Louisville plumber meets Muhammad Ali after knocking on door - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville plumber meets Muhammad Ali after knocking on door

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Tony Kelly, a local plumber, with Muhammad Ali Tony Kelly, a local plumber, with Muhammad Ali

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville plumber decided to knock on Muhammad Ali's door near Prospect, but never imagined he would actually meet "The Greatest" himself.

"I was working at a house. It was just a normal day at work and guys were joking around with me telling me how Muhammad Ali lived next door and I didn't really believe them at the start," said plumber Tony Kelly

But the plumber, who is a huge Muhammad Ali fan, decided to call his friends' bluff and knocked on the door Friday, Jan. 17. He didn't realize Ali really does live at the home.

"Mr. Ali's wife, Yolanda, answered the door and I explained to her I was a fan from Ireland and she said Muhammad would love to meet an Irish fan," Kelly said. "He was unavailable, but she told me to come back in an hour's time."

So when Kelly returned to the house, the visit with "The Greatest" was more than he ever expected -- he didn't realize it was also Ali's 72nd birthday.

"He was just sitting there. I was star struck. It was just great to meet him. I shook his hand. He posed for a couple pictures with me. It's very cool," Kelly said.

And once Kelly posted a picture of the two of them on his Facebook page, his friends in Ireland starting sharing it and Kelly says the picture went viral.

"I didn't think much of it. I didn't think it would actually catch on the way it did," Kelly remarked.

Kelly is back at work installing plumbing in a basement renovation, but he'll never forget his encounter with the boxing legend.

"Just everything about him, his attitude and way it changed the sport. The guy is a legend and all the work he's done for humanity as well."

In addition to friends and family calling and contacting him after seeing the picture, Kelly is getting interview requests from radio stations and newspapers in Ireland.

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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