The Greatest — Even in Heaven

Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali – one of the world’s greatest sporting figures – has died at the age of 74.

The former world heavyweight champion died late on Friday at a hospital in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, having been admitted on Thursday.

He had been suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.

Ali’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, said his family.

Tributes for the heavyweight great have been pouring in from across the world.

“Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it,” said US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.

Former President Bill Clinton – husband of Democratic frontrunner Hillary – said the boxer had been “courageous in the ring, inspiring to the young, compassionate to those in need, and strong and good-humoured in bearing the burden of his own health challenges“.

Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that Ali was “truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all!

George Foreman, who lost his world title to Ali in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” fight in Kinshasa in 1974, called him one of the greatest human beings he had ever met.

American civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson said Ali had been willing to sacrifice the crown and money for his principles when he refused to serve in the Vietnam war.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Ali shot to fame by winning light-heavyweight gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Nicknamed “The Greatest“, the American beat Sonny Liston in 1964 to win his first world title and became the first boxer to capture a world heavyweight title on three separate occasions.

He eventually retired in 1981, having won 56 of his 61 fights.

Ali's Stats

Crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC, Ali was noted for his pre- and post-fight talk and bold fight predictions just as much as his boxing skills inside the ring.

But he was also a civil rights campaigner and poet who transcended the bounds of sport, race and nationality.

Asked how he would like to be remembered, he once said: “As a man who never sold out his people. But if that’s too much, then just a good boxer.

“I won’t even mind if you don’t mention how pretty I was.”


Here are 10 of his virtues and wisdom thoughts in his own words:

1. It’s not the action that makes a thing right or wrong, but the purpose behind the action.

I know that I constantly encourage my readers to take action. But it goes deeper than that. We must take ‘right’ action motivated by a purpose greater than ourselves. It must be a purpose designed to help others and to make for a better world.

If our purpose is selfish, its longevity will be unsustainable, but if it is given as an act of generosity, then who knows what power is emitted by such action?

2. We have one life; it soon will be past; what we do for God is all that will last.

You and I have been created for a divine purpose. Have you discovered what yours is?

This is not a question about religion, but rather about a responsibility we have as humans while planted here on planet earth.

Find your purpose. Fulfill your purpose. And while you’re at it check in with the boss to make certain you’re not trying to fill someone else’s shoes. Nothing worse than getting to the end of your life not fulfilling your calling and applying your potential.

3. I would have been the world’s greatest at whatever I did. If I were a garbage man, I’d be the world’s greatest garbage man! I’d pick up more garbage and faster than anyone has ever seen. To tell you the truth, I would have been the greatest at whatever I’d done!

If you’re going to do anything – be the greatest. Don’t be satisfied with second best. Go first class. Put 100% effort into everything you do. Don’t be slap dash. Add excellence as your secret ingredient to every task you undertake. Don’t remain a follower. Determine to be a leader.

4. To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich.

I see myself as a channel through which flows the riches that overflow in the direction of my life.

I am not a dam, nor a blocked aqueduct. I am a river – a steward of the wealth that I attract, and then dispense as directed by my heart. Therein lies a rich life.

5. I don’t have to be what anyone else wants me to be. I am free to be who I want to be.

To be me is to be free. Break all chains that seek to entangle you – whether it be parental expectations, organizational demands or societies conformities. You are unique, and in order to operate in that uniqueness you must resist conformity if you are to truly embrace your destiny.

6. Love is a net that catches hearts like a fish.

Let love do its powerful work within you. Love draws. Love attracts. Love builds. Love heals. Love captivates.

Love is the magnet that will pull the very best that life has to offer into your world, while at the same time act as a beacon of light and heat that will warm the hearts of generations.

7. I am riding on my horse of hope, holding in my hand the rein of courage. Dressed in the armor of patience, with the helmet of endurance on my head, I started out on my journey to the land of love.

Each of us is on a journey filled with hope – and to that hope attach courage, patience and endurance, and it will lead you to the land of love. Add faith to that combination – faith in yourself, faith in your creator, and faith in the universal law that states that as you sow in love you will reap love.

8. It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.

Take time to pause a moment in order to remove any pebbles you may have picked up along the way. These can take the form of small bad habits, seeds of unforgiveness, lack of discipline, secret fears, or even devious doubts.

Pull aside, even for a moment. Address them. Deal with them. Destroy them. For many a mountaineer has fallen to their death because of an unaddressed pebble. Deal with the pebbles in your life decisively, and you will conquer many more mountaintops.

9. Wisdom is knowing when you can’t be wise.

We are human. We cannot know everything. We cannot be good at everything, for we have strengths and we have weaknesses. If you do not have the wisdom in a certain area of your life then seek out the wise and make them your friends. Together we can become all wise and all knowing.

10. Old age is just a record of one’s whole life.

What does your record look like thus far? Every day you and I breathe we are writing the next page that will be included in the volume called, ‘My life’.

Within its record will be scribbles, mistakes, smudges, scratchings, all mixed up with moments of great joy, eloquence, sadness, wisdom and folly. But by the time we reach the last page – may it end with the words, ‘I have lived a full and fulfilled life – read and learn from my mistakes – and for the rest of the success story contained – there went I, but by the grace of God.’

About Deepak Devanand

Seeker of knowledge
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