Muhammad Ali

‘He was my hero’: Former boxer Liam Neeson shares touching story of how he told the late great Muhammad Ali ‘I love you’

‘I love you,’ are the words Liam Neeson first told his childhood hero.

The now 63-year-old movie star, who once moonlighted as an amateur boxer, recalled in an interview with Irish Central how he met the late Muhammad Ali, who passed away on Friday at age 74.

It was 1981 when the Taken star first encountered the boxing legend right before his bout with Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas, which would be the heavyweight’s final fight.

Liam Neeson recalled in an interview with Irish Central how he met the late Muhammad Ali, who passed away on Friday at age 74

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His hero: Liam Neeson, who once moonlighted as an amateur boxer, recalled in an interview with Irish Central how he met the late Muhammad Ali, who passed away on Friday at age 74 (pictured in 2009)

‘I got to meet him before he had his last fight in 1981,’  Neeson recealled. ‘Not knowing what to say and with my knees shaking, I said “Muhammad, I love you.”

‘He gave me a hug and then signed an autograph for my father.’

The actor went on to reminisce about another meeting he had the legend.

Fond memories: Neeson recalled meeting Ali and his wife Lonnie in 2011 (pictured here in 2010 in Toronto, Canada)

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Fond memories: Neeson recalled meeting Ali and his wife Lonnie in 2011 (pictured here in 2010 in Toronto, Canada)

‘I met him again in 2011. He was unable to speak with his advanced Parkinson’s. I put my hand over his and whispered “I love you.” His wife said to me, “He knows who you are.” 

‘He was a giant of humanity,’ the actor concluded. ‘As a people, we are all in bereavement.’

Neeson enjoyed a brief stint as an amateur boxer in Ireland before going on to become one the world’s most recognisable film stars. 

Legend: One of the transcendent figures of the 20th century, Ali died on Friday at age 74

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‘I got to meet him before he had his last fight in 1981,’ Neeson recealled. ‘Not knowing what to say and with my knees shaking, I said “Muhammad, I love you.”‘

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