Ali's neighbor and childhood friend watching the crowds - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ali's neighbor and childhood friend watching the crowds

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Muhammad Ali's death has attracted thousands of people to his hometown.

One of the most popular attractions in the city this week is Ali's childhood home.

One of the neighbors, who watched Ali grow up, is now watching as people from around the world come to see where the legend started.

"I was born right there at 3228 Grand," said Lawrence Montgomery, Ali's childhood friend.

For the last 30 plus years Montgomery has had the best seat in the house.

He said, "I never would have thought anything like this would go on after Muhammad passed."

Montgomery grew up next door to Muhammad Ali, was a childhood friend and now lives across the street from The Champ's boyhood home.

"I am just amazed at the reception that they're getting around here."

From the front porch of his home on Grand Avenue in west Louisville, Montgomery has watched as people from around the world come to pay their respects to "The Greatest."

"They're coming from all over, there were some people here the other day, I think they said they were from Germany."

Montgomery was not only a neighbor but a close friend, who even accompanied Ali to the White House.

Ali left Louisville years ago, but always stopped by to see his old friend.

"He used to knock on my door at 2 o'clock in the morning, waking us up."

That's why the local, national and international media are calling and coming nonstop.

"I've had interviews from Australia, London, England."

And even fans are stopping by with questions.

"He said, 'Do you really know Muhammad?' I said, 'Sure I know him. I knew him when he was a baby.'"

In fact, Montgomery has dozens of pictures of Ali, including one from 1945 when the champ was three years old.

Meanwhile, Montgomery says he will still be watching on Friday when a procession carries Ali's casket through the city and past his childhood one last time.

He said, "I asked the mayor, I said, 'I'd like the hearse to stop right in front of Muhammad's house and we have a moment of silence.'"

Montgomery says despite the large crowds, everyone has been very respectful and there have been no issues.

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