Around the boxing world, fighters have been reacting to the loss of their progenitor of combat rap, rope-a-dope and iconic blueprint for resistance, Muhammad Ali. With his funeral today, we asked a few of today's stars and their trainers about the man that laid a path for them to create their own greatness.
Here's what a few of them thought of the former Louisville Lip:
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DOMINIC BREAZEALE, Heavyweight contender
“Muhammad Ali was a huge inspiration. Heavy hearts when great ones pass away like that. He was a wonderful man. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I did meet some of his kids, Layla Ali being one of them.
Ali was a very inspirational type of individual. You go back and watch some of his fights; I was way too young to see him fight in his prime but I’ve seen the recordings and seen the video footage. Everyone says he did everything wrong but everything right. It’s just phenomenal.
One of the things I was able to take from watching him fight was his jab. Sometimes he’d beat guys hands down with just his jab.”
(Photo Credit: Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions)
KEITH "ONE TIME" THURMAN, WBA Welterweight Champion
“Muhammad Ali was the GOAT: greatest of all time. He had a charisma like nobody else. He had tremendous skills especially when it comes to a Heavyweight, the way he used to jump around and float around the ring.
His persona, he was such a likable guy. He stood up for everything that he believed in life, his religion to boycotting the war. He really was an inspiration to many loved and adored by many.
I believe he opened up the sports entertainment industry for all of America because at the time that Muhammad Ali was making the money he was making, other athletes weren’t making that kind of money in other forms of sport.
I think he really opened up all of the athletic industries when he showed the world that you could really rile up the American public and get some real financial backing into sports. I think Muhammad Ali was a big part of that transition."
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DAN BIRMINGHAM, Trainer to Keith Thurman, former championship winning trainer for Winky Wright & 2x winner of the Futch-Condon Award for Trainer of the Year
"I’m friends with Laila (Ali) so I was very sad. I remember when he came to Youngstown and I remember half the town came to see him. He was just bigger than life. He was this huge man that came out of the limousine.
He’s an icon. There’s kids in my gym that mimic his style, which was brash and cocky. I admired his courage when he refused the draft induction. A lot of people didn’t like that."
(Photo Credit: Ryan Greene / Premier Boxing Champions)
SHAWN PORTER, Former IBF Welterweight Champion and Current WBA Welterweight Challenger
On his June 25th fight being the first prime time fight on CBS since Muhammad Ali beat Leon Spinks on Feb. 15, 1978, Porter said, "Being the first fight in primetime on CBS since Muhammad Ali is very significant. It makes me want to go out there and do something inspiring."
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JOHN MOLINA, JR., Super Welterweight, Former world title challenger and 2014 Fight of The Year Recipient
“The world lost a great human being, not only inside the ring but outside the ring. A champion is the best way to describe him. The greatest of all time. An innovator. Somebody that changes the world in and out. My heart goes out to his family.”