Neeson, who hails from Ballymena, appeared on ESPN Sports Center to talk about his new movie, Taken 2. Neeson told interviewer Mike Hall that he did not know much about the New York Jets, Rex Ryan, or Tim Tebow. Hall adapted by asking Neeson about boxing, football, golf, and basketball. Neeson talked about playing sports as a child and talked about the popular Irish sport hurling.
Neeson started boxing when he was 9 and continued until he was about 16 or 17. He was the juvenile champion of Northern Ireland three times and was the Irish runner up couple of times in his weight division.
Neeson tries to follow boxing today. He says he watches “Friday Night Fights” and some HBO items for the big events. He added, “I’m disgusted with the heavyweight division. It’s not like Ali’s time, you know?”
He met boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 1980 when Ali was in London promoting his recent film, “Freedom Road.” Ali signed an autograph to Neeson’s dad, who cried when Neeson gave it to him. Neeson saw Ali a year ago and told him that he had met him 30 years ago. Ali squeezed his hand and his wife and daughter said, “I think he remembers.” Neeson said about Ali, “There will be nobody like him. He was my idol.”
Neeson enjoys watching Manny Pacquiano and Floyd Mayweather Jr. He said Pacquiano just gets stronger and stronger in the championship rounds from 9 to 12 and that is the sign of a great fighter. When Hall asked what would be Neeson’s reaction to a Paccquiano-Mayweather fight, Neeson responded, “Oh, I would absolutely flip my seat. I would pay any amount of money to be at that fight.”
Watch the interview below: