Muhammad Ali is truly the world’s champion and throughout his life, he displayed the mindset of a great champion. Through his entire career and his entire life, he has had no regrets. He has only had gratitude, empathy, accountability, and effective communication. Since Muhammad Ali was a child, he called himself “The Greatest”, being grateful for the wondrous abilities that were bestowed upon him. His gratitude shifted his perspective, which made all of his past pleasant, his present happy, and his future even brighter, regardless of the victories or losses he experienced throughout his career and life.
Ali viewed his experience as successive events, which meant there were no successes or failures. They were all just events that led him to where he was, the three-time world heavyweight champion.
The thing that I admire most about Muhammad Ali is that he never changed his principles. The world changed around him. He never quit when he was stripped of his title due to his refusal to be drafted into the Army. He wasn’t a draft-dodger. He stayed in the United States and stood steadfast in his beliefs, as the world changed around him.
He always kept pushing to be a true champion and the greatest boxer the world has ever seen. At the age of 22, Muhammad Ali became the youngest boxer to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston, even fighting through blinding pain in his eyes in the fourth and fifth rounds, which was thought to be from an ointment used by the opposing corner. The man himself said it best, “Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”
Through thick and thin, Muhammad Ali represented the United States, as well as the world, in a position of peace as a civil rights leader. Even in the tumultuous times after 9/11, he took the position of the peaceful Muslim who only wanted to improve the world around him. He has been known to say that dreams are extremely powerful and that a man who has no imagination has no dreams. Many of today’s athletes have envisioned their own success and when they have a conscious dream, it changes it from a possibility to a probability. Muhammad Ali was able to draw upon his inspiration and make his dream his perspective, an example we should all strive to follow.
Rest in peace, Champ.
By: David Meltzer