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Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was stood up by Elvis Presley as he arrived ‘high or drunk’ at 4am to watch sparring session

MUHAMMAD ALI was once stood up by Elvis Presley – who turned up “drunk or high” at 4am to watch the boxing legend in a sparring session.

George Dillman, who trained with both the People’s Champion and Bruce Lee, revealed the two icons then went antique shopping after the King of Rock and Roll sobered up.

Muhammad Ali: The Life of a Legend features amazing stories about the legendary fighter

Elvis Presley once turned up 12 hours late to watch the heavyweight king spar

Presley and Ali were famously close friends in the final years leading up to the The King’s death in 1977.

Elvis memorably gifted the heavyweight icon with a custom-designed robe that mistakenly read “People’s Choice” ahead of his win over Joe Bugner.

But Dillman recalled another time the legendary singer made another hilarious gaffe after he turned up needing a little less conversation during plans to watch Ali spar.

Speaking to Fiaz Rafiq for his book, Muhammad Ali: The Life of a Legend, the American revealed Elvis arrived 12 HOURS late to a training session after a particularly wild night out.

He said: “Muhammad came over to me, and he said, ‘You can’t tell everybody. Tomorrow be here at 4 o’clock.’

“He usually boxed at 2 o’clock – this is when he did his sparring. He says to me, ‘Tomorrow I’m going to train at 4 o’clock. Don’t come at 2 o’clock, come at 4 o’clock. You can’t tell your students, you can’t put it in the newspaper.’

“‘Nobody’s to know that Elvis Presley is coming to watch me spar.’ I said, ‘Serious?’ He said, ‘Yes. Elvis Presley is coming here and we’re going to train, you and me. And I want Elvis to see what we do.’

“Four o’clock came and we kept waiting and waiting. No Elvis. I’m going to make a long story short. Muhammad Ali, at about 6 o’clock, said ‘I’ve got to get my boxing in’.

“So they started the boxing and he sparred with the sparring partners. Then after that we had dinner over in the kitchen and we sat around waiting for Elvis.

“I think somebody called to say he was coming late, he’s coming late, he’s coming late! No Elvis, no Elvis, no Elvis! It got late at night, it was 9pm or 10pm at night. I said, ‘I’m heading home. I doubt he’s going to show.’

Ali wears a cape reading “People’s Choice” given to him by Elvis before his fight against Joe Bugner in 1973

“He said, ‘Yeah, I don’t think he’s going to show.’ So I went home. I found out the next day that Elvis showed up 4 o’clock in the morning. They said he got lost.”

“But he went to do other things and he showed up at 4am. Ali woke up the cook and had the cook make some breakfast and coffee.

“Elvis, from what they told me, was a little high or drunk. I don’t know how you want to say it but he was… and Ali gave him breakfast and they sat and had a chat. Then about 8am or 9am they went out shopping together.

“The people who own the store, their daughter was in high school and she loved Elvis. Elvis and Muhammad Ali go in the store to look for and buy some antiques.

“The parents couldn’t believe that Elvis and Muhammad Ali were standing in front of them. When their daughter came home from school her parents told her what happened. She absolutely couldn’t believe it. Two policemen guarded the store so nobody could go up.

“Elvis signed his signature on hundred dollar bills and gave each one of us as a gift. One guy sold his hundred dollar bill, I think for $3,000 (£2,400) within a week.

“Somebody said I’ll give you three grand. He said OK and got rid of it. The other guy still has his and was in the papers not long ago.”

  • Muhammad Ali: The Life of a Legend by Fiaz Rafiq published by Arena is available now, £16.99.  Visit here

Ali is widely considered to be the greatest boxer of all time

Frequently Asked Questions

How can a beginner learn to box at home?

Boxing has been around since ancient times. Boxing was initially developed by ancient warriors to defeat enemies. Boxing is still widely practised today. You don’t even need to go to a gym to box. You only need a pair of gloves and some punching bags.

There are many local amateur boxing groups that you can join to train with professionals. Once you master basic punches & combinations, you will be ready for competition in tournaments.

How can I improve my defense in fighting?

Learning how to fight intelligently can help you improve your defense. You need to be able to defend yourself from all angles and counterattack if necessary.

If you don’t know how to fight, then you won’t be prepared for anything. You’ll just get beaten up. You’ll just get beat up if you know how fight.

Here are some tips to improve your defense.

  1. Know the origin of your opponent’s attack. This means that you need to pay close attention and observe your opponent’s body language. For example, if he looks nervous, this could mean that his next attack is coming soon.
  2. Remain calm. Don’t panic. Instead, remain calm and focused.
  3. Block with your arms. Blocking with your arm is a simple, but effective, way to defend yourself against attackers.
  4. Counterattack. If you see your opponent attacking you, then you need to counterattack immediately.
  5. Fight dirty. Fighting dirty can be a way to defend yourself. If you are being kicked by your opponent, you can respond by kick him back.

How can you box punches properly?

A punching bag is used to practice boxing punches. You’ll need to keep punching the bag until you feel you have mastered the technique. You can then move on to another area of your body. Once you feel comfortable with one area, you’ll move on to the next.


  • You want to be running at roughly 75-80% of your top speed..5 mile slow, easy recovery jog at the end.[6]X Research source 2Mix in long runs, shadow boxing, and short sprints on non-interval days. (
  • It is just like normal sparring with a partner, but you want to throw punches at 75% of your normal speed. (

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How To

These are the basics of boxing

How to effectively box

Boxing is a popular sport. It involves two people who attempt to knock each other out of their heads. Each country has its own rules. There are three main types of boxing: Amateur boxing, Professional boxing, and Olympic boxing.

Amateur boxing can be practiced at school or college. This boxing style includes sparring sessions without protection, using padded gloves. Amateur boxing contests are usually three rounds in length, lasting five minutes each. Amateur boxing can be done in many styles, including Kickboxing and Muay Thai, Taekwondo or Karate, Judo, Wrestling, and Muay Thai.

Professional boxing is usually practiced in gyms, clubs or stadiums. They wear protective equipment such as mouthpiece, nose guard, shin guards, elbow pads, knee pads, waist belt and groin protector. Professional boxing competitions include six rounds of four minutes each. There are many styles to professional boxing.

Olympic boxing can be seen at the Olympics. Boxers wear special protective gear, which must conform to international standards. The competition lasts for eight rounds, each lasting three minutes. Olympic boxing has only two styles, Light Flyweight vs Heavyweight.

These are the basic skills required to box.

  • Punching techniques
  • Guarding techniques
  • Footwork
  • Stance
  • Body movement
  • Defense
  • Combination
  • Rotation
  • Sparring

Punching Techniques

There are seven types: Left Hook (right hook), Right Hook (uppercut), Cross (cross), Straight, Overhand, Underhand. Each punch is different. Some punches are more powerful than others. For example, an uppercut is a powerful punch. On the contrary, a straight punch takes less power but is faster than most punches.

There are many combinations of punches. These are combinations of punches that work together to achieve a specific goal. One combination can have many parts. For example, a combination of a left and right hook will result in damage to the opponent’s jaw.

Guard Techniques

A boxer uses his body to protect himself against attacks. He does this using his legs and arms, elbows as well as hands, knees and feet.


To defend against kicks, a boxer should use his legs. If he gets kicked, he raises one leg and turns away from his attacker. If the attack comes from the front, then he bends his knees to avoid being kicked on the side. If the attack comes from behind, however, he can stand straight up and block the kick by his foot.


Elbow strikes are very powerful because they inflict great pain. An elbow strike may be delivered directly or in an indirect manner. Directly refers to hitting your opponent with the forearm, while indirect means you hit him using another part of your arms.


Boxers use their arms to stop incoming blows. To do so, they raise their fists above their head and move them towards the direction of the attack. Then they make contact with the attacker’s fist.


A boxer should bend his knees in order to absorb any blows to his stomach, abdomen, chest or stomach. Knee strikes are often used for defense purposes.


A boxer should not be afraid to respond to an attack. This will allow him to gain distance from his opponent. Boxers should also keep their balance when counter-attacking.


Boxing is only possible if a boxer has a clear stance. His stance will determine how he defends. It determines his position and the direction he will face. Boxers have many stances to choose from. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Low stance
  • High stance
  • Southpaw stance
  • Western stance

Body Movement

Boxers must maneuver around their opponent to win fights. This requires changing your position, speed, and rhythm.


To increase his punching power, a boxer rotates when he throws a punch. Different types of punches require different speeds for the rotation.


The timing of each individual punch affects the effectiveness or failure of a combination. A combination of strong and weak punches will produce a good result.


Sparring is an exercise session to improve boxing skills. Sparring is a training session that helps a boxer train his mind and body. In conclusion, the purpose of sparring is to learn how to fight and not get hurt.

It is important to be patient and dedicated when learning how to box. You need to train hard and long in order to become a better boxer.