Local expert remembers Cassius Clay in Madison

WHERE HIS ICONIC CAREER AND INCREDIBLE LIFE BEGAN IN LOIUSVILLE KENTUCKY. PREPARATIONS CONTINUE FOR A PUBLIC MEMORIAL THAT WILL BE.


WHERE HIS ICONIC CAREER AND INCREDIBLE LIFE BEGAN IN LOIUSVILLE KENTUCKY. PREPARATIONS CONTINUE FOR A PUBLIC MEMORIAL THAT WILL BE HELD ON FRIDAY. FANS HAVE CREATED A MAKESHIFT MEMORIAL WITH FLOWERS AND BOXING GLOVES. ALI DIED AT THE AGE OF 74 FRIDAY NIGHT AFTER HE WAS HOSPITALIZED IN PHOENIX FOR RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS. ALTHOUGH ALI DID TRAVEL THE WORLD AND IS OFTEN TOUTED AS PERHAPS THE MOUST FAMOUS MAN ON THE PLANET… HE MADE A PIT STOP IN THIS AREA AS A TEENAGER. NBC15’S LAUREN WINFREY IS AT THE SITE WHERE ALI STEPPED INTO THE RING SEVERAL DECADES AGO AND JOINS US WITH MORE. LAUREN…? GOOD MORNING GUYS– FROM WHAT I’VE GATHERED FROM SPEAKING TO FOLKS IS MANY PEOPLE WERE BOTH SHOCKED AND SADDENED TO HEAR OF MUAMMAD ALI’S PASSING. NOW WHAT SOME MIGHT NOT KNOW IS THERE’S ACTUALLY A LOCAL LINK HERE TO ALI’S BOXING HISTORY. IN APRIL OF 1959 ALI WHO WAS THEN ONLY 17-YEARS-OLD AND WENT BY THE NAME OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY STEPPED IN THE BOXING RING OF THE WISCONSIN FIELD HOUSE RIGHT HERE BEHIND ME. NOW DURING THAT TIME ALI WAS COMPETING FOR THE 1959 PAM AMERICAN AMATEUR BOXING TRIALS. AND HE DID GO ON TO LOSE THE FINAL COMPETITION TO A GUY BY THE NAME OF AMOS JOHNSON. AND BOB LYNCH, A PRETTY WELL KNOWN LOCAL BOXING EXPERT, TELLS ME HE REMEMBERS THIS BOUT ALMOST AS IF IT WERE YESTERDAY. “WHEN HE WAS HERE IN 1959 COMPETING TO MAKE THE UNITED STATES PAN-AMERICAN GAMES TEAM I WAS WORKING AS A LIFE GUARD SUPERVISOR AND I WATCHED CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY TRYING TO RO A ROW BOAT, FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE HE HAD EVER SAT IN A BOAT AND HAD THE TWO OARS, AND HE SIMPLY COULDN’T GET THE COORDINATION TO MAKE THE BOAT GO BACKWARDS STRAIGHT IN THE DIRECTION THAT HE HAD WANTED TO. HE SAID ‘THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I EVER DID THIS’.” ACCORDING TO LYNCH ALTHOUGH ALI LOST TO AMOS IN MADISON AND PERHAPS TO THE BOAT HE WAS TRYING TO ROW AS WELLTHE PAN AMERICAN BOXING TRIALS SEEMED TO SERVE AS A BIT OF A LAUNCHING PAD FOR ALI’S CAREER. JUST ONE YEAR LATER HE WENT ON TO REPRESENTTHE U-S AT THE 1960 OLYMPICS WHERE HE TOOK HOME THE GOLD. SO, A PRETTY NEAT HISTORY LESSON THERE –AND FOR NOW, REPORTING LIVE IN MADISON, I’M LAUREN WINFREY… NBC15 NEWS. COMING UP ON “THE MORNING SHOW”…

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