The Regal Hotel is long gone and the 5th Street Gym is no longer on 5th Street, but a vivid memory of the new champion remains.

He was known as Cassius Clay at the time and if I’m not mistaken, he was 18 years old. I was 12, temporarily living at The Regal until my mother could find an apartment for us.

The old hotel in Miami Beach stood on the corner just across the street from the old 5th Street Gym, which was in the lower level of a building with an entrance between several street-level retail stores. Almost every day, an entourage would arrive at the gym and there he was. How exciting it was to go down into the gym and watch this new phenom sparring. It’s one my few really pleasurable memories from childhood.

And now he’s gone. The world is losing a lot of great people lately but they leave magnificent things for us, don’t they?