John Lennon disliked Muhammad Ali because he made The Beatles "look really stupid", it has been claimed.

Muhammad Ali met The Beatles in 1964

Muhammad Ali met The Beatles in 1964

The band met the boxer on their first trip to the US in February 1964 when they were both on the brink of megastardom, but the meeting reportedly didn't go well as the legendary fighter - who was still known by his birth name Cassius Clay at the time - insulted the group, leaving them unimpressed.

Photographer Harry Benson had taken the 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' hitmakers to meet Ali - who died in 2016 aged 74 - when he was preparing for his Sonny Liston fight and they were waiting to appear on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'.

He recalled to the New York Post newspaper's Page Six column: “Ali dwarfed them. Just the repartee of Ali: ‘You think you’re good-looking? You’re not that good-looking — you’re tiny, small, little men. Look at me!’

"They didn’t like it — Lennon and Paul McCartney in particular.

“He didn’t particularly like their singing, and told them that . . . Afterward, John said to me, ‘He made us look really stupid, and it’s your fault, Benson.”

According to the photographer, John - who died in 1980 - and his bandmates, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Ringo Starr and the late George Harrison, refused to speak to him for three months as a result.

George previously described the boxer as "quite cute" and claimed Ali was "clamouring" to meet the group, but Harry didn't remember it the same way.

He said: "He couldn’t care less about them."

When Ali died in 2016, Paul shared a photo from their meeting as he paid tribute to the "beautiful, gentle" man.

He wrote: “I loved that man. He was great from the first day we met him in Miami . . . He was a beautiful, gentle man with a great sense of humour.”