The movie “The Greatest” which came out in 1977 is one of the few times in movie history where the star of the movie is playing himself in a Biography. Another example of this would be Audie Murphy in the movie “To Hell and Back”, which came out in 1955. Few athletes in the history of the world have been more worthy of a movie about their careers than Muhammed Ali who died a few days ago at age 74 after a long hard 32 year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
One could wonder that if there were such a thing as a deal with the devil than would there be a better example of this than the life of Muhammed Ali? Born very poor in Louisville Kentucky in 1942 and looking up at a life of hardship and poverty, Muhammed Ali was born with not only great boxing skills and great speed for his size, but also good looks and a very likable and humorous personality. Were it not for all of these miracle skills, Ali would have had a very depressing and meager life in poverty. Instead, he obtained worldwide fame, great wealth and did a great deal for world peace, race relations and speaking out against a horrible and unjust Vietnam War. Along with all of this was that the price he paid for all of the positive aspects of his life that came from boxing were enormous. 32 years ago, mostly due to his too many years of boxing and getting hit in the head, Ali developed Parkinson’s disease which was so severe he shaked constantly and could barely speak for most of the remainder of his life. One could ask themselves if they were given a great gift for half their life would they agree to pay for this with a severe disease for the remainder of their life? Many would say no to this, thinking that health is the most important thing and shaking like Muhammed did along with being unable to speak and so many other physical problems would never be worth all the positive things that Ali was given in the fist half of his life. Others would say that all the good Ali did with his great boxing skills, great speeches, traveling the entire world and his appearances and charitable contributions that helped so many people would be worth all the suffering he had to endure. I am very sure that Muhammed would not change a thing in his life and consider it all worthwhile no matter how long and hard he suffered.
Fans of Ali were all hoping that he would retire after the 1974 Foreman fight when he was at the very peak of his career or definitely after the final fight with Joe Frasier in 1975 or definitely after he lost to a greatly inferior fighter Leon Spinx or even Ken Norton. But Ali would not quit fighting in time to save himself and it was the fight he had with Larry Holmes in 1980 that showed he was long past his prime and the head injuries he suffered during that fight could have been when the tide turned and he developed severe Parkinson’s disease 4 years later. Amazingly Ali did fight one more time, losing to an average fighter named Trever Berbick in the Bahamas in 1981 when he had no more reflexes and already was showing some signs of Parkinsons. So what gave Ali great fame and fortune is ultimately what killed him, which is why his life was very much like a deal with the devil.
Ali was much more of a person and legend than boxing will ever be and unfortunately he didn’t realize this fact enough to save his own life. He will be very sorely missed by everyone in the world.