At the tender age of 17, Cincinnati native Larry Hodge knocked out Muhammad Ali in an amateur boxing match. Fifty-four years later, he now owns an autograph from his former, admirable opponent."To be a fighter, you have to give a 110 percent," said Hodge. "He gave a thousand."
Dedication and devotion brought Ali to Cincinnati. Visibly slowed by Parkinson's Disease, the champ came through to light the symbolic flame of freedom in the Monday night groundbreaking of the $110 million National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Before the night's festivities, Ali helped the Coca-Cola Company present a million dollar check to the project. As usual, the camera-friendly legend wasted no time working the crowd full of reporters and excited fans."He is always awed by the number of people who are anxious to see him and it warms his heart every time he sees it," said his wife, Lonnie. "I think it gives him purpose."