in 1960 when he won a gold medal at the Rome Olympics. In 1966, when Ali was world heavyweight champion already; then again in 1970, when he, after several years of a forced absence from the ring, restarted his career and prepared himself for the ‘Fight of the Century’ against Joe Frazier; and years later, already weakened by Parkinson’s disease.

Many of these pictures have gone around the world and have become photographic icons. They have been shown in many museums and are sought after by collectors. Many photographs in this book have been unpublished until now. They show Ali in private moments and public appearances outside of the ring. Images show him on a visit to his hometown, talking to children and young people, flirting with a pretty baker’s daughter (later his wife), on the film set of The Dirty Dozen, in the gym and at home.

Champ is not a biography. This exciting book highlights excerpts from a most unusual life. Together with Ali’s loudmouthed but always profound and original sayings Champ provides a shimmering portrait of a fascinating and contradictory personality. Along the way, we also experience something about the pervasive racism of his time in the U.S., Ali’s connection to the ‘Black Muslims’ and his role in overcoming racial segregation.