Toledo remembers Muhammad Ali and his values

TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - Some considered him the world's greatest athlete, known around the world for his athletic skill, as well as his contributions to the civil rights movement.

Millions knew Muhammad Ali for his determination. He got back up when he was knocked down, and stood strong for what he believed in. That dedication will be what many remember him for.

Harry Cummins founded the International Boxing Club. He says, "Not only was he a champion in the ring, he was a great champion in life. He reached out to so many people in the world and helped."

Cummins worked with a number of professional boxers, and came shoulder to shoulder with the legend himself at a tournament in 1997. Cummins recalls, "The flag was rising, and it had the spotlight on it, and Muhammad tapped me with his elbow, looked over and winked at me. True story, and it was one of my fondest memories."

Outside the tournaments, Cummins says he's met Ali six times. Ali had been living with Parkinson’s Disease for years before Cummins met him, and Cummins says Ali didn't say much. But his positivity is what spoke to Cummins. He explains, “he didn't say if I win the gold medal, he said I'm going to win the gold medal."

Muhammad Ali came to Toledo in the 1980's. His stops here included Scott High School and the Mount Nebo Baptist Church. Pastor Cedrick Brock says Ali spoke to the congregation about standing for what's right.

He explains, "Muhammad Ali, he stood. He was Roots, he was history, he was who he was, and we value that and we'll miss that. He taught us to be the best at whatever we do, even when you get knocked down, get back up."

Pastor Brock says Ali's passing is devastating, but, he says, "That's what life does sometimes is knock us down, but we got it back up, and float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, because ain't nobody bad like Muhammad Ali."

Pastor Brock says the congregation will say a prayer for Muhammad Ali during services Sunday.