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Muhammad Ali’s childhood home is for sale in Kentucky after being converted into a museum

The pink house where Muhammad Ali grew up and dreamed of boxing fame is for sale

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The pink house where Muhammad Ali grew up dreaming of boxing fame — and where hundreds of fans gathered for an emotional farewell as his funeral procession passed decades later — is for sale.

The two-bedroom, one-bathroom home in Louisville was converted into a museum offering a glimpse into the early years of the boxing champion and humanitarian known around the world as The Greatest. The home went on the market Tuesday along with two neighboring homes — one converted into a welcome center gift shop and the other intended as a short-term rental.

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

“This is part of Americana,” said Bochetto, a Philadelphia attorney and former Pennsylvania boxing commissioner. “This is part of our history. And it should be treated and respected as such.”

The museum opened for tours shortly before Ali’s death in 2016. Bochetto and his then-business partner renovated the frame house to what it looked like when Ali – then known as Cassius Clay – lived there with his parents and younger brother.

“You walk into this house … you go back to 1955, and you’re right in the middle of the Clay family home,” Bochetto told The Associated Press during a 2016 interview.

Using old photos, the developers replicated the home’s furnishings, appliances, artwork, and even the pink exterior from when Ali lived there. The museum featured videos focused on the story of Ali’s upbringing, not his legendary boxing career.

“To me, that’s the bigger story and the most important story,” Bochetto said in an interview last week.

Ali started boxing after his bicycle was stolen. Wanting to report the crime, 12-year-old Ali was introduced to Joe Martin, a police officer who also served as a boxing coach at a local gym. Ali told Martin that he wanted to hit the perpetrator. The thief was never found, nor was the bike, but Ali became a regular at Martin’s gym.

Ali lived in the house when he left for the 1960 Olympics. He returned as a gold medalist and launched a career that made him one of the world’s most recognizable figures as a three-time heavyweight boxing champion and globetrotting humanitarian.

The house became a global focal point on the day of Ali’s funeral, when hundreds of people lined the street in front of the house as his hearse and funeral procession slowly passed by.

Despite its high-profile debut, the museum ran into financial trouble and closed less than two years after opening. The museum is in a west Louisville neighborhood several miles from downtown, where the Muhammad Ali Center preserves his humanitarian and boxing legacies.

As efforts to reopen the children’s museum languished, offers to move the 1,111-square-foot home to Las Vegas, Philadelphia and even Saudi Arabia were rejected, Bochetto said.

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

Las Vegas real estate investor Jared Weiss bought the Ali childhood home — then dilapidated and vacant — for $70,000 in 2012 with plans to restore it. Three years later, Weiss formed a partnership with Bochetto, who acquired a half interest in the project. Both were avid fans of Ali and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the restoration project. They also bought the two neighboring houses, financed a documentary, subsidized museum activities and incurred costs for all three properties. Weiss has since passed away and his wife is a co-owner of the project, Bochetto said.

Now Bochetto says he hopes they will find a buyer with the “marketing and operational know-how” to make the museum a success.

“I want to make sure it continues this way and never goes back to where it was abandoned or dilapidated,” he said. “That should never have happened.”