Share this article

“It Scared Him”: Years After His Death, Muhammad Ali’s Daughter Reveals Real Reason Boxing Legend Used to Carry a Matchbox in His Pocket

Published 05/12/2023, 1:50 PM EDT

Follow Us

via Getty

It’s hard to imagine a boxer who stood up to some of the most fearsome names of his time would be scared of anything or anyone. But it seems Muhammad Ali did have his fears, as his daughter shared recently in an interview. Nevertheless, the legend’s stature eventually rose above the sport in his lifetime. He was the hope to millions who strove against injustice.

America’s Favorite Video Today

Born to Muhammad Ali and his second wife, Belinda Boyd (later Khalilah Ali), Rasheda Ali is an actress and author. Her book, ‘I’ll Hold Your Hand So You Won’t Fall: A Child’s Guide to Parkinson’s Disease,’ had a foreword written by the greatest ever. Married to restaurateur and businessman Bob Walsh, she also wrote and hosted the talk show, ‘In My Corner with Rasheeda Ali.’

Muhammad Ali, the fears of a humble human


Article continues below this ad

The mother of boxer Nico Ali Walsh and mixed martial artist Baggio Ali Walsh gave an interview with Youcef Hollywood a few days ago. Their talks took off from Muhammad Ali as a person and boxer. They discussed Parkinson’s, which afflicted her father, and her charity works, such as the anti-violence campaign. Finally, with three to five minutes remaining, Youcef Hollywood wanted to know one particular detail about Muhammad Ali. He said, “He seemed someone who’s quite Fearless, but uh, did he? Was there anything really not [necessary] to do with boxing, just anything that he might have been really afraid [of]?”

Rasheda Ali responded, “Yeah, my dad would have. He would say read the Quran to him so we would read about hell, and he’d go, ah it scared him um because he [he] wanted to make it to ‘Jannat’ he wanted to make it to heaven, and you know Hell Fire scares you when you read about it in any in any religious book you’re like I don’t want to go there.


3.5k readers Last 30 min

Get instantly notified of the hottest Boxing stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us


Article continues below this ad

Then she told him how he went about with a match in his pocket. He did it to light a match and hold a finger against the fire to experience ‘Hellfire.’ She said, “But my dad used to walk around with a match in his pocket. Yeah he would walk around with a match and say, oh my God, if I’ve struck this match and and held it to my finger that’s how I felt how Hellfire feels.

Rasheda Ali continued that since he was in the world of sports, there were a lot of distractions and temptations. Hence the practice helped him remind that he never deviated from the right path. According to her, Muhammad Ali spoke a lot about the afterlife post-retirement from boxing. Undoubtedly, it establishes the humility with which Muhammad Ali treated his existence.

Providing feedback will help us make your experience better.

The Fan's Perspective

Enjoyed Your Read? Let us know how likely you are to recommend EssentiallySports to your friends!

Least Likely

Most Likely


Article continues below this ad

Which is your favorite Muhammad Ali fight? Do share your views and opinions with us in the comments below.

Watch This Story: Popular Boxing Personalities Who Share Their Birthdays With Muhammad Ali: Jake Paul, Oleksandr Usyk, and More



Jaideep R Unnithan

876 articles

Jaideep Unnithan is a Boxing writer at EssentiallySports. With over 400 articles authored at ES, Jaideep has built a reputation for diving deep into stories and producing detailed reports. Jaideep's passion for the sport of boxing was ignited when his father shared his experience of watching Ali vs Frazier live in the US.

Edited By: Arijit Saha