Photographer Peter Angelo Simon was invited to follow Ali for two days while 'The Greatest' was training in Pennsylvania ahead of the biggest fight of his life.
Simon captured candid pictures of the heavyweight champ training at the 'Ali Camp' ahead of his world title fight in Zaire with George Foreman dubbed The Rumble in the Jungle.
“"I believe these photographs reveal aspects of Ali’s fascinating character not previously seen.””
The photos show a stripped back 32-year-old Ali, in "thoughtful, focused and determined" training, shedding an insight into the preparation needed to become 'The Greatest'.
During this time over the two day period, Simon notes:
"I was astonished by what I discovered at Deer Lake. The camp had an air of playfulness and creativity – power boulders bearing the names of boxing greats of the past, magic tricks, tea and poetry, Ali relaxing in a rocking chair receiving visitors in a log cabin. While Ali prepared his body with rigorous physical training, the camp’s congenial atmosphere was clearly essential to the nourishment of his soul.
"Everything I saw at the camp, I felt, was part of Ali’s imaginative formula for success. In the next two days I went everywhere with Ali – an old people’s home, an exhibition match, watching him practicing the 'Rope-a-Dope', taking tea and talking poetry with a visitor. I shot 33 rolls in the two days. Ali said nobody had ever taken so many pictures of him. I believe these photographs reveal aspects of Ali’s fascinating character not previously seen."
Few photographers got as close to the boxer behind the legend.
Muhammad Ali: Fighter’s Heaven 1974 reveals the preparation for a seminal moment in cultural and political history.Images courtesy of © Peter Angelo Simon/Muhammad Ali: Fighter’s Heaven 1974 Published by Reel Art Press in August 2016 @reelartpress