(NEWS10) – He’s considered one of the greatest boxers to ever put on a pair of gloves and part of his training that won him Olympic Gold stems back to the Capital Region.
Tonight, we look at the impact he had on our local community.
“I’m very sad. In fact, I’m shocked how sad I feel,” said Pat Becker.
Muhammad Ali was more than just a champ for Pat Becker. He was a family friend.
“Wait every Christmas for a phone call and say hey its Cassius and we would run upstairs and listen,” said Becker.
Her father, Ben Becker, coached Ali for the 1960 Olympics.
“He trained Muhammad Ali most time that summer”, said Becker.
And with that training came many stories, like the first time this boxing great had to get on a plane bound for Rome.
“Sat next to my father all the way. My dad used to say , I think he wanted to out my head on his shoulder because he was nervous,” said Becker.
That was back when he was still known as Cassius Clay.
“I did not forget the courage, profound influence more than boxing,” said Becker.
Local writer Michael Rivest who writes about boxing said it wasn’t just Ali as an athlete that was inspirational but who he was as a person.
“Nobody ever heard the things he said,” said Rivest.
Last night he felt a hero was gone.
“I knew he was dead and I knew I wouldn’t sleep so I wrote about him last night”, said Rivest.
“That feeling loss of two big people in our lives, they’re just gone. They were bigger than life”, said Becker.
Pat says Alit is now with her dad.
“He never forgot my father all these years”, said Becker.
The coach who helped him win Olympic Gold all those years back.