He Always Got Back Up: Tribute To Muhammed Ali

By Ikenga Chronicles June 4, 2016

He Always Got Back Up: Tribute To Muhammed Ali

In his 61 professional fights Ali only hit the canvas four times and every time he got back up. He suffered only five defeats, only one by a knockout, but even then it was because his corner stopped the fight when a 38-year-old Ali, likely already in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, was losing badly to a much younger Larry Holmes.
Even in that fight Ali was never on his back. Muhammad Ali always got back up. So when Ali was admitted to a Phoenix-area hospital this week I just expected him to get back up.But this time it wasn’t meant to be. Muhammad Ali passed away on Friday night at the age of 74.

“It kind of takes your breath away from you for a short period of time,” said Billy Moore.

Billy is the son of Archie Moore, another one of boxing’s greatest champions who was Ali’s first professional trainer. You see, before Muhammad Ali was The Greatest of All Time … or even before he was Muhammad Ali … he was Cassius Clay, an Olympic champion as a light-heavyweight.

Clay’s professional career started outside San Diego, in the hills of Ramona, where he went to train with Archie Moore. He even lived with the family for a time. From the very beginning it was obvious to Billy Moore that his new housemate was special.

“You knew it from the day that he stepped in to the yard,” said Moore. “You knew he was different, and not only as a boxer. He was different as a human being. This guy was probably one of the most outrageous humanitarians you’d even want to meet.”

Tales of Ali’s benevolence are as legendary as his adventures in the ring and Billy Moore saw it all first-hand.
“We were in Portland, OR. He sat in the back of a limousine and signed autographs for over four hours. People were lined up, coming out of buildings downtown. He was everybody’s champion; black, red, white, yellow and brown. He was a caring person and he cared about people and he cared about this country. It was natural for him. It was God-given to him. I don’t think there will ever be another one like him.”

With apologies to Michael Jordan and Cristiano Ronaldo, even today Muhammad Ali is probably the most recognizable athlete on the planet. The man had an aura about him that few individuals have ever possessed.
“He would be sitting in a room and you wouldn’t even have to look around and see; you would just feel the presence,” said Moore. “You could just feel the atmosphere in the room change. That’s the way he was.”
Ali’s personality was, like the man, larger than life. Now Billy is faced with losing a true living legend … and a man he called a friend.

“I don’t even want to think about it, to be truthful with you. That guy was something else. He was something else. And when you spent time with him you’d never forget it.”
The author can confirm that. I was able to meet Muhammad Ali just once, at a charity boxing event in Phoenix several years ago. He came down the red carpet and granted an interview, and I started babbling like an idiot, completely star-struck.
The Champ touched my shoulder and said “Son are you going to ask me a question or tell me how great I am? Because I already know.”

Muhammad Ali made a young reporter feel at home in the presence of greatness. His impact on the world will never be forgotten. Billy Moore and I had a nice smile thinking about old St. Peter because that guy has no idea what kind of hurricane force of a personality is about to come through those pearly gates.

RIP, Champ. The lives you touched are better for having known you … even if it was for just a moment.
Source: NBCSanDiego

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