Ali makes a comeback to Charlottesville

It's been at least two decades since Muhammad Ali last called Virginia home, but tonight, for at least one night, "The Greatest" was back in Charlottesville. Here to visit his longtime friend and attorney Ron Tweel, the three-time Heavyweight Champion of the World and his wife Lonnie stopped into new restaurant Maya on West Main to have dinner. The champ and his wife were accompanied by Tweel's family, including son-in-law Christian Kelly, chef and co-owner of the restaurant.

Before their private meal, Ali, clad in a blue UVA polo shirt, posed for pictures with an excited Maya staff (click on the thumbnail at left to see their smiling faces). Due to his Parkinson's Disease, Ali did not speak to any of the assembled, but did flash his trademark, wide-eyed stare at one point during the photo shoot, to the amusement of all who saw it.

Ali once owned property in Nelson County in the mid-to-late '80s and could sometimes be seen around Charlottesville, even having a bite to eat (or maybe just shuffling papers) on the Downtown Mall. Presently, the 66-year-old boxing legend lives in the Phoenix area.

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3 comments

Yep, Ali was a Downtown Mall Rat! Just stop by Chaps Ice Cream and ask Uncle Tony to see Ali's autograph. For the most possible fun, stop by between noon and 1. When it's REALLY busy. Nothing brings Tony joy more than people coming in to chat during lunch. Tell him Big Al sent you!

could there be a more pathetic photo? look how the geek spawn wait-staff is lined up asymmetrically in the flying v formation as if they were posing for an italian wedding photo on the steps of the rotunda. the poor man has parkinson's disease and you sit there with your stupid grinds and mock him as if he's some poor tribal totem at a bad mayan ruin/tourist trap. spare the king some dignity please. jesus...some people.

Ali is my number 1 hero, bar none, and has been for 45 years.