DEER LAKE, Pa. (AP) — The son of NFL Hall of Fame coach John Madden is buying Muhammad Ali’s former training camp in Pennsylvania.
The camp’s longtime owner, renowned martial arts instructor George Dillman, said he sold the rustic hilltop camp in Deer Lake to Mike Madden, with closing to take place Thursday afternoon.
The purchase price was not disclosed.
“It’s sinking in. I’ll be heartbroken, but it’s time to move on,” Dillman told The Associated Press.
Madden, a real estate developer, plans to preserve the buildings and memorabilia, according to Dillman, who said his son will manage a bed and breakfast and continue to run martial arts camps at the site.
A representative for Madden didn’t immediately return a phone call.
Ali who died last month, bought the wooded 5-acre tract in 1972 and installed 18 primarily log buildings, including a gym, a dining hall, a mosque, visitors cabins and a horse barn. He trained at Deer Lake until his last fight in 1981, using it to prepare for his major bouts against George Foreman and Joe Frazier.
The camp still looks much as it did in Ali’s day. His desk and typewriter occupy an office near the gym. The dining hall has the original stove and kitchen table. His footprints can be seen on the wood-planked ceilings — Ali had trod on them while the camp was under construction.
Ali sold it in 1997 to Dillman, who trained Ali and once operated it as the Butterfly & Bee Bed and Breakfast.
On Thursday, Dillman fondly recalled sparring with Ali and working with him on his foot positioning and hand speed.
“We took a karate back fist and converted it into an overhand right,” he said.
The Reading Eagle first reported the sale.
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