Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Message #17 - Burning Your Ships...Ali Style

This is How Muhammad Ali Burned His Ships

Don't play the Video in this post until after you've read my post of September 22, 2007, titled "Burning Your Ships", and until after you read my comments below:

You don't have to be a Muhammad Ali fan to appreciate his desire to win and the supreme confidence he displayed when preparing for his boxing matches and in the ring. His signature tag line of "I'm the Greatest" is legendary. Even the Ali detractors grew to respect his great courage and desire to be the best. Read my post of September 22, 2007, titled "Burning Your Ships", of how Cortez took away all escape options by instructing his men to "burn the ships", leaving he and his men, only one thing to think about...how to survive and complete their mission. Quite simply it all boiled down to winning.

Well, Muhammad Ali did much the same thing when he would make outrageous statements about his opponents and about what he would do if he lost. He left himself no way out, he had only one thing to think about, and that was how he was going to WIN! Losing was not an option for him. He took that option away by his antics. Think of the pressure you would feel if you backed yourself into a corner like he did, "saying all that crazy stuff he used to say", and think of how hard and intensely you would train; and think of the depth and scope of your mental preparation; all to avoid the humiliation of having to eat your words if you lost.

Anyway you look at it, this is "Burning Your Ships"...you win or else be humiliated. The clip you are about to hear is before Ali's biggest fight at the time - the year was 1964 - it was a shot at the heavyweight world title - against the most feared heavyweight at the time, and if he lost this fight his career would have suffered a great setback - to say the least, and it possibly could have ended his career. The media would never have taken him seriously after that, and more importantly, how could he have taken himself seriously after that.

If after reading my comments here and you've read my post of September 22, 2007, titled "Burning Your Ships", Click the play button at bottom left of picture and hear what Ali has to say.

This indeed is "Burning Your Ships"


Paul Luther said...

I always admired his brash, cocky attitude. He was completely unique in his time, when athletes were supposed to be humble, uncontroversial and capable of spouting only platitudes. He went from being the most hated man in America to one of the most beloved in the world by having the strength of his convictions. In his prime, his physical gifts allowed him to box in an unorthodox style (pulling away from punches instead of ducking under them) and left his opponents punching air. Later in his career, he demonstrated his resiliency and courage. I remember in October of 1974, when he defeated George Foreman, walking around Ohio State and watching a spontaneous celebration break out all over campus with people hanging out dorm windows shouting "Aliii". His subsequent bout with Parkinson's seems almost biblical in retrospect: The Louisville Lip being robbed of his voice is like something from the 1st Testament. My 16 year-old son likes to argue with me that Jesse Owens had more of an impact by embarrassing Hitler at the 1936 Olympic games...but for me it will always be Cassius Clay after the Liston bout screaming "I must be the Greatest!"

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