“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”
There’s an emptiness inside me; a void… created by the departure of the world’s greatest… He wasn’t just the greatest boxer that ever lived, he was also a good man; he had a kind heart.
Muhammad Ali has indeed left his footprints in the sands of time. Few people have had considerable influence over the life of so many, for me he was a role model, a big source of inspiration. I grew up hearing his stories, how he declared himself the world’s greatest, even when he wasn’t, but later lived up to his name. Ali was proof that when you set your mind to something, and keep at it, keep persevering like the running water that cuts through the rock slowly but surely, you can achieve that thing, nothing was out of bounds for him, nothing was impossible.
Ali conquered the world. He gave us great moments too…
From the 1960 Olympic gold medal win, which started off his career, to the 1974 “rumble in the jungle” against George Foreman, there was never a dull moment with Ali, from the chat shows, guest interviews, in his days he won matches even before stepping into the ring, something similar to how Jose Mourinho operates in football, he bragged about how good he was, but he was good indeed…I think I know where Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets his inspiration from.
Ali was full of life, yet he was a man at peace with himself, a man with connection to the divine, the world has truly lost a legend. But we are at ease, knowing that he was a fulfilled man, in all ramifications…
“Champions are not made in the gym, champions are made from something they have deep inside them, a desire, a dream, a vision…”
Ali was not without controversies though, as any human in the spotlight would find out, wanted or not, and in his days he wasn’t the type of man to not talk about his achievements, the self acclaimed ‘world’s greatest’ after his match with Sonny Liston in ’64, where ever Ali went controversy followed, from changing his name from Cassius Clay to Cassius X, then adopting the name Mohammed Ali.
He also had strong affiliations with the Nation of Islam, which on several occasions he made known to the public, although later in life he converted to mainstream Sunni Islam. Then he refused conscription into the U.S. army in 1967 for the war in Viet Nam, he was in open rebellion against the war, and that curtailed his career for 4 years, his prime years some called it…
He came back to the fight of the century against Joe Frazier….which he lost, but came back to record a remarkable win in the rematch. And so many other wins followed, eventually earning him a place in the boxing hall of fame, in which he defeated 7 other members of the hall of fame…. incredible?…no, it’s Ali!
I’m not a die hard fan of boxing myself, but watching clips of Ali, I could see why he was so good, his ability to adapt to fights made him stand out, and of course he was always the man to flaunt it.
“It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am”
But Ali was more than the man we knew in the ring, he was a lot more than that, he inspired people, a good humanitarian, he once went to speak to Saddam Hussein to secure the release of 15 American hostages, he was never short of love to give…
In his later days, when the effects of past events had taken its toll, he kept on being strong, showing to the whole world that strength lies deep within, he battled with Parkinson’s disease for quite a number of years, but was always ready to give humanitarian service where needed…not everyone can talk a man out of jumping off a building.
His close friend George Foreman, against whom he fought arguably the greatest match of his career, describes him as not just the greatest boxer, but a great man, a beautiful man…
For me, Ali is an embodiment of the phrase “believe in yourself!” Even when everybody thinks you can’t, you have to think you can. Be willing to take risks, experiment, explore, achieve….don’t count the days, make the days count!
He will always remain with us in our hearts
“He floats like a butterfly
Now he’s gone with the wind….”
Rest in peace Muhammad Ali
Greatest Of All Time.
January 17 1942 – June 3 2016.