Local boxer remembers ‘idol’: Muhammad Ali

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s no secret Muhammad Ali made an impact on generations of Americans. Here at home, his death hits particularly hard for the local boxing community.

For Don Patterson, besides his parents, there is no person in this world he looked up to more then Ali.
Patterson said, “The first book I ever bought, had Muhammad Ali on the cover.”
Patterson, former boxer himself, is now a coach at the Northwest Buffalo Community Center.
He said, “This man spoke for himself, and he spoke his mind and he spoke for oppressed people.”
As a kid, after learning about Ali’s story, he asked his dad for a pair of gloves. But it was more then him being “the greatest” at boxing that led Ali to the ring.
Patterson said, “He represented so much more then boxing. His place in the world you know, Ali citizen of the world.”
The first time he met Ali, he was nervous. He was afraid he wouldn’t be the guy he thought he was.
He said, “When I got up to him, I hugged him, I embraced him, he embraced me back, he put his fist on my jaw and it was a moment I will never forget.”
He was able to meet Ali several times over the years. That time is something Patterson said is something he’ll always be thankful for.
He said, “I was a little kid out of Queens, New York who idolized him.”
He says he takes lessons from Ali with him everyday, particularly teaching boxing to kids.
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