Retired boxing great Muhammad Ali will visit Philadelphia to receive the Liberty Medal, an award recognizing his longtime role as a fighter outside the ring for humanitarian causes, civil rights and religious freedom.
• Boxing legend hailed by ex-president Bill Clinton.
• Honour to be presented by champ’s daughter.
The honour will be presented today during a ceremony at the National Constitution Center by the champ’s daughter, who is also a boxer, and two US Olympic athletes. It comes with a $100,000 cash prize.
The Center’s chairman, former President Bill Clinton, said: “Ali embodies the spirit of the Liberty Medal by embracing the ideals of the Constitution - freedom, self-governance, equality and empowerment - and helping to spread them across the globe,”
Since hanging up his gloves in 1981, Ali has traveled extensively on international charitable missions and devoted his time to philanthropy and social causes.
His wife Lonnie is slated to speak on his behalf at the ceremony. A 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease has devastated the physique that made Ali an Olympic champion and three-time heavyweight title holder.
Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the nation’s highest civilian honour - in 2005. He has also established the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center in Phoenix and a namesake educational and cultural institute in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
The National Constitution Center, which opened in 2003, is dedicated to increasing public understanding of the Constitution and the ideas and values it represents. It awards the Liberty Medal annually to an individual who displays courage and conviction while striving to secure freedom for people around the world.
Previous recipients include Bono, former South African president Nelson Mandela and former US president Jimmy Carter. Six winners later received the Nobel Peace Prize.