Muhammad Ali was in attendance for the Arizona-Louisville game on Saturday night — not that Wildcats coach Andy Lopez noticed.
Ali, a Louisville native who lives in Scottsdale, sat behind the Cardinals dugout and stayed for several innings. UA used a five-run third inning to take control, winning 16-4.
“I did not know that,” Lopez said when asked in the postgame press conference if he had been aware of Ali’s presence.
“I wish I had known that. … He was someone I really like to watch fight. He was unbelievable. My uncle was a lightweight champion of Mexico. One of cousins was a Golden Gloves champion. And I actually had a few boxing matches as a kid growing up. He was someone I admired in terms of his size and speed and his ability to take a punch.”
He connected that physical punch-taking to figurative punch-taking in baseball.
“I tell these guys all the time, you have to be able to take a punch. Even in baseball,” Lopez said. “If they score three, you have to be able to come back.”
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