Will Smith has played many great roles over the years and was finally recognised with an Oscar for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the enigmatic father of Venus and Serena.
It told the story of their tough upbringing in Compton and the challenges they faced to becoming multiple Grand Slam winners.
The awards ceremony was mired in controversy, though, as he marched on stage to slap host Chris Rock in response to the comedian’s joke about his wife.
That prompted plenty of response from the world of sport with Serena weighing in on the events, while heavyweight superstars Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.
AJ said he the actor should have closed his fist, while Fury reshared a meme that replaced Smith as him and Rock as his next opponent – Dillian Whyte.
Dana White and Nate Diaz have even commented on the incident that has been a talking point across the globe.
Smith is no stranger to the world of boxing as he famously played the great Muhammad Ali in his Oscar nominated performance in the film Ali.
The actor likes to fully throw himself into whatever role he is playing and he put himself through plenty of punishment to transform into the legend.
Smith packed on 35lbs of muscle to get near to Ali’s weight of 210lbs to replicate him as closely as possible.
He also went to extreme lengths to get himself into shape and experience what it was like for the great man.
Smith’s trainer, Darrell Foster told NME: “I took Will up to 10,000 feet in Aspen, Colorado so he could understand what it felt like to experience oxygen deprivation in order to correlate it to how Ali felt in the 14th round with Joe Frazier and how it feels to actually not be able to breathe and you’ve still gotta [sic] keep fighting.
“I made Will run and throw punches. He fell to his knees and I made him write Ali’s name in the snow. And he said: ‘Now I get it’.”
Speaking to ABC News in 2001, Smith said he spent years getting under the skin of Ali and spoke of his admiration of the man.
“For nearly two years I worked to transform myself into the man who changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and shook up the world,” said Smith. “And that’s really what makes my job so beautiful as an actor — for four, five months at a time I get to wear peoples’ lives.
“So I got to wear Muhammad Ali’s greatness. I got to study and feel and embody the soul of the man, from the foundations of Islam and the strength of his Muslim faith in his life, to the beautiful wake that he always leaves in his magnificent path.
“What I learned about the word legacy “is that it extends far beyond our professional accomplishments; it extends far beyond accolades.
“Muhammad Ali is a champion for civil rights. He is a champion in the fight against injustice. He is a champion for utilising whatever tools he has to make the world a better place.”