Khalilah Camacho Ali has hinted at a looming battle over the fortune of her late ex-husband, boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
The boxer’s ex-wife spoke out on Saturday, just hours after Muhammad Ali died in a hospital outside Phoenix following a brief stay for a respiratory emergency. Speaking to Radar Online, Khalilah Camacho Ali claimed that Muhammad Ali’s brother, Rahman, and his son, Muhammad Jr., were cut out of the will at the request of his current wife, Lonnie.
As Radar Online reported, Lonnie may have been making plans to gain control over Ali’s fortune for years.
“Lonnie, who had been Muhammad’s childhood friend, became his fourth wife in 1986 — two years after he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Critics say that Lonnie had plotted her way into his life by moving to an apartment near his home, and offering her services as a nurse shortly after his symptoms began. He was still married to his third wife, Veronica, at the time, although Lonnie’s supporters insist that ex-model Veronica was not the nursing type.”
That could lead to a major battle over the late Ali’s fortune. His net worth is estimated at anywhere from $50 million to $80 million, and has a number of priceless items including a gold medal from the 1960 Rome Games.
It is not clear if Camacho Ali herself would play a role in the battle over Ali’s fortune, as the two have been divorced for more than four decades.
Khalilah Camacho Ali herself played an important role in Muhammad Ali’s life and his career. Though the couple divorced in 1977, their time together included some of Ali’s career-defining fights.
Camacho Ali was in Ali’s corner for his bouts against Joe Frazier and George Foreman in the early 1970s, keeping a close relationship with Ali’s staff, including trainer Angelo Dundee.
“Angelo was never interested in just making money off Ali,” Khalilah told the Miami New Times. “He could have easily sold out Ali, but he truly cared and had compassion for all of his boxers. He went far and beyond for Ali. He was like family.”
Though their relationship ended more than 40 years before his death, Khalilah Camacho Ali remained close to Muhammad Ali and revealed some of the struggles he faced with the spotlight. In early 2014, Camacho Ali spoke about the boxer’s early life for a PBS documentary.
“See, you guys don’t realize Ali wasn’t the great Muhammad Ali as he is now. He was going in that direction. He was struggling in that direction. He was struggling with people taking everything from him and I was the only thing that held everything together. You know, I kind of guided him along the way, and it was it was a wonderful struggle, and it was tough for him. He was depressed most of the time. He was unhappy, didn’t know what the hell was going to happen to him. So I had to give him that positiveness, that positive ‘Hey, you can have a family. We can do this together. I could write the speeches, and you could speak the speeches, and we’ll become a people’s champ.”
The marriage to Khalilah Camacho Ali actually covered most of the major events of Muhammad Ali’s life, both inside the ring and outside. They were married for his decision to avoid the Vietnam War draft that led his boxing title to be taken away. The couple was also together for his 1974 heavyweight win over George Foreman.
[Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images]