Smart Araneta Coliseum commemorates American boxing legend and activist Muhammad Ali, who died on June 3, 2016 at the age of 74.
Ali is known as one of the greatest boxers of all time, and among the most famous sports icons of the 20th century. He won 56 out of the 61 matches in his boxing career. He was included in the list of greatest boxers of The Ring, Sports Illustrated, BBC, and ESPN Sports. He is the only three-time lineal heavyweight champion in the history of the sport.
The Big Dome is proud to be part of Ali's significant boxing career. The epic third and final match between him and rival Joe Frazier -- named Thrilla in Manila -- took place on October 1, 1975 at the Araneta Coliseum (then renamed to Philippine Coliseum). It was a match that was viewed by an estimated 27,000 coliseum spectators, and around 1 billion television audiences worldwide. Ali beat his rival via technical knockout at the end of the 14th round to earn his 49th boxing win.
After this victory, Araneta City constructed the first enclosed and fully air-conditioned shopping mall in the Philippines in his honor. The Ali Mall was constructed in 1975, and was opened to the public the following year. Ali himself attended the mall inauguration.
Outside of boxing, Ali also found success in singing, acting, and writing. He was also known for his humanitarian works and activism, in which he donated millions to charity organizations and visited various countries to support different causes.
Smart Araneta Coliseum remembers his colorful life and contributions to the world. As it celebrates its 60th year, the Big Dome happily shares with the world the legacy of one of Ali's most memorable career highlights, and honors the man whose active participation in political and social awareness would remain relevant in this day and age.