Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali traded a pair of red boxing gloves for a golden dove on Tuesday when the United Nations named him its Messenger of Peace.
During a brief ceremony in New York, U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan pinned a small golden dove onto Ali's lapel.
For more than a decade, the boxer has suffered from Parkinson's syndrome, a degenerative nerve disease that has slowed his reflexes.
It was a smiling Muhammad Ali who was lead into the U-N Secretary General's office in New York on Tuesday.
He showed his lively spirit when he lightly jabbed his right fist toward a United Nations cameraman as he walked down the corridor.
Once inside, U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan pinned a small golden dove onto Ali's lapel and presented him with a videotape of a speech the former boxer gave at the United Nations in 1979 in which he criticised apartheid in South Africa.
Annan then received a pair of Ali's gloves.
Ali's wife, Lonnie, acts as a spokeswoman for her once highly articulate husband.
She told the gathering that the gloves were symbolic on her husband's part because everything was a struggle.
For more than a decade, Ali has suffered from Parkinson's syndrome, a degenerative nerve disease that has slowed his reflexes and made it difficult for him to talk.
His intellect, however, is unaffected.
Ali has travelled the world on humanitarian missions, and most recently visited Cuba.