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Muhammad Ali - honoring the great legend in London

THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME

TAG HEUER presents limited edition watch in London at BXR boxing gym in London

«HE WHO IS NOT COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO TAKE RISKS WILL ACCOMPLISH NOTHING IN LIFE.» MUHAMMAD ALI

 

 

Story, photography, video
STEFAN JERMANN

 

Cassius Marcellus Clay also known as “The Greatest” or better known by the name of Muhammad Ali has left a lasting impression in the world of sports and stands as a symbol for resistance and impetus. While he was known in public to verbally provoke his opponents, he was also admired by the people close to him as being charismatic and caring. 16 times Heavyweight Champ Larry Holmes who belonged to the close entourage of Muhammad Ali — and was his sparring partner in the early days, defeated him on October 2, 1980 in 10 rounds. Holmes mentions that Ali always had something good to say about people — he was a true inspiration. MIRUS had the chance to spend some time with Larry Holmes in London where a special limited edition watch was auctioned to benefit The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kenntucky.

 

 

«MUHAMMAD ALI WAS KIND TO ME, HE THOUGHT ME HOW TO BOX, HE PUT FOOD ON MY TABLE.» LARRY HOLMES

Larry Holmes at BXR, London

Steve McQueen. Le Mans or Formula 1. Anything associated with speed and car racing comes to my mind when thinking about the legendary watch brand TAG HEUER that is now part of the LVMH conglomerate. However when its watch-division brainchild and CEO Jean-Claude Biver had the chance to meet boxing legend Muhammad Ali 2011 in Mexico, he was struck by his aura — despite his advanced stage of Parkinson. Biver felt that at some point he wanted to act upon honoring this legend. That is how the idea of creating a Muhammad Ali limited edition Tag Heuer watch came about. The model is based on the legendary 1957 Ringmaster TAG HEUER stop watch. Back then the construction was a sensation in watchmaking because it came with a series of interchangaeable rings that could be used for different time-tracking, each of which could be applied for a partiuclar sport such as athletics, racing and also boxing.

It doesn’t happen every day that you get to spend time with a real box-champ, here’s a little excerpt from the conversation we had with Larry Holmes:

 

MIRUS
How did you get into boxing?

 

LARRY HOLMES
As a teenager I really enjoyed wrestling and football and usually after school there wasn’t much to do so I joined the Boys & Girls Club where we started boxing, just kinda messin around. I liked it and stayed with it. I think I was around twelve at that time, but I also worked at factories and had smaller jobs, so it wasn’t until a few years later that I got really serious about it.

 

MIRUS
What was your most vivid moment during your boxing career?

 

LARRY HOLMES
That was on June 9th, 1978 when I became WBC — world boxing heavyweight
champ against Ken Norton. That was the peak of my life. Had I not won that night I have no clue what I could have ended up being. That title motivated me to keep and defend it.

 

MIRUS
Do you recall something in particular that you learned from Muhammad Ali, after all you were part of his entourage, you were very close to him?

 

LARRY HOLMES
Yeah, I learned how to jab and how not to get hit. Early in Ali’s career you could never hit him, no chance. I wanted to perfect that and work on my technique and that is what I did.
(Holmes is known to be the worlds best jabber of all time)

 

MIRUS
When you compare the boxing business during your career and now, where obviously everything is a lot more
entertainment and money driven — what is your take on that?

 

LARRY HOLMES
I really like the fact that these guys are making money now (laughs)! While Mayweather is making a hundred million dollars in one fight, I never made that kind of money during my entire 38 years of boxing.

 

MIRUS
But wouldn’t you agree that it has become more about money than about the sport?

 

LARRY HOLMES
That’s because football and basketball players and the likes want the money, that’s what they want. Money motivates people. We have a lot of people from the ghetto that get inspired by sports and if they ultimately get paid well then I think that is great!

 

MIRUS
What is your relationship with watches, are you a collector?

 

LARRY HOLMES
No I am not a collector, but I have about three or four watches at my house that don’t work (laughs).

 

MIRUS was invited by Tag Heuer to attend the event at BXR in London on October 12th, 2017