Boxing legend Pele passed away yesterday, at the age of 82, having sadly lost his battle with colon cancer. Since then, tributes have quite literally been pouring in, with so many people from all sports being moved to write something about the Brazilian great on social media – Mike Tyson among them.
Tyson met Pele – the only man to have ever won the World Cup three times, this when his country won it in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – in 1987, just prior to becoming the unified heavyweight champion. Tyson posted a photo of himself and Pele smiling and shaking hands, the mutual respect and admiration apparent.
“I was 21 years old living the dream meeting one of the greats,” Tyson wrote on his instagram page. “He was a warm kind man without a bad thing to say about anyone. Rest in peace.”
Tyson isn’t the only massive figure from the world of boxing to have had a great deal of admiration for Pele. Muhammad Ali met the footballing God in October of 1977, this when Pele officially announced his retirement from the sport. Ali was there that night at the old Giants Stadium, and “The Greatest” embraced Pele at the end of the game, the moment producing an iconic image, with Pele kissing Ali on the side of his face as he embraced him.
Boxing M.C Michael Buffer uploaded the image of Pele and Ali together, adding the words “Together again…. the two most famous athletes of the 20th century! Rest in peace.”
Pele was without a doubt the most famous footballer who ever lived, as Ali was the most famous boxer who ever lived. It’s such a powerful image, seeing the two giants together, the two immortals recognising each other’s vast accomplishments. Pele and Ali became friends, and when Ali passed away in 2016, Pele issued a statement that read: “My friend, idol and hero, I wish him to rest with God. We spent many months together and we always kept in touch during all these years.”
As Buffer says, Pele and Ali ARE the two most famous athletes of the 20th century. In fact, you could argue how no one else comes close.