With its Great Characters collector line, Montblanc honours the individuals whose accomplishments have left an indelible mark on humankind and whose influence lives on today. Few athletes are as celebrated and honoured as three-time heavyweight champion of the world, Muhammad Ali, whose legendary moments in sports and civil rights activism made him one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. The Montblanc Great Characters Muhammad Ali™ Collection is dedicated to a man who not only challenged opponents in the boxing ring but who used his mind, charisma and voice as an outspoken and tireless advocate for civil rights, sacrificing a long period of his career to stand up for what he believed in.
Born Cassius Clay (1942-2016) in Louisville, Kentucky, Muhammad Ali took up boxing at the age of 12 after having his bicycle stolen and taking the advice of a police officer: before looking for retaliation, he should learn to fight. At 18, he stepped into the global spotlight at the 1960 Summer Games in Rome when he competed as an amateur light heavyweight and won the gold medal.
Just four years later, he shook up the world of sports when he became world heavyweight boxing champion of the world, the same year he formally changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
He soon directed his passion into the fight for civil rights and peace. When he refused military service in 1967, his sports licence was suspended, and he was stripped of his world champion title. After three and a half years, he was allowed back into the ring and was able to capture his second and third world titles. To this day, Muhammad Ali is the only three-time lineal world heavyweight boxing champion.
Made up of three individual editions, each one representing one of his three major victories (1964, 1974 and 1978), the design of the Montblanc Great Characters Muhammad Ali™ collection highlights different aspects of his extraordinary life and enduring legacy. The structure of boxing tape, wrapped around the champion’s hands, is a reference to the art of boxing that he came to master. Often used to describe his incomparable style in the ring that combined lightness with speed, the words “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” have been translated into the shape of the pen’s pointed cone to represent the bee, while the butterfly can be found decorating the cap. The ultimate reward for every boxer, the pen’s clip features a belt akin to the ones awarded to champions.
Montblanc Great Characters Muhammad Ali™ Special Edition
As a symbol of Muhammad Ali’s achievements as a boxing champion, the four ropes that surround the boxing ring are represented as four engraved lines on the cone, while the cap of the writing instrument is shaped like a punchbag. The bandages boxers use to protect their hands under the boxing gloves find expression in the structure of the matte black precious resin that appears to wrap around the barrel.
His legendary victory at the Summer Games in 1960 is immortalised on the gold-coated cone with the engraving ‘ROMA MCMLX’. Only four years later in Miami, against all predictions, he dethroned the world champion Sonny Liston. The words ‘I shook up the world’, spoken with pride after his spectacular fight, are engraved on the cap. The white precious resin Montblanc emblem on the cap top is adorned with the number ‘1’ in honour of this first world title of his boxing career. Cassius Clay’s victory pose is engraved alongside the inscription ‘TKO-W 7 (15)’ (technical knockout in the 7th of 15 rounds) on the gold-coated cap ring, while the cone bears the engraving ‘MIAMI 1964’.
The title belt Muhammad Ali wore inspired the design of the skeletonized clip, inscribed with ‘ALI’. Underneath, a laurel wreath symbolizes the triumphant victories of the great boxer. Because all of his victories, whether athletic or civil, rest on the reputation he established with his boxing gloves, the handcrafted, solid Au 585 gold nib is artfully engraved with this vital part of a boxer’s equipment.
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