Waterloo boxer reacts to Ali's funeral - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo boxer reacts to Ali's funeral

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The world mourns the loss of Muhammad Ali while thousands of people attend his funeral in Louisville, Kentucky.

The iconic boxer died of septic shock after battling Parkinson's disease for several years.

Even though the heavy-weight fighter had few connections to Iowa, people here at home, especially fighters, are said to see him go.

Even decades after champion Muhammad Ali coined the phrase, "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee," Waterloo professional boxer Greg Sykes, said the famous fighter still inspires him today.

"More so when I started boxing in 2005. I watch video of him of his old fights. I'm just kind of stealing stuff from him as far as jabs, footwork and head movement, and stuff like that," Sykes said.

Sykes trains at the Cedar Valley Boxing Club with his son, Darreon.

Darreon will be in the fourth grade this coming fall.

Despite the generation gap, Sykes said Ali will likely inspire generations to come.

"The newer generation will definitely look up to him like I will and you will, and the generations before," Sykes said.

Greg said Ali was a true fighter in and out of the ring.

"So, I'm going to take that away from him. He was a great boxer and one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. He was hard to hit, very fast, had a very high ring IQ, but more so what he believed in. He stood up for what he believed in," Greg said.

Several celebrities, including President Bill Clinton, spoke during his funeral service in Louisville, Kentucky.

Thousands of people turned out to pay their respects in person, while millions watched on-line and via television.

Ali's son, Assad Ali of Elssworth Community College in Iowa Falls, is also in Louisville honoring his father's life.

Assad is an assistant baseball coach for the school's program.
 

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