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'Louisville lip' comes home

other Updated: Jan 08, 2012 22:59 IST

AP
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Muhammad Ali is coming home to Louisville, Kentucky to celebrate another milestone; his 70th birthday.

The iconic heavyweight boxing champion - who was given the nickname 'Louisville lip' due to his brash pre-fight predictions - will bask in the limelight once again at a private birthday bash on the evening of Jan. 14 at the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville. Ali turns 70 on Jan. 17. The party will double as a fundraiser for the center. The complex also features a museum focusing on Ali's long career as a boxer, social activist and humanitarian.

"Louisville was the first to support Muhammad in his pursuit of gold," Lonnie Ali, the boxer's wife, said in a statement Saturday evening. "It is only fitting that Louisville and surrounding communities participate in this important celebration to mark his 70th birthday."

Ali Center spokeswoman Jeanie Kahnke said Saturday that Ali will be surrounded by old friends and people who made a difference in his life, including his longtime trainer Angelo Dundee. The party will feature a dinner, entertainment and speeches.

She described it as a "retrospective look and celebration" of Ali's life.

"It's significant for anyone to turn 70 years old," Kahnke said. "But for such a global icon, who has literally touched the lives of millions of people, it's a momentous event to celebrate."

Kahnke said that Muhammad and Lonnie Ali are looking forward to returning for the celebration. The Alis have a residence in Louisville but have recently been staying at their home in Arizona, she said. Ali retired from boxing in 1981 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984.