Arthenia Joyner on Muhammad Ali: He 'never backed down'
Florida Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner of Tampa said she first met Muhammad Ali at a National Bar Association event in the early 1970 and later saw him fight at Madison Square Garden.
“As we mourn his passing, let us celebrate that legacy of the man who never backed down, who fought the good fight, for himself, and for so many others,'' she said Saturday. Here is her full statement:
“Asked at one time how he would like to be remembered, Ali reportedly answered: ‘As a man who never sold out his people. But if that's too much, then just a good boxer.’
“The world will remember him as both.
“I first met “The Greatest” in the early 70’s when he spoke at the annual convention of the National Bar Association. I saw him in the ring for the first time at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 1974. And I had the opportunity to watch his boxing prowess again the following year when he defeated Ron Lyle in Las Vegas.
“Throughout his career, the same courageous heart that carried him to win 56 of his 61 fights reached far beyond the ring. He was a civil rights hero who stood up for what he believed at a time when civil rights were not always championed, and even though, many times, he stood alone.
“As we mourn his passing, let us celebrate that legacy of the man who never backed down, who fought the good fight, for himself, and for so many others.”