Champ: Muhammad Ali
Thomas Heopker's iconic photos of the world's great boxer Muhammad Ali capture both the man and the myth
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 Many photographs in this book have been unpublished until now.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.