On Saturday, Sept. 15, 2020, on the eve of the centennial of his great-grandfather’s death, more than one hundred one people – including legendary boxer Muhammad Ali – waved hands and breathed life into a convention room full of the people that made his boxing career and celebrity so legendary.
Muhammad Ali was the hardest-working man in the world when he was successful and also the hardest-working man in the boxing business at all. The hotel where the event was held was a strip club with a boxing ring in the middle of a cavernous room. Ali had left there at 1:42 a.m. when he agreed to give up his involvement in a deal to distribute a film about the 73-year-old fighter. At 11 a.m., there was a gigantic celebration underway.
For some, a recent end to the bookend of a five-year promotion of the book by its author is a tribute to the “five years of war,” as Ali described it, during which he said he had to take time away from the sport of boxing and his business affairs.
Nico, the grandson of Muhammad Ali, was honored at the convention as his father, Cassius Clay, Jr., shared stories about his grandfather’s accomplishments. Nico is a track and field student at Virginia Tech, a part-time running coach and a waiter at a downtown Atlanta hotel. His parents met at a refugee camp in Kenya in 1986, soon after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In April of this year, Nico Ali Walsh became the youngest boxer to ever represent New Jersey in the New York State Youth Boxing Championship.
In May, Nico won the National Golden Gloves in the 85-pound division. Some four years later, he will follow in his father’s footsteps by enrolling at the University of Virginia in the fall of 2020 to pursue a degree in communications and future sports.