Stick N Move founder reflects on the life of Muhammad Ali
When Antwoine Dorm was young, he enjoyed the theater and excitement of watching Muhammad Ali.
“He was one of them people that you hated, that you also loved,” he said.
Ali — "The Greatest" — died Friday night after being admitted to a Phoenix hospital, where he was being treated for a respiratory illness. He was 74.
Ali had suffered from Parkinson's disease for more than four decades.
Dorm said early on, he saw Ali as a bit of a "villain" character, like someone you would see in professional wrestling.
But when Dorm, founder of Stick N Move Boxing in York City, was older, he began to truly appreciate Ali and his philosophy of life.
Ali won and defended the heavyweight championship in epic fights in exotic locations, spoke loudly on behalf of blacks and famously refused to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War because of his Muslim beliefs.
“Our style of boxing is kind of patterned after him,” Dorm said, adding that Ali's boxing style of "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" is something he has brought to Stick N Move.
The Stick N Move mascot is a bee.
Impact: Dorm said he could talk about Ali for hours.
He said he liked the way Ali boxed, dodging most hits and then landing them: “He did more of the hitting and he didn't get hit,” Dorm said.
“He was sharper than a lot of other heavyweights,” he said.
Dorm's son, 11-year-old Antwoine Jr., boxes, and he said he models his boxing movements after Ali's. He said he has watched clips of Ali's fights.
“I like how he could predict when he could knock somebody out,” Antwoine Jr. said.
“I also liked when (Joe) Frazier knocked him down and (injured) his jaw," he said. "He got right back up.”
Antwoine Jr. said he wants to bring that type of attitude into the ring when he boxes.
With a wit as sharp as the punches he used to “whup” opponents, Ali dominated sports for two decades before time and Parkinson’s disease, triggered by thousands of blows to the head, ravaged his magnificent body, muted his majestic voice and ended his storied career in 1981.
Despite his debilitating illness, he traveled the world to rapturous receptions even after his once-bellowing voice was quieted and he was left to communicate with a wink or a weak smile.
Death: Dorm learned of Ali's death on Saturday. He knew Ali had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for a long time, so Ali's death did not surprise him.
“It wasn’t a sad thing," Dorm said. "It’s kind of like, 'good, he doesn’t have to suffer.'”
Antwoine Jr. was not aware of Ali's Parkinson's disease, so Ali's death came as a surprise to him.
“His mouth dropped; he couldn’t believe it,” Dorm said.
In addition to Ali's boxing impact, Dorm noted Ali's stance on the Vietnam War as being "huge." When Ali was drafted during the war, he refused to enlist on the grounds that he was a Muslim minister. He was convicted of draft evasion and banned from boxing for three years before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1971.
"He was willing to lose everything to stick to his beliefs," Dorm said. "That's what I liked about him."
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at@YDDornblaser.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.