Muhammad Ali’s condition not so dire, his daughters say

In January, Muhammad Ali Jr. said there was “no chance” his father would live through the end of 2014. Earlier this month, Muhammad Ali’s brother, Rahman, said the former three-time heavyweight champion of the world could barely speak and was too sick to travel to Los Angeles for the premiere of the documentary I Am Ali.

But upon the 40th anniversary of “The Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire, where Ali knocked out George Foreman on Oct. 30, 1974, three of his daughters say there’s no reason to think the 72-year-old is on the ropes.

“My uncle Rahman, who doesn’t see my father often and who is not well informed about Parkinson’s disease, misspoke about my father’s health,” Maryum Ali told USA TODAY Sports.

Hana Ali said she calls her father every morning, reaches him two or three times a week and that although the progression of Parkinson’s disease has compromised his ability to speak and walk, his overall health is good. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 30 years ago.

“He doesn’t mind the press talking about him dying,” she said. “Sometimes he looks at me and he’ll go, ‘I’m not dying.'”

Ali was scheduled to appear at private events Thursday in Louisville to celebrate the anniversary of “The Rumble in the Jungle.” But a spokesman for Ali said the legendary boxer is granting no interviews and would have no public comment.

Speculation about his health flared anew on Oct. 8 when he missed the opening of I Am Ali. Hana Ali said her father couldn’t make it because of his involvement with the 2nd Annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards, held Sept. 27 in Louisville.

Ali has homes in Louisville, Michigan and Scottsdale, Ariz., where he spends most of his time.

“The last time I talked to my Dad, he was joking again about making a comeback,” said Hana, adding that Ali is at his best in the mornings. “He said, ‘I’m going to take my title back for the fourth time.’ Whenever I hear him joking like that, it makes me feel good. He’s still in there.

“His spirit is so amazing. It’s that same spirit that won that fight (in Zaire).”

Rasheda Ali, another one of his seven daughters, said she spoke to her father a few days ago. They used FaceTime on her phone that allowed her to see his expressions.

“He looked good, really good. He sounded really good,” she said. “I hear from a lot of concerned people who just want to know how he’s doing. I just want people to know that when they watched him on television, even in the days when he was Cassius Clay in the ’60s, my dad is that same person.

“He’s funny. He likes to tell jokes. He likes to play with people. He likes to laugh. He’s the same person that everybody remembers him as. It’s just harder for him to communicate because of the Parkinson’s.”

Ralph de Chabert, chair of the advisory board for the Muhammad Ali Center, said Ali remains active with the center, a six-story, $80 million museum that opened in 2005.

“Muhammad is doing pretty well,” de Chabert said. “Any struggle with Parkinson’s is always a challenge and there are gradations and I’m sure he has good, better and best days. He’s still very much with us and we’re pleased that he can get involved in things like the Humanitarian Awards.”

While Ali occasionally visits the center, Hana Ali said her father’s favorite activity is watching films of himself in his prime.

“He’s his own biggest fan,” she said. “The world thinks they love him, he loves him. And I think because of condition of how he is now, looking at himself, he’s mesmerized. His eyes light up. He watches himself like he’s a little boy outside of Muhammad Ali’s own body.

“There are times sometimes when I close my eyes and cry. Not because I’m looking at him, but because I’m watching how he used to be and I wish he could have lived the life where he was just 100% healthy.

“But then I remember my father’s peace and where he is with himself. He’s at peace and he’s not in pain. He always says, ‘It could be a lot worse. I don’t have cancer, I don’t have Alzheimer’s. I’m with the people I love. I can deal with this, I’m OK.’ “

Source: MSN Sports

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top