The greatest, prettiest, baddest, most courageous champion to ever walk the planet. But not champion in the same way that we discuss Michael Jordan’s six titles. No way.
Ali’s championship legacy is unrivaled, transcending boxing and sports.
When discussing his boxing career, in his own words he said,”It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.” And that he did, better than anyone else, a grand total of 56 times. And while he made a name for himself (twice) squaring up against opponents in a boxing ring, he was intentional about answering a greater calling; deliberate about serving a greater purpose. It was the fight against racism, injustice, Islamaphobia, war, and politics that were his greatest battles. The issues best championed.
As his morals and freedom were threatened, he counterpunched by yielding his faith in the face of antagonists. As swift as he was on foot, Ali never ran from controversy. He embraced it. Using his pretty, his wit, his intelligence, his charisma, his confidence, his power, his influence to spark a revolution. A movement of peace, self-love and Black pride.
“I need to be famous so I can talk about religion. I can talk about God. It’s an expensive price that I have to pay to be the most famous man on earth and I do it with pleasure only for God. My fight is only and introduction to the real fight, the one for God. Fighting by itself doesn’t interest me anymore. I want to help people, the black people and I need any kind of media to spread my thought: God, charity, peace.”- Muhammad Ali (Interview Magazine, 1977)
Rest well knowing victory is yours, champ.