Muhammad Ali's agility, charisma, and strength in the boxing ring made him a sports star, but it was the humanity and dignity he maintained throughout his life that made him a legend. Fans keen to own a piece of history will be able to get their hands on two of the late icon's passports when they go under the hammer later in June.
Ali, who battled with Parkinson's Disease for more than three decades, passed away on 3 June, at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona where he had been admitted a day earlier following a respiratory condition. He was 74.
According to TMZ, one of the travel documents is loaded with visas from countries like Lebanon, Portugal, Venezuela, and other places he visited in 1971. An important period of his professional career, Ali fought 4 times that year but only once outside the US.
The other is a replacement passport issued to the three-time heavyweight champion in Dublin, Ireland, on July 19, 1972, the day he defeated Alvin Lewis. Ali used this passport for the next eighteen months and it features stamps related to several of his fights which led to his historic 'rumble in the jungle' clash with George Foreman. The passports go on auction at Bonhams New York on 15 June, and are expected to fetch between $25-35k (£17- £24k).
Meanwhile 'The Greatest' will be laid to rest in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday (10 June). Former US president Bill Clinton and actor / comedian Billy Crystal will deliver eulogies at the ceremony. British heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, who has also won the world heavyweight title three times, will be among the pall-bearers along with actor Will Smith, who played the boxer in a 2001 biographical film. US senior adviser to the president Valerie Jarrett will attend the memorial services in place of President Barack Obama, as the event coincides with his daughter Malia's graduation ceremony.