The Monday Morning WHIP // 06

How do you become The Greatest in your chosen field? We know one thing’s for sure: you’re not born that way. So chill out and work hard – it really is the only way. Stan (http://branddna NULL.blogspot NULL.com/) has a story that will give this some context, because we know that sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of your goals without a little inspiration.

In 1967 Muhammad Ali was the heavyweight champion of the world. He was one of the most iconic figures of the sixties. Instantly recognisable to people from all walks of life, not just boxing fans.

And then all of a sudden he had his title stripped from him. He was suspended from boxing for three and a half years.

Ali had been drafted into the US army but refused to go. Is it any wonder?

As a black American he had suffered a great deal of racism and intolerance in his country of birth. So much so that he threw his gold medal from the Rome Olympics into a river in protest after being refused service at a whites only restaurant.

In 1971 he was given back his licence to box.

He took on then world champion Joe Frazier in what was billed as the Fight Of The Century. Sadly it wasn’t, with Ali suffering a humiliating loss after so many years out of the ring.

As you can imagine, people thought he was finished. Too old. Out of touch. No match for young bucks like Joe Frazier or Ken Norton.

Did Ali give up? Of course he didn’t. He took it, quite literally, on the chin.

He trained like he’d never trained before. He fought several challengers and up ‘n comers. And he battled on like this for three years.

Until he was ready.

Ready to reclaim what was rightfully his. What had been taken away from him seven years earlier by racist bureaucrats. The heavyweight championship of the world.

October 1974 saw Ali head to the African country of Zaire to take on Joe Frazier in what was billed as the Rumble In The Jungle.

He was the underdog. Nobody gave him a chance. The only person who believed in Muhammad Ali was Ali himself. And that self-belief drove him.

It helped him withstand seven rounds of furious punishment. It willed him on and on until he pulled off what is now regarded as the greatest upset in boxing history.

Self-belief. Passion. Hunger. These are qualities Muhammad Ali had in abundance. These are the qualities that made him The Greatest.

These are the qualities that will make you great too. If you have them that is.

Written by Junior
Originally posted on: 01/12/2008
Category: WHIP
Tagged: , , .
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