Keith Thurman Reflects, Gives His Thoughts on Muhammad Ali

By Ryan Burton

On June 3rd, Muhammad Ali passed away after a long battle with Parkinson's disease and respiratory ailments.  The former three-time heavyweight champion who many feel is the greatest ever to lace up a pair of gloves was thought of as the most recognizable athlete in the world at the time of his death. 

Ali is one of the few, if only, elite athletes whose accomplishments outside of the sports world likely overshadow his legendary career.

On Tuesday afternoon caught up with WBA welterweight champion Keith "One Time" Thurman (26-0) who faces Shawn Porter (26-1) on June 26th in a highly anticipated showdown that will be televised on CBS to get his thoughts on the revolutionary Ali, who has influenced many athletes and non-athletes alike.

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"I try not to get too sad over death because it is a natural process of life. It is like seeing tails on the side of a coin - you have heads and you have tails - you have life and you have death. When one passes I normally go into reflection on what type of life that person lead.

"Muhammad Ali man, he lived an extraordinary life. To grow up in the time that he did, the generation that he did, to be an Olympian, to be a superstar athlete and then to be, really, somebody who really opened up the doors for all of sports entertainment. Athletes weren't getting paid the way that Muhammad Ali was getting paid back then. He really excited the American people. He was extraordinary to watch but his charisma and the way he would talk and give his interviews.  Muhammad Ali was a part of that generation that went from hearing the fight on the radio to watching it on black and white TV.

"It was just extraordinary, everything he did from changing his name to boycotting the war. He was somebody that definitely belongs in the history books. Somebody to remember. He is definitely an icon for me and an icon for many in the sport of boxing. Muhammad Ali was really, outside of being a tremendous entertainer and performer, a great person. RIP to Muhammad Ali and thank you for all that you did for everyone," Thurman told

Send questions or comments to [email protected]. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ringsidewriter

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