Muhammad Ali – R.I.P.


By David Martinez /

Muhammad Ali peacefully passed away due to respiratory complications in a Phoenix-area, Arizona hospital on June 3, 2016. He was 74 years old. In my own era of boxing that started in 1961, he was certainly the most gifted heavyweight champion with quickness, the best left jab ever and footwork beyond any heavyweight of our time. A fighter with ring movements as smooth as any. His three-and-a-half-year layoff for refusal of military service was taken in the pinnacle of his career.

He was the most recognized sports figure over a three decade period of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and maybe ever. Fought Joe Frazier in three epic’ bouts, with the March 8, 1971 fight between two undefeated champions – the “Fight of the Century”. He also had a most historical bout with, then, undefeated George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire, Africa, handing Foreman his “only” knockout loss in, his 81 total bout career.

Sports Illustrated magazine named Ali the top sportsman of the 20th century.

There will never be another Muhammad Ali. I have been blessed to have lived in his entire career and have seen all his fights. In is honor, I will re-publish on this website each week (starting next week) a six part series that I previously wrote about him in 2008. I will also include a few photos with each article from my private collection of Ali memorabilia for viewing.

The champ – always and forever – may your soul rest peacefully in heaven with the Lord!

From posters to magazines to even popcorn, it’s all Ali all the time in David Martinez’ house. Click here to see David’s Muhammad Ali memorabilia collection

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  1. Stephen Blea

    Paying Tribute to a Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali
    As a young Hispanic kid growing up in the 60’s & 70’s, during the all the Civil Rights movements, and demonstrations and especially the everyday prejudice. Finding a role model that fought the system due to his beliefs was Ali, Dr. King, and Corky Gonzales etc. etc.
    But, Ali stood out, it was not about being black or brown it was about him being a Man who stood up for his beliefs in & out the ring. I was in awe of him the first time I seen him on television beating Sony Liston back in 1964, it was hard to understand how a man can boast about being the Greatest with just 20 fights under his belt? Ali had a unique delivery just as quick as his hands and his feet, as a former boxer I copied his style a few times during my fights loved the Ali Shuffle. Biggest highlight of my life was a few times meeting Ali in person. First a as 16 yr. old boxer, at the Old Dave Cooks Sporting Goods store in Downtown Denver, when Ali walked in the room it was like one of the most Heartwarming feelings you could feel in your heart, like a fan seeing a Rock Star when he walked in the room everyone starting chanting Ali, Ali!! I got a few autographs and picture from him that day and his beautiful White Rolls Royce with Colorado Plates on it. The second time before he fought Larry Holmes after he had beaten Spinks in there re-match and I got an awesome picture of him & I and of course some more autographs. During the course of being a fan my father was also an Ali fan and I surprised him when I found out Ali was going to box against Denver Bronco Lyle Alzado at Mile High Stadium and I bought him a $100 ringside boxing ticket to go and see the fight, my father was so happy and he gave me the program with Veronica Ali’s autograph on it. The last time I got to see Ali in person was back in 2012 at our WBC Convention in Cancun, Mexico when our Lifetime President Jose Sulaiman and our WBC Awarded Ali King of Kings in Boxing. I took some pictures of him but I did not take any with him, but to see the Ali smile briefly with a tear when he was presented the Robe & Crown and WBC Diamond Belt was an experience of a lifetime, and just for a moment in time it brought back all the Glory years of this Awesome Boxing Icon & Legend of not only what he accomplished in the ring but outside as well.
    The inspiration of one man not giving up and fighting till the end for his beliefs and principles will forever stay with me. My father respected that I cherished and admired Ali when he called me this past weekend and asked if I was doing ok and did I send my condolences to his daughter Laila Ali.
    I Told him I did, long story short, thank you Mr. Ali for the inspiration in the boxing World and outside as well in helping me to fight and stand-up to all the Political BS as well, in our Society, I would not be where I am today as a WBC R/J had I not had the influence of you and people like my Father, and past President Don Jose Sulaiman and few awesome mentors.
    Many people can relate to this example, of honestly saying you were the Greatest and a Blessing to many, R.I.P Champ knowing God had an Awesome Messenger and you delivered more than one awesome message you indeed were an Angel.
    Respectfully Stephen Blea WBC R/J & WBC Cares Ambassador