“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” – Muhammad Ali
A few years ago, I had a personal trainer who incorporated boxing into my training regimen. During that time I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could about the champ. He was an amazing fighter and a true all-around champion. I will probably mourn his passing by watching The Greatest with my son. I also plan to light a candle for him, while watching one of my all time favorite interviews. It is a conversational style interview with Nikki Giovanni.
He was the greatest, it wasn’t because he won more than 50 boxing matches during his career, or because he was the first boxer to ever win the heavyweight title 3 times. Muhammad Ali’s actions outside of the ring made him the greatest.
Beyond Boxing; here are 3 things that made Muhammad Ali the greatest:
First, he was a man of principal and peace.
“I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong,” Muhammad Ali reasoned as he refused to be inducted into the armed forces via the draft on April 28, 1967. He was was found guilty of draft evasion,and sentenced to five years in prison, fined $10,000 and banned from boxing for three years. Later that year he appealed the conviction and it was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Second, Muhammad Ali was unapologetically Black. Check out why he changed his name from Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. and exactly how he felt about white supremacy here:
Third, Muhammad Ali was a philanthropist
“I’ve always wanted to be more than just a boxer. More than just the three-time heavyweight champion. I wanted to use my fame, and this face that everyone knows so well, to help uplift and inspire people around the world.”
He is responsible for serving 232 million meals in order to counteract world hunger. He even hand delivered food and medical supplies overseas to places like Cote D’Ivoire, Indonesia, Mexico and Morocco for hungry and sick children. In the U.S., Muhammad Ali started his own non-profit to join the fight against Parkinson’s disease by creating the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center. Unfortunately the Champ was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984. He worked with other great organizations such as the Special Olympics and the Make A Wish Foundation.
Finally, Muhammad Ali had an inspiring confidence. He was pretty, and he knew it. His electrifying presence made it hard not to love him. May he rest in power.
What is your favorite quote from the Champ?