For me Ali was the synonym for Boxing. But I am not a Boxing Fan. I was not always like that, I used to enjoy such sports till I started feeling that two people hitting each other (even with a gloves) and bleeding is not entertainment. I know people might disagree and some even angry.
But after this thought creeped in I could never enjoy it or recognize with the crowd that cheer over another human being’s defeat from being hurt or wrecked from punches; though I was one of that crowd growing up. The health impacts are also not something people can ignore. I don’t think life should be beaten and bled for a sport.
I was born after Ali’s ‘the fight of the century’ with Frazier and as a Kid I still remember hearing about the Ali and Holmes fight in 1980 and some of the adults talking about it. They were genuinely sad with the outcome. I could not understand why because for me always the winner is the best and that is how I saw any match. But the reason I later learned was while Ali was all about boxing and he had been a winner in the rink and many opponents crumbled before him; his impact was much beyond Boxing.
He was part of a history that people spoke of and people loved talking again and again. He was part of a history that we too should tell our kids about. He was part of a dialogue of mind, even a kind of defiance that transcended national Borders and in the process inspired many people’s stance towards War in general. What ever be Ali’s reason and what ever be the urban legend quote that makes it’s rounds on internet and other media he took a stance he felt right.
For his stance he lost in my opinion the prime of his career from March 1967 to October 1970 from ages 25 to almost 29. And still he remains one of the greatest in the rink. Only the greatest can let his prime be sacrificed for what he thinks is the right thing to do. For me that is why I think he is the Greatest in and out of the Rink.
While Ali is a synonym for Boxing, I like to see Ali beyond the boxing rink. He made us all think beyond the rink