The service in his hometown of Louisville capped a daylong final homecoming for Ali, who died at the age of 74 a week ago. Earlier in the day, a roughly two-hour funeral procession took his body past places where the legendary boxer spent his formative years: his childhood home, his high school, the first boxing gym where he trained. The Greatest of All Time was then laid to rest early in the afternoon in a private ceremony at Cave Hill Cemetery. Actor Will Smith, who played the title role in the 2001 film "Ali," and former heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson were among eight pallbearers, according to organizers. The burial was the only private portion of three days of events celebrating Ali that began with a festival Wednesday and Islamic prayer program Thursday. It was just how Ali wanted the funeral plans to be when he laid them out several years back — as open as possible so his fans could say goodbye.
Friday afternoon's memorial was the main public celebration, held at the 22,000-seat KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. Many of the public attendees started lining up Tuesday for a chance to get tickets.
Ali's widow, Lonnie, spoke eloquently about the inspiration of his legacy.
"He was sure-footed in his self-awareness, secure in his faith, and he did not fear death," Lonnie Ali
"As we face uncertainty," she said, "Mohammad's life provides useful guidance."
Two of Ali's children spoke. Maryum Ali was
followed by Rasheda Ali-Walsh, who made the crowd smile when she said, "Daddy's looking at us now, right? And saying, 'I told you I was the greatest!' No one compares to you, Daddy."
At the memorial service, eulogies also came from University of Louisville student Natasha Mundkur and family friend John Ramsey.
Muhammad Ali was be buried in a plot in the historic Cave Hill Cemetery on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky. The Greatest chose the plot himself in a secluded corner of the cemetery Ali wished to remain in his beloved hometown, where he learned to box, built a museum and even has a street named in his honor.
The area is known for its beauty and wildlife, and is surrounded by centuries-old trees, immaculate lawns and a lake