Hundreds gather for Baby Jake memorial

Boxing fans, politicians, former champions and administrators gather to say farewell to Baby Jake.

Jacob 'Baby Jake' Matlala was remembered by the sporting community at a memorial service held at Nasrec Arena in Johannesburg. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - South African sports fans paid tribute to boxing champion Jacob 'Baby Jake' Matlala at the Nasrec Arena in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Matlala passed away in hospital on Saturday following complications linked to pneumonia.

It was an emotional week for South Africans following former president Nelson Mandela's death.

Hundreds of fans, politicians, former boxing champions and administrators came out to pay their last respects to Matlala.

Boxing legend Brian Mitchell says Matlala touched everyone in his life.

"Jake was not just a legend in the ring, he was a legend outside the ring as well."

One fan, a resident of Matlala's home town of Dube in Soweto, arrived wearing a pair of boxing gloves around his neck.

He struggled to hold back the tears when a video of Baby Jake's greatest achievements was shown.

Matlala, famously remembered for giving Mandela his championship belt after his last fight in 2002, will be laid to rest on Friday morning in Johannesburg.

More people are expected to attend Baby Jake Matlala's memorial to be held at Nasrec Arena on 11 December 2013. Picture: Marc Lewis.

Preparations are underway ahead of Baby Jake Matlala's memorial to be held at Nasrec Arena, south of Johannaburg on 11 December 2013. Picture: Marc Lewis/EWN.