On Friday night, the world lost a natural treasure and icon in boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Although, I didn’t get to witness firsthand the impact he made worldwide; I do understand he was a great man, a great athlete and one-of-a-kind. When you think of boxing the first thing that comes to your mind is Muhammad Ali. He shaped the sport into what it is today: with his inexorable work ethic, pristine confidence and parsimonious ego.
His record was amazing. He was a three-time heavyweight champion and of his 61 total fights he was victorious in 56 of them. Furthermore, 37 of those wins came in knockout fashion…I guess he liked putting his opponents out of their misery. Even more impressive was his five career defeats. In addition, he won Olympic gold at the 1960 summer games. He was no doubt “The GREATEST.”
Outside of the ring he was carried himself with the same stubborn, confident charisma by standing up for what he believed in. He was arrested for draft evasion because he refused to kill anyone. Exceptionally noble, for he sacrificed his freedom and career for integrity; something that was hard to come by during that time period as black and white equality clashed at every turn. Ali spent five years in prison and forfeited three years of his boxing career. This shows you what you believe in does matter, just put your foot down and someone will eventually listen.
Ali was unfortunately diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, but he didn’t let that impede his fight. He continued to be a great humanitarian in 2002 when he went to Afghanistan and was the U.N messenger of peace. One of the many contributions he made to the world, despite his illness. For those selfless acts he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Presidential Citizens Medal.
As you can see, Muhammad Ali was much more than boxing; he enriched the world and made it a better place. Ali can be commemorated with several of his poignant quotes that stop and make you think.
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”
“I am the greatest; I said that even before I knew I was”
“Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer”