Ali salutes Obama at inaugural soiree

WASHINGTON – “The Greatest” saluted the nation’s first black president at an inaugural soiree.

WASHINGTON – “The Greatest” saluted the nation’s first Black president at an inaugural soiree.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali, celebrating his 67th birthday, was the guest of honor at a party for 1,400 that included other celebrities, lawmakers and native Kentuckians.

Ali will be sitting on the platform Tuesday when Barack Obama is sworn in as the nation’s first Black president. And when that happens, Ali’s wife predicts, a torch will have been passed.

“He wouldn’t have missed this for the world,” Lonnie Ali said after Monday night’s Bluegrass Ball, a celebration of her husband’s 67th birthday. Kentucky is the family’s home state.

Muhammad Ali carried the dreams of a generation during his prime as an athlete, and later as a humanitarian.

“What’s interesting is that Muhammad had time to grow into his role as being a world humanitarian,” Lonnie Ali said. Obama on the other hand “will inherit the world on his shoulders, not just the U.S. And it is a much heavier burden than I think Muhammad had to face.

“But I think (Obama’s) his shoulders are broad,” she added. “He and Muhammad are really made of the same fabric.”


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