Ali's Former Training Camp Headed for Auction
DEER LAKE, Pa. (AP) - July 1, 2007 -- Muhammad Ali's former training camp, opened in 1972 as he tried to rebound from a loss to Joe Frazier in the "Fight of the Century, is headed for auction.
The 18-building complex in rural Schuylkill County is set to go up for sale Monday on eBay and will be up for bid for 30 days, according to George Dillman, a former Ali sparring partner who bought the camp from him ten years ago.
After building the log cabin-style gym in 1972, Ali then built cabins for his wife, parents and sparring partners, as well as a mosque for daily worship. He trained there until his last fight against Trevor Berbick in 1981.
In the 1970s, Ali also trained there for the legendary "Rumble in the Jungle" with George Foreman and the "Thrilla in Manilla" rematch with Frazier.
The complex drew numerous celebrities during that time, including sports analyst Howard Cosell, Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol and Elvis Presley. Mike Tyson also trained there and Dillman said Sylvester Stallone once holed up at the camp to write "Rocky."
"It was the place to go," Dillman said. "The celebrities went there to be seen."
Dillman, 65, said he bought the camp from Ali for $100,000 in 1997 and has since put $500,000 into renovations.
After buying it from Ali, Dillman and his wife turned the complex into a boxing-themed bed and breakfast geared toward anglers, kayakers, skiers, hunters and others drawn to the rural part of eastern Pennsylvania.
The decision to sell the camp was linked to a divorce settlement, said Dillman, who says he has only fond memories of his time there.
"I was there when it was built, when every log was put in place," he recalled. "I used to sit around the fireplace and chat with Ali, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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