CRAWFORD | Ali punches back via Twitter: 'I am the greatest' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Ali punches back via Twitter: 'I am the greatest'

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Archival Ali photo via Muhammad Ali Twitter account. Archival Ali photo via Muhammad Ali Twitter account.
Muhammad Ali Tweet Muhammad Ali Tweet
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Muhammad Ali's voice has fallen silent for most of us. Only a few friends and family are privileged to be a part of the morning conversations when he's clear and relaxed, before another day of battling the effects of Parkinson's Disease have taken their toll.

Most of the public statements that come out now are through his family, or through official statements. And there's a Twitter account run by Ali's people.

Still, he's the object of great public interest, and an anticipated prize fight on Saturday has him back in the headlines again.

Last fall, I spoke with a couple of Ali's daughters and a longtime friend and business manager, Gene Kilroy. I lamented the state of affairs in the nation and world, and remarked that this would be a wonderful time to have Ali's voice back among us.

His word carries a great deal of weight in the Muslim world, and in the American world. It's certain he would have something to say about events in Ferguson, Mo., or Baltimore. It's a good bet he would have a response to violence in the Middle East.

That's when Hana Ali and her sister, Maryum “May May” Ali, reminded me that they still get to hear “the greatest.”

“His voice is not completely gone,” Hana Ali said. “The world doesn't hear it, but mornings, I call my father, and you'd be surprised. As the day progresses, and this is more or less the way Parkinson's works, in the morning he's renewed, and you can hear him clearly. He talks just like this (softening her voice) 'How you doing? What's going on?' You can hear him. So, it's beautiful, every morning I'll call him, and maybe three mornings a week I'll reach him, and give him updates of what's going on. So my father, you know, even when we go visit him and stay the weekend or whatever, we're up early, so we know we can get those first few hours, where he's fresh and alert.

“. . . What happens is, people love him so much, they see him late in the day and he's tired, and he doesn't look as good,” Hana Ali went on. “But when you get him at home and he's still and at peace, he's just still and his eyes are open and he looks better. I'm always, 'I wish the world could just see this.'”

Ali is back in the headlines lately because of the upcoming welterweight bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. A prediction for the fight was mistakenly attributed to Ali, and was corrected.

Then Mayweather invoked his name in a teleconference with reporters last week.

“I feel like I have done just as much in the sport as Ali," Mayweather said. "It is hard for a guy to be like me, still sharp at 38. No disrespect to Ali, but I feel like I am the best. . . . "Ali lost in his career to Leon Spinks. He lost some other fights and is still known as the greatest. That is what it is."

Later, when his comments stirred criticism, Mayweather said he didn't care.

On Tuesday, the Ali Twitter account counterpunched, shooting back: “Don't you forget, I am the greatest!"

Only seven words, but picked up by news outlets and wire services all over the world over the past eight hours.

May May Ali said she thinks her father would be active in world events if not slowed by Parkinson's.

“If my dad did not have Parkinson's, he would definitely be a social activist, talking about issues, engaged in policy,” she said. “And I think he definitely would be an Islamic imam at his own mosque, that he built from the ground up, for sure, no doubt. He would.”

Kilroy said he misses his friend every day, and agreed that he thinks Ali's voice would be valuable in the world today.

“You know, he was received by kings, queens, presidents,” Kilroy said. “Everybody loved him because he had that innocence of boyhood but still had the dignity of man. He wasn't a politician, he was just a real person. We need more real people in the world today, than the hustlers and liars. We need honesty. That's the only way we're going to exist in this world is honesty, without that, we're going to have problems all over.”

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