Watch: Paul Simon Reveals Ali Death During ‘The Boxer’

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Paul Simon & Band (crop)

Paul Simon and Band during a performance from his 2016 tour

While performing “The Boxer”—one of his signature Simon & Garfunkel tunes—at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, Calif., on Friday night on June 3, 2016, Paul Simon paused before the last verse and said: “I’m sorry to tell you this in this way but Muhammad Ali has passed away. The Greatest.”

The audience moaned and the singer-songwriting legend continued the song, his voice choking with emotion.

In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev’ry glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame,
“I am leaving, I am leaving.”
But the fighter still remains

The song was one of Simon’s encores last night and a friend of Best Classic Bands who was in attendance figures that the singer must’ve been informed of Ali’s death when he left the stage to applause in between songs. As he was leaving the stage for the final time, Simon offered a one-two punching sequence to punctuate his tribute to The Champ.

Simon was touring to promote his acclaimed new studio album Stranger To Stranger.

Related: Simon gets “masterful” on new album

Related: Review of Paul Simon’s recent “gem of a concert” in Lincoln, Neb.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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