(Photo Above) After a 1977 afternoon speaking engagement at Northern Michigan University, former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali put on his trunks, shoes and boxing gloves for an exhibition bout with a former heavyweight champion, Jimmy Ellis.
Then World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Au visited Marquette July 9, 1977. The All-Jimmy Ellis exhibition bout was scheduled to help raise $100,000 in scholarship funds for Northern Michigan University. Promoters had hoped for a crowd of 5,000. However, less than half that number attended hurting the effort to raise funds for the start-up of the Muhammad All Scholarship Fund for minority students at NMU. Tickets cost between $10 and $15 for the exhibition and four other bouts in the NMU field house. When discussing the small crowd with a Menominee County Journal staff member, All said, "I'm the most sought after man in the world, not the most sought after athlete but the most sought after man. The people don't believe that such a well known person is really here, they're just asleep, they're the ones that are missing out. When I get in the ring for a fight, half the world is conscious that I'm fighting." All also said that he was in an area that hasn't really accepted a successful black athlete. "I came here for my expenses. They couldn't afford to hire me to come here and put trunks on and fight, the fans are just asleep."