The son of boxing champion Muhammad Ali has accused the millionaire’s wife of refusing to let him see his ailing father.
Muhammad Ali Junior, 41, who says he is forced to survive on food stamps in a rough Chicago neighbourhood, last saw his father on his 71st birthday a year ago.
But as the legendary boxer turned 72 on January 17, Muhammad Ali Junior claims he couldn’t even get through on the phone to wish him a happy birthday.
He alleges his father’s fourth wife of 27 years, Lonnie, has made it increasingly difficult for him to see or even speak to the retired sportsman who is in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease.
Ongoing family feud: Muhammad Ali Junior, 41, pictured left, claims he has been stopped from seeing his boxing champion father, pictured right in 2009, by his fourth wife Lonnie
‘Controlling’: Lonnie, pictured with husband Muhammad Ali in 2012, has been accused of preventing members of the the boxer’s family from seeing or even speaking to him
He says more than anything he wants to see his father before he dies.
The boxer had nine children in total – seven daughter, Muhammad Ali Junior and Asaad, 22, who he adopted with Lonnie.
Muhammad Ali Junior, who lives in a tiny two bedroom flat with his wife Shaakira and two daughters Ameera, six, and Shakera, five, says he has repeatedly tried to contact his father on the phone but doesn’t have the money to make the trip to his Kentucky mansion.
He told The Sun On Sunday: ‘As soon as he married Lonnie, that’s when the problems started. We can’t see him any more. He can’t see his own brother because of Lonnie.
‘I tried calling him on his birthday but go no answer. When I call, they usually say he’s in the shower, sleeping or in therapy, and to call back.
Muhammad Ali Jnr claims he tried to contact his father, pictured in 2010, on his birthday earlier this month but he couldn’t get through. He alleges that the boxer’s fourth wife Lonnie never allows him to speak to his father
Act of kindness: Lonnie Ali’s supporters insist she is merely defending her husband from family members who wish to leech off his fame
‘When I do they don’t answer. I shouldn’t need an appointment to to see my father.’
Muhammad Ali Junior, who was born in 1972 to the boxer’s second wife 17-year-old Belinda Boyd, believes Lonnie may have cut him out because he is unemployed and doesn’t own a house or a car.
The father-of-two says he has been trying to find a job but few people are hiring so he now shovels snow off his neighbours driveway just to make a few dollars to feed his family.
He believes his father would help him with his current financial situation if he were still coherent, but says that is no longer the case.
But he insists he doesn’t care about his father’s money, he just wants to be allowed back into his life and to spend as much time together as possible in the time he has left.
Those who have defended Lonnie claim she is protecting Muhammad Ali from family members who want to sponge off his fame.
Son: Muhammad Ali Junior was born in 1972 to the boxer’s second wife 17-year-old Belinda Boyd
Showman: Muhammad Ali, seen in the ring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1974, was unfaithful to his wives
Glamour: Ali with third wife Veronica, who the boxer declared was ‘the world’s most beautiful black woman’