The Champ's Camp: A Closer Look at Fighter's Heaven

Some Friendly Advice

A black and white photograph of Muhammad Ali demonstrating the Ali Shuffle while Gene Kilroy watches from the background.

Newspaper clipping courtesty of the Lancaster New Era, January 27, 1972.

Some Friendly Advice

One member of the entourage that was particularly unimpressed with the condition of the Fifth Street Gym was Gene Kilroy--Muhammad Ali's friend, agent, and business advisor.

Kilroy previously worked in marketing for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, a media company in the United States, before quitting his job to work with Ali during his exile from boxing. While he was unable to box, Ali needed a way to make money, and Gene Kilroy was the person to help him. He scheduled college lecture tours for Ali, got him into a few commercials and other business ventures, and took him to an accounting firm to teach him how to handle his money and pay his taxes. Once Ali was allowed to box again, Kilroy stuck around as an advisor and facilitator. 

According to Angelo Dundee, Muhammad's longtime trainer and co-owner of the Fifth Street Gym, Gene Kilroy walked in one day in the spring of 1972, took a look around at the gym, and joked that even termites would call it junk food. He then had an idea--what if Ali opened his own training camp?

Ali liked this idea, and Kilroy liked that it could also be a tax write-off for the boxer. Now, they just had to find a place to build it. Before long, they found themselves in Eastern Pennsylvania where Gene Kilroy had grown up.

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