MILWAUKEE -- One of Milwaukee's boxing greats has passed away. Eddie "Bossman" Brooks threw punches with the best of them, but his family is taking the biggest hit after such a loss.
Brooks recalled the time he knocked down Muhammad Ali in 2016, when FOX6 spoke with him as he cherished memories after one of the world's greatest boxers passed away. Now, a year later, he's being remembered himself.
"The whole neighborhood was crazy about him. He was the friendliest person," Renee French, Brooks' niece said.
To his family, Brooks was a gentle giant, but to the public, he was revered for being a champion boxer in Wisconsin.
"The whole neighborhood knew him," French said.
He sparred with the best.
"To name a few, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman. He worked with all of the best and traveled the world," French said.
He was heavy-hitting in the ring, but mild-mannered and caring outside of it.
"He was a father-figure in the neighborhood," Sterling Daniels, Brooks' nephew said.
He was renowned in the boxing industry, and also spent more than 30 years in the military. His niece and nephew said he influenced his community in many ways.
"Worked in youth programs. Trained a lot of the young boxers," French said.
"He really taught us a lot about integrity, principles, morals," Daniels said.
Despite suffering from dementia and passing away after a seizure and heart issues, loved ones said Brooks showed strength and perseverance during his last moments of life.
"All the way to the end, he was just a fighter," French said.
His niece and nephew said they now hope his legacy and values hit hard with the next generation.
"Give yourself the best you've got and respect one another. Whatever dreams you have, give it everything you've got," French said.
There will be a visitation for Brooks Monday, July 24th. He'll be laid to rest on Tuesday. Services will be held at Williamson Funeral Home.