Ali Center hosts premiere of HBO film - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SLIDESHOW -- Ali Center hosts premiere of HBO film

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville is proud to be home to boxing legend Muhammad Ali and on Wednesday hosted the premiere of the new HBO film Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight at the Muhammad Ali Center.

The Ali family joined filmmakers at the red carpet event. It took nearly two years to make this movie and that may surprise viewers with how little it has to do with boxing.

The film Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight is about the punches Ail threw outside the ring.

It takes you back to the 1970s behind the closed doors of the U.S. Supreme Court as Ali fights an appeal against the military draft.

At the premiere Wednesday night, Ali's daughter Laila posed on the red carpet and took time to talk with WDRB about her dad's Louisville roots.

"Everytime I come here I see all the love -- obviously my dad being a Louisville icon. He's famous everywhere but in Louisville he's got his own street, his own Ali center and everything so it's good," said Laila Ali.

Laila Ali says she's been patiently waiting to see the film.

"Hopefully I'll see some things I've never seen before in the film tonight. Obviously I know the story but we can get into the details of what actually went on," she said.

Muhammad Ali himself even made a brief appearance, posing with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

President of HBO Films Len Amato says the movie not only focuses on Ali's refusal to be drafted in the U.S. military but how he was stripped of his title and banned from boxing for nearly four years because of it.

He says it's less about boxing and more about taking a stand.

"Whether you agree with him or not, and at the time was very polarizing, but it's a great lesson for everyone no matter what their opinion of it is," Amato said.

This is the one and only premiere for the film. Those with the Ali Center say it's a privilege to play host.

"Muhammad Ali is 70 years old and it's a great opportunity for us to really showcase his center while he's still with us," said Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Ali Center.

The premiere also kicks off the inaugural three days of Greatness Film Festival at the Ali Center.

Stars like Michael Bolton and Christina Aguleira will be receiving humanitarian awards Thursday night.

The film debuts on HBO this Saturday at 8 p.m.

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