I built a relationship and a rapport with Muhammad Ali, and I could never top that experience.
Ali was actually able to fool some people into thinking that Foreman was actually a white man.
Foreman had annihilated every single one of his opponents to that point, but here was Ali, going to Africa, selling himself as the 'real deal' black man.
I knew Ali would beat Foreman - absolutely. At Deer Lake, his fight camp in Pennsylvania, his training sessions were awesome.
So I decided to move that scene in the doctor's office to two-thirds into the movie, after the viewers had come to know Ryan and Ali and share in their happiness.
Do you remember a scene with Ryan and Ali playing in the snow? Well, that was improvised.
Yes, I first visited Korphe village, Braldu valley, Baltistan, Pakistan, after failing to summit K2 in 1993, and met Haji Ali, a long time dear mentor and friend. My second visit to Korphe was in 1994.
My book 'Ali Pasha' tells the true story of a young sailor Henry Friston, who, in the hell-fire of battle, forms an unusual friendship.
But if you cover the World Series on the news or do a feature on an Ali boxing match then all of a sudden ears go up all over the place and people say what the hell are you doing. The reason for that is that we're doing something that people are really interested in.
I liked Roy Jones, Sugar Ray Leonard, Ali... those were the guys I was looking at growing up.
My books are often shelved around those of Chinua Achebe and Margaret Atwood, or Chimamanda Adichie and Monica Ali. All of this depends, of course, on the bookstore and how conversant the shelf stocker is with the alphabet.
It's obvious that they're going to want Ali's daughter and Frazier's daughter to fight it out.
Ali's daughter is fighting and Joe Frazier's daughter is fighting as well.
Ali and I have become friends over the years. I was on a plane with him one time when he was the champion.
Mike Tyson would have been a good sparring partner for me and Muhammad Ali because Tyson was a fast fighter and he could punch and throw good combinations.
I think Ali was a fan of mine, even though he never said it. A lot of fighters thought I was pretty good. Nobody every really spoke different on that. But a lot of fighters thought I was good so.
Ali was a guy that had a lot of discipline. If you hung around him, you'd be able to get some of that discipline that he had. And I learned from that. He was a sweet man.
There's this guy: his name, Sedik Ali. He's like the African Kurosawa. You know how Kurosawa does stuff from feudal Japan? This guy does the feudal system of Africa.
My other Main Man is Muhamed Ali, for the obvious reasons.
Our next black president, I think, can be more like Muhammad Ali.