There are conflicting reports this morning about the health of boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

Some reports are saying he is in critical condition, near death. His family is denying the reports.

Ali was certainly one of my boyhood heroes. He was truly the "World Champ."

Growing up in the `60s and `70s, times were different than they are today. There was no ESPN, no all-sports radio. There was barely cable TV --- that was for people that lived in the middle of nowhere.

We got 5 maybe 6 channels on TV. Live sporting events were very limited. Most of your TV sports news was viewed on your local TV newscast - or on weekend highlight shows, including "This Week in Baseball", and "The Wide World of Sports."

While baseball, football, and basketball were popular, so were sports like tennis, golf, and boxing. In those days, the names from the tennis world were well known: Connors, Borg, McEnroe, and Lendl and Nastase. I can't name two tennis players today.

Golf had Nicklaus, Palmer, Trevino, and more. Golf today has Tiger Woods....and, everybody else.

Boxing was big when I was growing up. Muhammad Ali was the World Heavyweight Champ - and, everyone knew it. You always knew when he was fighting, and who he was fighting. Today, I have no idea who the champ is --- and there are probably two or three of them, thanks to splits in the boxing world.

Ali was a character, known for his mouth as much as his fist. His interviews were always entertaining - particularly those with Howard Cosell.

Today, I wish good things to the man who "floated like a butterfly, and stung like a bee."  Muhammad Ali, you helped shape my childhood. Thank you..