Wednesday, 22 February 2012

David Beckham looks chuffed as he meets 'the great man' Muhammad Ali at his 70th birthday party

.Memorable moment: David Beckham posted this photo on his Facebook page of him meeting Muhammad Ali last weekend

He is one of the most famous footballers in the world, but even David Beckham is capable of getting starstruck.
The 36-year-old star looked extremely honoured when he met boxing legend Muhammad Ali last weekend.
The father-of-four had been invited to the star's 70th birthday celebrations at the Power of Love Gala in Las Vegas along with a whole host of famous faces.

.Showing his support: Footballer David Beckham helped celebrate Ali's birthday

.Actor and musician Kris Kristofferson joined Anthony Hopkins, Stella Arroyave and Samuel L. Jackson 

.Man of the hour: Muhammad Ali took the stage as his wife Lonnie and musician Sean 'Diddy' Combs joined him

.Honouring a legend: Kelly donned a gold dress as she performed in front of a picture of Muhammad Ali

.Music men: Snoop Dogg, Neyo and Lenny Kravitz all travelled to Sin City to show their support

Meeting Ali was clearly a special moment for David, so much so that he posted a photo of the unforgettable moment on his Facebook page.

'Here is a shot of me meeting the great man, an honour,' was the caption he wrote to accompany the shot that sees him shaking Ali's hand as he enjoys his party at a table with his family.

David had clearly made a lot of effort for the party and arrived wearing a smart dark suit, a white shirt  and slicked his hair back into his usual style.

The LA Galaxy player addressed the crowd when he introduced singer Stevie Wonder to the stage - who had flown straight from Whitney Houston's funeral in New Jersey.

However, Stevie wasn't the only star there who treated Ali to a song as Kelly Rowland also belted out some of her hits.

When Ali converted to Islam, many people resisted calling him by his new name.

Earlier in the evening, Ali entered the room and sat at a table with his family before bidding began on the gloves.

Lorenzo Fertitta, the billionaire majority owner of Ultimate Fighting Championship, won the gloves, which organisers had said earlier they hoped would fetch $500,000.

NFL great Jim Brown said Ali represents the greatest of America, because at one time people only recognized his athletic ability and didn't like what he had to say. That changed over time, he said.

'America started with slavery and ended up with a black president,' Brown said. 'Muhammad Ali was a part of that ... a big part.'

Ali's wife, Lonnie Ali, told the star-studded crowd that her husband's greatest wish has always been to inspire and help others. She said he feels that his life really began when he retired from the ring.

'Muhammad's gift of inspiration is timeless, and now more relevant than ever,' she said after being introduced by music icon Quincy Jones.

Lonnie Ali introduced a video montage of her husband's life, including clips from his work with children.

'People look for miracles, people look for wonders, people expect surprises of all kinds,' Ali said in the video. 'Yet the greatest wonder, the greatest miracle, the greatest surprise is to be found in one's heart.'

Other guests arriving on the red carpet included former NFL player Franco Harris, supermodel Cindy Crawford, Ali's children and grandchildren and Chuck Wepner, who fought Ali in 1975 for the heavyweight title and lost.

'I would go anywhere in the world for Muhammad Ali's birthday,' Wepner said.

One of Ali's daughters, Rasheda Ali, said the gala is a chance for friends, family and A-list celebrities who look up to her father to show their respect for his life and legacy as a humanitarian. In return, she said he'll be honoured to see them there.

'He has not left that need to help others,' Rasheda said. 'That's one of his core values - his charity and his giving.'

The gala - with tickets starting at $1,500 per plate - was held at the MGM Grand, the site of most of boxing's major fights the past two decades.

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