Muhammad Ali, proclaimed by many as the greatest boxer of all time, is to lend his not inconsiderable weight to Coca-Cola’s marketing activity under a new sponsorship deal.

The winner of an Olympic gold medal and three world heavyweight championships, Ali will promote Coke’s products and worldwide community and youth ventures.

Financial terms were not disclosed, though are likely to involve many millions of dollars. Coke’s arch rival PepsiCo recently paid over $50m for teen chanteuse Britney Spears to star in its ads.

Calling the boxer “one of America’s great heroes”, Coke chairman/ceo Douglas Daft eulogised: “Muhammad Ali’s life is a testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome diversity.”

Ali is no stranger to the world of celebrity endorsement, having advertised Chevrolet, Rockport Shoes, Morton’s Steakhouse, Apple Computers and, in 1999, the Equitable Life pension company.

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