Local former boxer remembers his bout with Muhammad Ali
It's a day where many are reflecting on the life of Muhammad Ali's life sharing their memories and telling their stories including one local man who once stepped in the ring against Ali.
Many are reflecting on Ali's life and sharing stories of the champ including one local man who once stepped in the ring against the greatest.
As boxing champ Muhammad Ali is laid to rest in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky on Friday, Ronald Gentry is taking a trip down memory lane to June of 1975.
That's when the 1972 Detroit Golden Gloves Heavyweight Class B Champion met Ali during an exhibition fight held at Detroit's Olympia Stadium.
Gentry says the event was held to raise money for a local college.
"He announced it and then he came to town," said Gentry. "Said he was going to fight the five baddest dudes in Detroit. Whenever you say Detroit - people think of tough."
Gentry says he can recall that fight like it was yesterday. He even stepped inside the boxing ring in his basement to give us the play by play.
"So when he came out I hit him with some jabs," Gentry said. "Then he turned his jabs up and I could hardly see because he hit me with so many jabs."
But it was a moment Gentry says he'll never forget.
"I had idolized him since 14, 12 so it was great, it was just exciting," Gentry said.
Gentry says his fondest memory of his time with Ali has nothing to do with fighting him in the ring.
"What was probably even better for me is that he invited me up to his hotel room," Gentry said. "And we spent at least 15 minutes talking and he was telling me what his dreams were and what he wanted to do - he wanted to be in movies."
Gentry says he'll never forget when he learned of Ali's passing.
"That was tough," he said. "I looked up to him forever. I wish I had stayed in touch with him."
Gentry, who now owns a used car dealership, says he hung up his boxing gloves shortly after his fight with Ali.
"I had some headaches and decided I'm not going to pursue any farther," he said.
But Gentry says his memories of his time with The Greatest will last a lifetime
"I'll never forget it ever," he said. "Of course."