In October 1974, Muhammad Ali would attempt to regain the world heavyweight boxing championship title stripped from him when he refused the Vietnam draft seven years earlier. Weeks before, photographer Peter Angelo Simon was invited to the rural Pennsylvania sanctuary Ali called ‘Fighter’s Heaven’ as he prepared for the contest. His photographs have just been published in a new book and will be exhibited at the Serena Morton Gallery this month. Here, Angelo Simon recalls the two days he spent with Ali away from the glare of the spotlight.
This is the one photograph that I did ask Ali to pose for. We were coming back from his morning run and had just gotten out of the car and I asked if he would mind if I got a picture here at the camp entrance. What astounded me was the way he posed himself. I rather expected the basic crouch with fists up. He was tired and he just stood passively. There is no other photograph I know of that shows this aspect of Muhammad Ali. His father, Cassius Clay, Sr., had painted Sonny Liston’s name on the boulder the day before