Riddick Bowe is a boxing legend in his own right, but has been speaking about one fighter he has always looked up to.
The American heavyweight is best known for a trio of clashes with Evander Holyfield and for not fighting Lennox Lewis in the professional ranks in a drawn-out saga that ended with him throwing his WBC title in the bin when Lewis was made mandatory.
Speaking to Dr Beau Hightower, Bowe was asked who he looked up to throughout his life.
He then remembered their first encounter at ringside.
“When I first met him he was behind me, I couldn’t see him. I was fighting in the New York City Golden Gloves competition. He was saying ‘come on sucker, come on sucker.’ I was trying to focus on myself, on getting ready for the fight, and he kept talking. I guess 15 minutes went by and I didn’t say nothing to him cause I didn’t recognise his voice.”
Eventually, Bowe got irritated and turned around.
“Five minutes went by and I could hear the voices again, he went ‘come on sucker,’ now I was getting angry because I was trying to focus. So I turned around, it was Muhammad Ali. He gave me this big hug, man. I turned into a little girl, I cried, a couple tears came into my eyes. After he gave me a hug I knocked the guy out in 24 seconds. He was my idol. If it wasn’t for me, I’d probably be in the Marine Corps.”