As we approach one year since the passing of Muhammad Ali. Iconic Images speak with Terry O’Neill about his time photographing one of the greatest athletes ever to have lived.
In the Summer of 1972, Terry O’Neill flew to Dublin where Ali was training for a fight against Alvin Lewis set for 19th July at Croke Park.
“I was doing some interviews for the papers at the time and remember that they ran that story for three days. That’s how big Ali was, ad outside of his early days as a professional, 1972 would be one of the most active periods of his fighting career.
“When I started to talk to him and ask him questions for the interview, that’s when he blew up! He swore and said ‘Are you writing a book on me? And his brother, who was there, said, ‘No, he’s just asking really interesting questions’ because I was asking what type of music he liked and what books he read. Ali got suspicious because no-one ever asked him those types of questions before.”
The images O’Neill captured are some of his most iconic sporting photographs that show both a fighter implementing a vigorous training regime, but also O’Neill was able to capture a few images of the icon with his mother, Odessa Clay.
“I love the shots with him and his mum because they are one-offs. You could tell they were very close and he really respected and loved her. When she was around, he was polite and gentle.”
Limited Edition, Fine Art Prints are available. Each print is signed and numbered by Terry O'Neill.