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Las Vegas boxing legends remember their friend, Muhammad Ali

Posted: 8:32 PM, Jun 04, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-07 19:54:14Z
Las Vegas is home to some of the legends of boxing, who are now remembering the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali.
 
Joe Cortez, a Hall of Fame boxing referee, invited Earnie Shavers to his home Saturday, the day after Ali's death.

 
Shavers and Ali went 15 rounds in 1977, and a picture from the bout was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Ali had said Shavers was the hardest puncher he ever faced.
 
Shavers brought a framed copy of the Sports Illustrated cover to Cortez's home, which is like a museum to the sport of boxing.
 
The ex-fighter credits Ali for his entire career.
 
"He was good to me, I love Ali," Shavers said. "He changed my whole life. My family and I, we love him very much."
 
The great one's death came as a shock to Shavers, as it did to Cortez, who met Ali several times.
 
The two men spent the afternoon reminiscing and swapping Ali stories.
 
"He used to tell you, 'You want to see my jab? See how fast it is?'" Cortez said. "And the guy says [ok. Then Ali says] 'You want to see it again?' That's how fast it was."
 
The champ's presence is still felt every day inside Las Vegas boxing gyms. 
 
A large mural painting of him is on the outside wall of Johnny Tocco's Ringside Boxing Gym on Charleston Boulevard.
 
John Maynard Roberts painted it. He's coached young boxers for 25 years.
 
"There's only one Ali in a whole lifetime," Roberts said. "No heavyweight moved like Ali. None before, none since. He'd kill today's heavyweights."
 
But he didn't kill Shavers.
 
Shavers went the distance with the greatest of all time and Ali won by decision.
 
Now friends and the world are saying the difficult goodbye.
 
"Whether you're a fight fan or not, everybody knew who Muhammad Ali was," Cortez said. "May his soul rest in peace."
 
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH SHAVERS AND CORTEZ BELOW.

The Fremont Street Experience also honored Ali on its Viva Vision canopy Saturday night.