Born Cassius Clay, Muhammed Ali became one of the greatest, yet polarizing, athletes of all time.
He taunted opponents in the ring and antagonized many more outside the ropes.
From his anti-war speeches to his stance in the battle for civil rights, Muhammed Ali was never one to back down from a fight.
In 1981, he battled to resurrect his career here in Hawaii, but the Hawaii State Boxing Commission, headed by Bobby Lee, ultimately denied his application in part because he was 39 years old and thereby ineligible to fight in the state of Hawaii.
“I’ve never been knocked out, what this is crazy people are talking about? ‘I’m pitiful. I can’t fight. I’m going to get hurt.’ I’ve never been hurt. Are they crazy?” he told KHON2’s Joe Moore. “I’m the king of all kings. I promise you, the stage is set. It’s the way I want it. I shall return.”
But Ali did not return to Hawaii.
“What you’re hearing in press and things about Ali’s license being revoked, that he cannot any longer fight in Nevada. If that is the case, I don’t think… we should license him,” Lee responded then. “We are members of the same fraternity. We are members of the North American Boxing Federation, which Nevada is, and we should and must honor each other’s suspensions.”
Watch the video for clips from KHON2’s coverage from 1981.