Billy Crystal remembers Muhammad Ali with '15 Rounds'

I'm a Post reporter now, but back when I was a professional boxer, I faced Muhammad Ali in the ring.

His funeral will take place in his home town of Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, where flags have been flying at half-mast since his death was announced.

"The phone was put over to Ali, and I told him what he meant to me". Although the duo were not as vocally opposed to the Vietnam War as Ali was, a number of their songs - notably 1966's "Homeward Bound" - were adopted as anti-war anthems. In early 2014, Camacho Ali spoke about the boxer's early life for a PBS documentary.

Smith plays Ali as he defied the draft, converted to Islam and fought Joe Frazier and George Foreman. Ain't nobody who's going to stop me.

The Supreme Court ruled in Ali's favor in the 1971 case of Clay v.

Ali - born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr in Louisville on January 17, 1942 - dazzled fans with slick moves in the ring, and with his wit and engaging persona outside it.

He was more quotable than any Tarantino flick, had the presence of Brando in boxing gloves (though he WAS a contender) and survived more adventures and cliffhangers in his career than Bond.

"He wasn't talking very much at that stage". Here he is on the Ed Sullivan show in character, singing "We Came in Chains".

This history was something I would learn as I got older. "He would win the fight before the fight even happened". The three-time heavyweight boxing champion will celebrate a milestone birthday Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, when he turns 70.

The world first felt that presence at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. "I give all credit to Muhammad Ali because he was the first icon".

Luckily, he got a replacement medal - and ongoing support from his community - in 1996.

Arum promoted more Ali fights than any other promoter including the Thrilla in Manila against Joe Frazier in 1975 at the Araneta Coliseum.

Before classes began Saturday at Rock Steady Boxing in Indianapolis, the students and staff honored Ali as all fighters who pass on are honored.

In this November 15, 1962, file photo, young heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali, points to a sign he wrote on a chalk board in his dressing room before his fight against Archie Moore in Los Angeles, predicting he'd knock Moore out in the fourth round, which he went on to do. Muhammad Ali was a man with the people.

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