Leonard Cohen particularly admired boxing legend and activist, Muhammad Ali, who died June 3, 2016. In I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, author Sylvie Simmons reports that when she asked Leonard who his hero was, he immediately named “poets and spiritual leaders – Roshi, Ramesh Balsekar, Lorca, Yeats – adding the caveat, ‘I admire many men and women but it’s the designation ‘hero’ I have difficulty with, because it implies some kind of reverence that is alien to my nature.'” The next day, however, Sylvie received the following email from Leonard:
my hero is muhammad ali
as they say about the Timex in their ads
takes a lickin’
keeps on tickin’"
And, Adam Cohen (Leonard's son) named his own son, Cassius, after his (Adam’s) hero Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali. He’s named Cassius, Adam explained to Brigit Grant in 2012, because "I don’t think the rabbi would have appreciated Muhammad Cohen"
Showalter credits the information and quote to Being Leonard Cohen’s son – it’s not all hallelujahs by Brigit Grant. The Jewish Chronicle Online: March 29, 2012.