Boxing legend Jimmy Ellis to be laid to rest Monday - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Boxing legend Jimmy Ellis to be laid to rest Monday

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Former heavyweight champion and Louisville boxing legend Jimmy Ellis will be laid to rest Monday. 

Ellis passed away early Tuesday morning at the age of 74. He grew up in Louisville and trained at Columbia Gym under Louisville police officer Joe Martin, best known for introducing Muhammad Ali to boxing. 

Ellis won the WBA world title in 1968 and retired in 1975. After his boxing career, he moved back to Louisville and worked for the Metro Parks department.

Ellis's funeral will be held Monday morning at Canaan Christian Church on Hikes Lane.

Last week, Muhammad Ali remembered his longtime friend as a "master in the ring."

"In the world of heavyweights, I have always thought that Jimmy was one of the best," Ali said in a statement in which he and his wife, Lonnie, expressed condolences.

Ali said his friendship with Ellis began as both rose through the ranks as amateurs in their hometown of Louisville.

"As a former champion, Jimmy was known for exceptional hand speed and a strong chin," Ali said.

Both fighters fought under the tutelage of Angelo Dundee. The great trainer often said that Ellis packed more punch than he was given credit for, Ali recalled. But Ali said Ellis' greatest qualities were his "gentle manner and the compassion in his heart."

"I had a kinship with Jimmy and felt like he and I were of the same cloth," Ali said. "He was a great athlete and a caring man. Great competitors who happen to be great friends are rare. Jimmy Ellis was that to me and I will miss him."

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