Boxing legend Muhammad Ali made a rare visit to Lexington Tuesday in conjunction with the Alltech International Symposium on animal nutrition.
Muhammad Ali fought in the first boxing match that Alltech founder Dr. Pearse Lyons ever attended. Ali became Lyons' idol, and Tuesday their unique partnership was formally introduced as the Alltech - Ali Center Global Education and Charitable Fund.
Dr. Lyons told the Sportsman of the Century, "it's humbling for us to be able to step forward and do these things with you, sir."
Through his Ali Center in Louisville, the champ has been inspiring adults and children to become the greatest they can be, and Alltech, the title sponsor of the 2010 World Equestrian Games, aspires to the same goal.
Dr. Lyons told a huge gathering at the Lexington Convention Center, "Coming together was a natural."
Ali's wife, Lonnie, spoke for him at the event and talked about the core values that drove him to greatness, "respect, confidence, conviction, dedication, giving and spirituality." She said that inspiring others to use those values to reach their full potential is a global mission of both Alltech and the Alis. "I think all people need to take a look at what we're doing, partner, and try to make a difference in the world and impact the lives of many."
We're sometimes disappointed when we finally get the opportunity to meet our idols, but Dr. Lyons says Muhammad and Lonnie Ali were everything he expected them to be. "I think one of the beer sponsors, and it wasn't Kentucky Ale, once said, It doesn't get any better than this.
The Alltech Symposium drew 1,100 people from more than 70 countries.