A San Diego Boxing Family Remembers Muhammad Ali

Ali's first professional training camp was in Ramona

Muhammad Ali always got up.

In his 61 professional fights Ali only hit the canvas four times and every time he got back up. He suffered only five defeats, only one by a knockout, but even then it was because his corner stopped the fight when a 38-year-old Ali, likely already in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, was losing badly to a much younger Larry Holmes.

Even in that fight Ali was never on his back. Muhammad Ali always got back up. So when Ali was admitted to a Phoenix-area hospital this week I just expected him to get back up.

But this time it wasn’t meant to be. Muhammad Ali passed away on Friday night at the age of 74.

“It kind of takes your breath away from you for a short period of time,” said Billy Moore.

Billy is the son of Archie Moore, another one of boxing’s greatest champions who was Ali’s first professional trainer. You see, before Muhammad Ali was The Greatest of All Time … or even before he was Muhammad Ali … he was Cassius Clay, an Olympic champion as a light-heavyweight.

Clay’s professional career started outside San Diego, in the hills of Ramona, where he went to train with Archie Moore. He even lived with the family for a time. From the very beginning it was obvious to Billy Moore that his new housemate was special.

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