Here’s why Muhammad Ali couldn’t box in Chicago

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CHICAGO -- Harmene Hartman, publisher of N’digo newspaper, discussed Muhammad Ali’s contribution to the city with WGN Morning News Thursday.

N’digo honored Ali in 2005 at the N’digo Gala by presenting him with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I thought it was important that he be recognized in his second home city," Hartman said.

As part of his achievements, Ali started a scholarship to help send students to school.

“His criteria [for the scholarship] was ‘Go find bad boys from the West Side and tell them Ali is sending then to school.'” Hartman recalled.

The publisher said that even though he was a fighter, he refused to go to the Army when he was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War.

“It’s a poetic irony. Here is the heavy weight champion who says, 'I will not fight, I will not shoot and kill people,'” Hartman said.

Also, he was unable to box in Chicago. When he applied to fight he was denied because the name he signed, Muhammad Ali, was not seen as his real name. Cassius Marcellus Clay was Ali's name before he converted to Islam and changed it.

Even with his popularity, Hartman still describes Ali as a “regular guy.”

“He attracted people and people attracted him.” Hartman said.

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