Ali's ex-wife chooses to remember the best of 'The Champ'
In 1960, the last thing Belinda Boyd expected as a 10-year-old was to marry a speaker who visited her school one day.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – In 1960, the last thing Belinda Boyd expected as a 10-year-old was to marry a speaker who visited her school one day.
But in 1967, that’s exactly what she did. And that speaker, was Muhammad Ali.
“He had just won the Olympics in Rome,” said Boyd, whose name is now Khalilah Camacho Ali. "He said ‘I'm going to be the heavyweight champion before I'm 21’ and said ‘get your autographs now.’”
She was 17 when they got married. Ultimately, they had four children together.
“I'm going to miss him being with us as a family,” she said.
The year they were married, Ali had his boxing license revoked for refusing to fight in the war in Vietnam. In 1970, Khaliah Ali was there when her husband got the call he had been waiting for for years.
“My favorite moment was when I was pregnant with our twins and he got that call that he could get his license back,” She said. “I think that was the most thrilling time of our lives. The look on his face -- shock and amazement at the same time -- it was unbelievable to see him happy again.”
There are all sorts of memories that have come flooding back this week for so many people throughout the world. For Ali, many of hers revolve around her children.
“I was a young girl and we kind of grew up together through life with the struggles and hardships and finally built a family,” she said. “When our son was first born, he fainted in the hospital. I thought he'd be running down the street yelling 'I have a son!' but he was in the recovery room with a concussion.”
In 1977, the two divorced and she was forced to watch the former heavyweight champion of the world be ravaged by Parkinson’s.
“To see him age like that and he can’t talk and he’s shaking -- that was the worst ever,” Boyd said. “It's hard to look at him like that now because you see the young pictures, this is the man I married.”
But she will choose to remember “The Greatest of All Time” as the energetic, young man she married all those years ago.
“We already know people love him and everything but to see and interact with people who love him is a joyous thing,” Boyd said. “He made his legacy and it will be here forever.”
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