Millions around the world are remembering renowned boxer Muhammad Ali following his death Saturday from septic shock.
However few can Ali remember quite like City Delegate Curtis Stovall Anderson. In 1977 Anderson, then a reporter for Baltimore NBC station WBAL, “fought” Ali in a 1977 comedic charity match.
Ali, always a showman, teased Anderson, proclaiming in an interview “Curt will be dirt.” A young Anderson ran with it, creating a playful feud himself and the gold medal champion where he gets knocked out before the fight begins.
Anderson remembered the event as “one of the greatest blessings in my life” and prayed that the champ would rest in peace.
Family spokesman Bob Gunnell first announced Saturday that the self-proclaimed “greatest of all time” died at 9:10 pm in Scottsdale, Arizona where he was being treated for a respiratory issue.
Ali, formally known as Cassius Clay, rose to fame after winning the 1960 Olympics as a light heavyweight boxer. Four years later he won the world heavyweight title in a match against Sonny Liston.
He entertained the masses with braggadocious statements such as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” He also enraged Americans when he openly converted to the Nation of Islam and dodged the draft.
Ali regained national favor after being vindicated by the U.S. Supreme Court and beating Joe Frazier in the 1975 “Thrilla in Manilla.”
Parkinson’s disease ended his boxing career. But Ali continued to be public figure, carrying the torch in the 1996 Summer Olympics and traveling the world as a humanitarian.
His funeral will be held in his home state Kentucky.