Belmonte saddened by Muhammad Ali’s death

MANILA — With the rest of the global community we are saddened by the passing of three time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from the United States, Muhammad Ali at the age of 74.

Although Cassius Marcellus Clay battled Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological disorder, for 32 years, he continued to be visible and played a role commenting on sports and political issues in the United States.

Filipinos will always remember him fondly for the “Thrilla in Manila” held Oct. 1, 1975 at our very own Araneta Coliseum in Cubao. It was also dubbed one of the greatest events in sports history — the third and final match between him and Joe Frazier which Ali won by TKO.

The Ali Mall in Cubao, which was the first multi-level mall, was built and named after him as a tribute to this great victory. Ali also had a soft spot in his heart for his Filipino followers.

Ali indeed lived up to his famous line that he was “The Greatest” and his legacy will surely live on in sports history. It is my hope that he, and other dedicated men of sports continue to inspire the youth worldwide to always persevere and reach for their dreams. PNA/