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.
SOURCE: Josh Peter
USA TODAY Sports