Muhammad Ali's Son Falls On Hard Times
INSIDE EDITION found a guy that does a dead-on impression of Muhammad Ali. That is because he is Muhammad Ali Jr. He's the only biological son of the boxer known forever as "The Greatest."
Believe it or not, Muhammad Ali Jr. says he's all but broke, collecting food stamps and living in a scruffy apartment in a grim neighborhood of Chicago.
INSIDE EDITION’s Les Trent asked, “Having that name, has it been a blessing or a curse?”
“Both,” he said.
Muhammad Ali was 30 years old and King of the Ring when his then-wife, Belinda, gave birth to their son.
Growing up, Muhammad Jr. says his father was often away from home, training or defending his World Heavyweight title. But the champ did teach his son his trademark magic tricks, tricks that Muhammad Jr. can still perform to this day.
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While Muhammad Jr.'s half-sister, Laila Ali, grew up to carve out a career as a successful TV personality, Muhammad Jr. was not as lucky. He once worked for UPS. but has since fallen on hard times. At age 41, he's out of work, with two daughters of his own.
Now, Muhammad Ali Jr., the son of arguably the most famous and influential sports figure in the world, gets by doing odd jobs for his neighbors, like shoveling them out of snow.
He says he collects $189 in food stamps.
Trent said to Muhammad Jr.'s wife, Shaakira, "A lot of people might say, 'He is a grown man, he has got to fend for himself.'"
She said, "That is true. He is trying."
Muhammad Ali is said to be worth $80 million. So why is his son pleading poverty? Muhammad Jr. claims his father's current wife, Lonnie, is keeping them apart. He said the only way he can see his dad is by making an appointment. They have spoken on the phone.
He said, “I asked my stepmother, 'Why don't you let my father come out here to see me.' [She said] 'I don't want him to see you living like you do.' I was like, 'Why not, maybe he'd help me.'"
Muhammad Jr. says his father is still lucid, despite having advanced Parkinson’s Disease.
Trent asked, “If you could get a message out there to your father, what would you say?”
He said, “I love you and I hope you come and see me one day.”
Lonnie Ali tells us Muhammad Jr.'s allegations are false, adding he has visited his father on many occasions and has been helped financially.