Muhammad Ali’s ex-wife claims the champion was insecure and envied Elvis Presley

Ali’s ex-wife, Khalilah, said the two were such close friends of Elvis that she even gave Ali a custom robe that read “The People’s Choice” after he beat Joe Bugner.

The two legends met in 1973 when Elvis Presley demonstrated his karate moves to Muhammad Ali

He was revered as the king of the ring after becoming the greatest heavyweight boxing champion the world has ever seen, with his courage and intelligence that made him an inspiration.

But behind closed doors, even Muhammad Ali suffered from bouts of insecurities – and his appearance was unfavorably compared to that of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. The champion’s ex-wife told how he secretly envied the singer for being “prettier”.

Despite his physical prowess, Ali also considered Brazilian football legend Pele a “real athlete”. He was in awe of the Beatles, becoming obsessed with their mop hairstyles. In a rare sharing of his way of thinking, his second wife, Khalila, recalls: “Mohamed loved Elvis. “Elvis is really beautiful,” he told me. People love him because all women love him – he’s so beautiful. “I’m not as beautiful as Elvis and he attracts all the women out of nowhere.”

Elvis fits the robe he gave Ali

The two stars were close friends in the years before Presley’s death at the age of 42 in 1977, with Ali dubbing himself the “Elvis of boxing.” Presley gave the boxer a bejeweled robe with the words “The People’s Choice” instead of “The People’s Champion” wrongly written on it before his victory over Britain’s Joe Bogner in 1973. “Whenever Muhammad and I were with Elvis, he would go with Elvis,” Khalilah, 73, adds. Always humble, like Muhammad, he loves giving and helping others.

“Sometimes, when people are that great or popular, they have arrogance and conceit, but Elvis and Muhammad weren’t like that. “He used to play his records all the time. He was fond of the Beatles and was very fascinated by their hairstyles. “He was pulling their hair up.”

The legend Pele with Ali in 1999(Bongarts/Getty Images)

Khalila, who married the boxer in 1967, when he was 25 and she was 17, also tells of Ali’s admiration for Brazilian striker Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, as a fellow black man at the top of his sport. Pele is known for winning the World Cup three times with Brazil, while Ali has won the world heavyweight title three times, with a professional record of 56 wins, 37 by knockout, and five losses.

Khalila, mother of four of Ali’s nine children, recalls: “In 1975, Mohamed and I went to Cairo in Egypt and discovered that Pele was performing at a concert at the Nile Stadium. He was absolutely amazing. Mohamed couldn’t believe it and said to me: ‘This man is a real athlete. “When we were there on the field, the crowd exploded and saw two black men at the top of their sport admiring each other. “It was amazing to see that connection. They loved each other and smiled with so much joy and love.

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