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Baltimore TV legend recalls bout with Ali

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Posted at 12:25 AM, Jun 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-11 00:25:39-04
Muhammad Ali was man who could, of course, talk trash with the best of them. His fights were historic, with names like "The Thrilla in Manilla," or "The Rumble in the Jungle." One of them is lesser known than the others, and happened right in Baltimore.
 
As a member of the general assembly, Curt Anderson is used to going a few rounds with political opponent, but as spirited as those bouts may be, they are nothing like the time Anderson went toe-to-toe with The Greatest."
 
"I wasn't scared; I was anxious," Anderson said of the experience.
 
It was 1978 and Ali was in Baltimore promoting the opening of a mosque. Back then, Del. Curt Anderson was known as tv news reporter Curt Anderson, which included a sting at WMAR-TV. He jumped at the chance, once presented, to get into the ring with Ali.
 
And that set-off the "Uproar in Baltimore." 
 
"We didn't bring boxing gloves or shorts. What TV reporter has boxing gloves? So I get to wear a pair of Muhammad Ali's shorts, and a pair of his boxing gloves," said Anderson. "Now, Ali had specific things he wanted to happen. He wanted the crowd to be entertained, so he would give us directions, but it was through his mouth piece, so it was hard to hear him."
 
"I'm not a fighter. I have watched fights. I knew how to put my hands up and dance around a little bit, so that's what I did."
 
Anderson said he was required to sign an affidavit prior to the fight saying we wouldn't try to "hurt" Ali.
 
All of my punches were just 'fake' punches," he said. After Ali countered with a powerful right hand, which he said caused the boxers glove to go through his mouth guard and hit him in the nose.
 
"And then I realized I was in the ring with Muhammad Ali," Anderson said.
 
He said he takes the experience with him, as Ali's legacy touches those in the world of boxing, and beyond.
 
"You walk into the ring with a man that they call the greatest. You can talk to him, you can joke with him," said Anderson.
 
"Everything he did, from when he grew up in poverty, to becoming who he was as the world's most renowned person, he did knowing that he had a purpose. Ever since then, I've tried to conduct my life the same way."
 
Muhammad Ali was buried today in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. He was was 74-years-old.