Never-before-seen images of boxing legend Muhammad Ali on show

March 9, 2016

Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden, New York, in 1977 © Michael Gaffney

ProudShow-Ali121.web1A seemingly relaxed Ali moments before his 1977 fight with Earnie Shavers © Michael Gaffney

The rare portraits were captured by US photographer Michael Gaffney, who was Ali’s photographer from 1977-78.

‘Gaffney was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: a year as Muhammad Ali’s personal photographer – travelling the world, photographing the boxer both in the ring and behind the scenes,’ said a spokesperson for Proud Camden, which will exhibit the images from 17 March-15 May.

The unseen gems include a 1977 image of Ali training in a gym at Miami Beach, Florida.

Commenting on the shot, the gallery said: ‘This is where he began his boxing career after winning the Olympic Gold Medal in Rome in 1960.

‘It is a gritty gym, complete with signs that say, “Don’t spit in the water bucket”.’

Another image captures the ‘people’s champion’ appearing ‘amazingly calm and cool minutes before his fight with Earnie Shavers at Madison Square Garden in New York on 29 September 1977.

‘The locker rooms before fights were filled with celebrities, TV cameras and the outrageous antics of Muhammad Ali, which commanded the spotlight of world attention,’ the gallery adds.

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ProudShow-Ali002.webThe sporting icon goes for a run along Miami Beach after his morning workout at a nearby gym. Ali said he ran in heavy combat boots, so his boxing shoes would feel lighter when he was in the ring © Michael Gaffney