Former heavyweight contender Ron Lyle, who fought Muhammad Ali for the title in 1975 and later battled George Foreman, died in Denver November 26 at the age 70.
Saturday, more than 300 friends and family members attended the memorial service.
Lyle ended his boxing career with an impressive record of 43 wins and 7 losses.
But before all the glory, life wasn't easy for Lyle.
He was a troubled teen and was convicted of second degree murder in connection with a gang fight.
He ended up serving seven years in the Canon City Prison.
In recent years, Lyle coached underprivileged kids at the Cox-Lyle Boxing Program at the Salvation Army Red Shield Center in the Whittier-Five Points neighborhood, near where he grew up.
"We learned a lot. Not just about boxing, but life from him," says Jason King, one of Lyle's students.
"He used to always say 'keep your hands up and elbows in and keep your head moving the whole time.' He showed me so much. I give everything to him," says King.
The Cox-Lyle Boxing Program started in 2002.
"He loved people. He loved kids," says long time friend and program partner Bob Cox.
"He meant a lot to a lot of people. His memory is going to carry on," says Cox.
"He's like a second dad to me. It's unfortunate he's gone. We just kind of feel lost here without him. We just stay strong [because] that's what he would want us to do," says King.
In February, Lyle was inducted into the Golden Gloves Hall of Fame.
On November 26, Lyle passed away from complications during stomach surgery.
He died at age 70.
Lyle's funeral will be held Tuesday at the Macedonia Baptist Church in Denver at 11 a.m.
If you would like to make a donation, visit the Red Shield Community Center at 2915
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