Local 10 employee's special Miami moment with Muhammad Ali
Shadowboxing with "The Greatest"
MIAMI – Meeting Muhammad Ali was one of the most memorable moments of my career covering sports.
And as far as a life moment, I dare say it ranks right up there with getting married and the birth of my one and only child - my pride and joy, my 4 year-old son.
The memorable meeting happened back in 2002 when I was working for one of the local stations in Miami.
My boss sent me to cover Friday Night Fights at the American Airlines Arena where Joel Casamayor was fighting.
I was sitting ringside when Muhammad Ali was unexpectedly announced and the crowd rose to its feet.
Ali walked by everyone at ringside and when he got to me, he stopped.
I was in awe.
Ali looked me up and down, sizing me up.
He bit his lip in that famous Ali way and in that soft spoken Ali voice of his told me, "you're a big one" - I'm 6'3" and at that time I weighed about 216.
Ali squared up to his boxing stance and proceeded to throw jabs and crosses at me.
I responded the only way possible, I squared up and proceeded to shadowbox with The Greatest.
There I was shadowboxing with Muhammad Ali as the crowd started to cheer.
Ali had picked out the biggest guy at ringside and decided to put on a show for the Miami crowd.
Ali, the Greatest Show on Earth, once again showing his impeccable sense of showmanship.
The shadowboxing session lasted for what felt like a full minute, although it was more like 20 to 30 seconds.
He tired of the shadowboxing show and continued to walk towards his seat.
I sat back down in my seat completely numb, yet immediately realizing that this moment would never and could never be topped.
I went on to anchor at ESPN from 2003 through 2007, during which I met some of the biggest names in sports and in Hollywood.
However, they all pale in comparison to the moment I shadowboxed with a living legend, with The Greatest, with Muhammad Ali.
When Ali's death was announced on Friday night I relived this moment as if it were just yesterday.
The memory so fresh in my mind. It brought a tear to my eye as my heart broke - the world had lost a true legend.
Don’t ask me to remember who won the actual fight in the ring that Friday night in 2002, for the only thing I recall is that one moment, that one brush with greatness.
To be honest, to this day, I still feel like the winner that night.
I still feel like a champ after shadowboxing with The Champ!
Kirk Gimenez is a Univesity of Miami graduate and sports producer at Local 10
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