The Greatest – written by John Baumann

As Muhammad Ali was (in)famous for saying, “I am the Greatest.” Pretty bold statement from definitely a bold individual. And he did not limit it to boxing.

As to being born “the greatest,” I imagine that he would have said that he had the raw talent inside him, but he definitely needed to learn the skill of boxing.

Ali fought in the amateur ranks for 105 fights (100 – 5). He had paid the price as an amateur including a gold medal at the Olympics.

Even though he was only fighting his 16th professional bout, he “shocked the world” by beating Sonny Liston. In the Liston fight, it is well documented that someone from Liston’s corner put a foreign substance on his gloves that transferred into Ali’s eyes so that he could not see. Ali’s corner would not give up, but, instead, told Ali to feel his way around and use his instincts. Liston had a powerful punch. Ali, unbelievably, lasted the round (3 minutes is a long time) and Liston was too frustrated to continue on and gave up.

What traits did Ali demonstrate to be “the Greatest.” I see discipline, perseverance, and resilience as a given. A starting point. What sets us apart is the ability to summon up from deep down inside yourself intensity, tenacity and inner strength. It also takes a substantial amount of courage to step into the ring and put yourself out there. For example, Ali was only knocked down 5 times: 4 of the fights he ended up winning and the fifth one was in the first of three fights with against Joe Frazier. Ali won the 2nd and 3rd fights. Courage.

Ali was sentenced to 5 years in prison and exhibited perseverance, resilience, tenacity, strength, and courage to never give up in appealing the decision. He won.

Ali was not allowed to fight during the appeal which ended up being over 2 years of what would have been his prime years of the sport. He handled the suspension using perseverance, resilience, tenacity, strength, and courage to never give up. He won back the world heavyweight championship after a long layoff.

Finally, he demonstrated his survival skills by, not just accepting his Parkinson’s, but embracing it.” What else would he do? He was Muhammad Ali, The Greatest. He possessed the perseverance, resilience, tenacity, strength, and courage to never give up.

Muhammad Ali was definitely a survivor. He had Parkinson’s for 32 years+. He was never seen pitying himself but rose to the occasion when it was time to perform or some children around to do magic tricks. Throughout his life, Muhammad Ali could definitely be labelled as “un-shake-able.”

I am a Person with Parkinson’s disease. I have reclaimed by posi-spective (positive perspective). In fact, I have not just reached the fifth level of Grief – acceptance – but have gone beyond and embraced my Parkinsons. I am an inspirational speaker who just so happens to have Parkinson’s. I will go further and state unequivocally that I am now Powered by Parkinson’s.

I truly believe that each one of use has the strength inside of us to embrace whatever life has in store for us. Join me in this belief.

Written by John Baumann (

Comments are closed.