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Muhammad Ali Today Is Called The Greatest. But ...


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September 2002
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Muhammad Ali today is called the greatest. But it hasn’t always been that way. He became the greatest in the eyes of the world over the last 40 years. Muhammad Ali used to “float like a butterfly” and “sting like a bee”. He dazzled crowds with his amazing ability to dodge a punch while he used a very unconventional style, with hands held low, as he bobbed and weaved. Ali won the heavyweight title on February 25th, 1964 from Soney Liston. Ali was a 7-1 underdog and 43 of 46 major press writers picked him to lose. You see nobody really believed that he could be a champion. But he defeated Soney Liston to become the Heavy Weight Champion of the world. Well on his way to becoming the greatest, Ali lost his title and then won it back it perhaps the greatest Heavy Weight fight of all time, the “Rumble in the Jungle”, against then champion Gorge Foreman. Ali played what came to be known as the “rope a dope”. Ali covered up and let the heavy hitter, Gorge Foreman, tire himself out throwing punches, then when Forman was exhausted, Ali knocked him out. Now he became “Americas Champion” and some called him the greatest. Ali would again lose his title to Leon Spinks and then regain it after beating Leon Spinks in a unanimous decision. Now, he had become the only Heavy Weight to win the title three times and many called him the greatest. Ali would go on to lose two more fights to Trevor Burbick and Larry Holmes before retiring in 1981. Ali would have the spotlight once more in 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta Ali, with hands trembling from the Parkinson’s Disease he now suffers from, lit the cauldron to signify the start of the Summer Olympic Games. Many people shed tears as they watched “The Greatest” light the torch. Because of his accomplishments, the world calls Ali “The Greatest”. And while Ali’s story is inspiring and should stir the emotions of our heart, what the world calls great and what the Lord calls great are often two very different things. While Ali became great by winning the Heavy Weight title three times, God isn’t impressed by such accomplishments. While God desires good things in our life, he is immeasurably more concerned with our character than with our trophies. While he enables us to do great things, he desires that we would do his will, and God desires that we would understand what lasting accomplishment is. Faith…Hope…Love… The trophies will gather dust and our bodies wear out with just a little time, but the things of God endure forever!

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