About 10 out of 10 fighters get into boxing, as Joe Frazier would say, to make the M - O - N - E - Y .
By all accounts, young Cassius Clay, who discovered boxing when he lost his new bike, took up the sport as a calling. That is what has made him unique.
"Every pursuit is great when greatly pursued." --Oliver Wendell Holmes.
When other fighters were thinking about putting food on the table (a very laudable and honest goal), Ali had God on his mind, setting his people free.
He did all right.
Ali never really cared about the money, so it is wonderful to see him living out old age--in contrast to so many other fighters--in comfort and peace, with a wonderful, caring woman by his side, and the love of a world just beyond his doorstep.
As Ali progressively does appear to me--truly for the first time--ravaged by the effects of illness and time, I am comforted by that wonderful lady's shrugging, nonchalant response to a journalist's recent, concerned-sounding question on how Ali is doing: "He's fine." Also, Brother Duodenum's pointing out that Ali's parents still lived a few more years than Ali is old now, so, just maybe, we and Ali still have a nice chunk of time together.
For Muhammad Ali, a fighter, to be--along with my parents, the Bible authors, Napoleon Hill, Steven Covey, Nelson Mandela--among the very most influential people in my life, is a tribute in itself.
So, thank you, Ali, for fulfilling the mission, and making the world a better, happier place for it. And may God bless you, always.