Fort Worth Man Recalls Muhammad Ali Well Outside of Boxing Ring

In the wake of Muhammad Ali's passing, thousands of people are sharing their stories of meeting the famous boxer.

For one Fort Worth family, their story of spending time with Ali had nothing to do with boxing however.

"That's me, that's Ali, that's my mother," said Emmanuel Dotch, referring to a photograph from 1974.

In 1974, a year when Ali won the heavyweight title, he was passing through Mobile, Alabama and stopped to eat with an acquaintance of his driver. During the course of the meal he learned about Joseph Dotch, Emmanuel's father.
Joseph Dotch was a local leader in the civil rights movement, says his 74-year-old son, and he was in the hospital fighting cancer.

"He and my husband were friends," said Mable Dotch, now 100-years-old. "They had their get together, had nice conversations together."

"And we had breakfast with Ali and left and motorcaded with him to the hospital," Emmanuel Dotch said. "Daddy grabbed Ali's hands and said, 'man, how do you knock out a man with hands as soft as yours?' And he said, 'I hit them so fast the sting don't even stay in my hands.'"

The visit to the hospital was supposed to be brief, as Ali had a flight to catch.

However, when patients learned he was there, they came storming out of their rooms. Dotch says Ali told them to go back and he'd visit with each one and he did. He stayed for about three hours and delayed his flight.

"He had that much passion about somebody else, that he would spend that much time in a hospital, not only with my father, but all the sick patients that were in the hospital," Dotch said.

It's a memory Dotch has been reliving since Ali's passing a moment where he lived up to "The Greatest" nickname.

"I'm going to miss him, I know the family is going to miss him," Dotch said.

Dotch passed along his condolences to the Ali family. His younger brother is attending the funeral services in Louisville.

Dotch also met Ali in 1964 when he was trying to become a professional bowler in California.

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