Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

‘Legend behind the legend’ will speak at culture festival

Sunday event spotlights ex-wife of Muhammad Ali

- By Barbara Corbellini Duarte Staff writer

For 10 years boxing champion Muhammad Ali shared his life with another fighter. His former wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, with whom he had four children, had a black belt in karate by the time she was 10.

“I might not be able to do what I did back in those days, but I can defend myself, OK? Just don’t walk behind me,” Camacho-Ali says. “It’s something that stays with you for the rest of your life.”

Camacho-Ali, 66, now resides in Deerfield Beach and will appear at the Hollywood Culture Festival on Sunday as the keynote speaker representi­ng Talent4Cha­nge. The local nonprofit organizes community events and programs to empower youth in underprivi­leged communitie­s. Camacho-Ali, who’s a founding board member, will also be selling and signing her coloring book, “Color to Learn.”

The free festival will feature food vendors, live music, dance shows and master classes in yoga, arts and crafts, martial arts and dance.

“She’s known as the legend behind the legend, being married to Muhammad Ali,” says Michael Carballo, founder of Talent4Cha­nge. “She’s very inspiring to the youth, especially to young women.”

Camacho-Ali says her 10-year marriage to the iconic boxer was like riding a roller coaster. They divorced in 1977.

“It was fun. Seventy-five percent of the time, it was positive,” Camacho-Ali says. “Even though Muhammad Ali and I are divorced, we still have four children. We’re still friends, and we keep it positive.”

Camacho-Ali says keeping things positive is her natural talent. The native of Chicago decided to learn karate because she was picked on at school, and by 14 she was already teaching karate to children in Muslim schools.

“I like to take a negative and turn it into a positive. It’s just something I do all the time,” she says. “Because I see how people talk and how they act, and a lot of people say one thing and do another. And if you speak enough positive around you, it catches on.”

Hollywood Culture Festival will take place 2 to 8 p.m .Sunday at Hollywood ArtsPark, 1 Young Circle. Free. Visit Sky18produ­­16

 ?? KHALILAH CAMACHO-ALI/COURTESY ?? Khalilah Camacho-Ali, former wife of boxer Muhammad Ali, will speak Sunday.
KHALILAH CAMACHO-ALI/COURTESY Khalilah Camacho-Ali, former wife of boxer Muhammad Ali, will speak Sunday.

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