Dublin: 10°C Monday 20 September 2021
Advertisement

Muhammad Ali's legendary Irish interview

In 1972, Cathal O’Shannon conducted an enthralling interview with Muhammad Ali. It’s a long one, so grab a cup of tea and prepare to be entertained.

Updated 4 June 2016

IN 1972, A year after losing The Fight of the Century to Joe Frazier and two years prior to the Rumble in the Jungle, Muhammad Ali held court for just under 50 minutes in the company of Cathal O’Shannon (1928 – 2011).

Ali set the captivating proceedings on a roll referring to Frazier as a ‘tramp’ and telling O’Shannon that the reigning heavyweight champion was:

“Not doin’ nothin’. Fighting once every seven months, fighting people you could beat – so I have to keep the game alive because I’m the true champion.”

In the interview which is now solely available on the RTE Player, Ali speaks at passionately and at length about race relations in the United States and the hatred that made people want to see him fight, in the hope that he would be beaten.

I get nervous, because of the talking I do. I have to back it up…

O’Shannon’s easy charm played a huge part in the interview’s success, taking Ali’s friendly jibes in the spirit they were given. Though prepared to be the butt of the joke, he never shirked a question and allowed the champ space and time to say what he wanted… not that Ali ever needed much encouragement to talk.

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

Take some time to watch the full 47-minute interview on RTE Player here.

Originally published 17 January 2012 with the interview as a YouTube clip.

The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add!

About the author:

Sean Farrell

Read next:

COMMENTS (2)