Michael Parkinson’s admitted he ‘didn’t like’ Muhammad Ali at first
17th August 2023

Sir Michael Parkinson dies aged 88

Sir Michael Parkinson had a heated relationship with famous boxer Muhammad Ali throughout his various TV appearances.

The TV presenter is confirmed to have died at the age of 88, leaving behind a storied career interviewing many famous faces.

Parkinson interviewed Ali four times, but he often found it difficult to get a word in edgeways and recalled being “shouted at”.

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When Eamonn Holmes asked if he liked the boxer on This Morning in 2016, he admitted: “Not to start with.

“I really didn’t. He was impossible to like. He was confrontational, dictatorial. All those things.

“He had that physical presence,” he added, and even admitted to being “frightened” of him occasionally.

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However, Parkinson eventually started to warm up to Ali in his later life once his political views had started to cool.

“Later on, when he became more vulnerable, in a sense, and when he changed his view about the separate nations, and all that,” he recalled.

“He wasn’t that kind of man at all. He didn’t believe that black and white should never co-exist.

“He said it because, politically, at the time, it was the thing to say, I suppose.

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“But, he mellowed towards the end and became a much more open-minded man. I liked him from that point.”

Although the pair eventually warmed up to each other, Parkinson’s interviews with Ali are still remembered as some of his most intense TV conversations.

Parkinson was even a front-row witness to a fight between Ali and Joe Frazier when the boxing rivals launched into a skirmish on The Dick Cavett Show in 1974.

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