The first boxer to ever grace the cover of a Wheaties box is back to mark its 100th anniversary.
Muhammad Ali will be memorialized for the cereal brand’s centennial in the the “Century Box Series,” the company announced.
"The Breakfast of Champions" chose to kick off its celebrations series with Ali “in honor of the athlete’s six core principles of confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, spirituality, and respect, which reflected his approach to opponents inside and outside of the ring,” the brand said in a statement.
The Ali cereal box will be available in grocery stores later this month.
For fans who are into collectables, a gold foil box can be purchased as well through the Wheaties online shop.
“Muhammad was a man of principle and strength, he fought against discrimination and injustice in their many forms,” said Lonnie Ali, Muhammad Ali’s wife. “He was a voice for equality and justice for all. He would be honored to be the first athlete featured on the Wheaties Century Box so that his enduring wisdom, optimism and hopes can continue to affect emerging athletes and humanitarians.”
Wheaties has been honoring athletes on its cereal boxes ever since 1934 when New York Yankees Hall of Fame first baseman Lou Gehrig became the first sportsman to be featured on the cover. Michael Jordan has been featured most on the box with 18 previous appearances.
The three-time heavyweight champion Ali made his Wheaties box debut in 1999 and even attended an unveiling event at the age of 57 at the Madison Square Garden in New York.
“It’s a pretty picture,” said Ali to Tim Smith of The New York Times — now the Vice President of Communications for PBC — at the time. “That’s when I weighed 212 pounds, and now I weigh 250. I’m still pretty though, right?”
Ali was again honored with a Wheaties box cover in 2012.
“No one was quite like Muhammad Ali, beyond his unrivaled prowess in the boxing ring he was also an agent for social change, racial justice, and is remembered as a civil rights icon,” said Taylor Gessell, brand experience manager for Wheaties.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com