GREENSBORO, N.C. -- At the Greater Greensboro Boxing Academy, the coaches love the sport and love Muhammad Ali.
They’ve had paintings of Ali at the gym hanging for years, for inspiration. They’re saddened at the boxing legend’s passing.
“It makes me want to coach even harder and talk about him more, tell people how great he was,” said Sharn Tolbert, a coach.
Coaches at the boxing academy say Ali was a humanitarian, broke racial barriers and was an epic fighter. They teach the young fighters who train at the center about the boxing legend.
“He was the man, im’ma tell you. I don`t care what nobody says,” said Richard Rivers, his son works out at the center. “It`s sad, but when you look at what he did for boxing and not only for boxing, it does nothing but make you happy.”
“We lost of course an icon and truly the greatest of all time,” said Walter Johnson, a boxing promoter who works with the center. “He transcended not only boxing, he also was a civil rights activist, he was a human rights activist, he was a guy who was loved and adored all over the world.”
Gary Harris, Clinical Trainer and Boxing Instructor says he grew up watching Ali fight.
“If anyone sees me fight or move around, everything, it’s from watching Ali,” Harris said. “Ali was everything to us. He was a role model.”