The never-built dream home
During his visit to Bangladesh over 38 years ago, Muhammad Ali was gifted a piece of land in Cox's Bazar by a local. The overwhelmed boxer had then reacted by saying he would like to make a dream home there one day. He said he had now a home to come to in case he ever was banished from his native land.
But that dream home never became a reality.
Ali, considered the greatest heavyweight in the history of boxing, spent just a few hours in Cox's Bazar during his brief stay in Bangladesh in 1978 but won people's hearts instantly.
On his arrival in the district on February 22 that year, thousands of locals gave him a boisterous reception at the airport and took him to the Cox's Bazar Hilltop Circuit House. The three-time heavyweight champion had his lunch at Parjatan Corporation's Sagarika Restaurant.
At the restaurant, Akhtar Newaz Khan Babul, a freedom fighter and son of a local landlord, met Ali and told him that he would like to gift him a bigha of land at Kolatoli beach.
Ali happily agreed and told Babul that he would build a bungalow there but at a convenient time.
Talking to this correspondent yesterday, Babul, who now lives at Gulshan in the capital, said the land could not be handed over to Ali instantly due to some legal complications as the legendary boxer was a foreigner.
After Ali was given Bangladeshi citizenship, Babul contacted him several times throughout the later years to hand over the land's possession.
But every time, Ali would tell him that he would make the house at a convenient time.
Babul, now 66, said recently, a high school has been built on that land.