Muhammad Ali’s childhood home goes on sale

Muhammad Ali’s childhood home in Kentucky has gone on sale.

The two-bedroom, one-bathroom house in Louisville, Kentucky, was converted into a museum that offered a glimpse into the early years of “The Greatest” when he still went by the name of Cassius Clay.

It went on the market on Tuesday along with two neighbouring homes – one was turned into a welcome centre and gift shop while the other was meant to become a short-term rental.

The owners are asking for $1.5m (£1.1m) for the three properties. Finding a buyer willing to maintain Ali’s childhood home as a museum would be “the best possible result,” co-owner George Bochetto said.

“This is a part of Americana,” said Bochetto, a Philadelphia lawyer and former Pennsylvania state boxing commissioner.

“This is part of our history. And it needs to be treated and respected as such.”

The museum opened shortly before the boxer’s death in 2016.

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Heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali is seen, Jan. 1967. (AP Photo)
Muhammad Ali in 1967. Pic: AP

Bochetto and his business partner at the time renovated the frame house to how it looked when Ali lived there with his parents and younger brother.

“You walk into this house … you’re going back to 1955, and you’re going to be in the middle of the Clay family home,”
Bochetto said in a 2016 interview.

Using old photos, the developers replicated the furnishings, appliances, artwork and even its pink exterior from Ali’s days living there.

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The museum featured videos focused on the story of Ali’s upbringing, not his storied boxing career. “To me, that’s the bigger story and the more important story,” Bochetto said in an interview last week.

Ali lived in the home when he left for the 1960 Olympics in Rome, from which he returned a gold medal winner, launching a career that made him one of the world’s most recognisable faces and becoming a three-time heavyweight boxing champion.

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Despite its high-profile debut, the museum ran into financial troubles and closed less than two years after opening.

The museum is situated in a western Louisville neighbourhood several miles from downtown, where the Muhammad Ali Center preserves his humanitarian and boxing legacies.

As efforts to reopen the childhood museum languished, offers to move the 1,200-square-foot house to Las Vegas, Philadelphia and even Saudi Arabia were turned down, Bochetto said.

“I wouldn’t do that because it’s an important piece of Louisville history, Kentucky history and I think it needs to stay right where it is,” he said.

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