It might feel like a sad loss when the life of someone great ends.
But to be great, they had to become great.
No one could ever accuse Muhammad Ali of not making the most of his talents. Or from shying away from a challenge.
So rather than mourn the loss of a Great Man, why not reflect on what he taught us...
What can Men learn from the life of Muhammad Ali?
He was a Man of Action.
At the age of 12 years old, a young Cassius Clay was advised to learn the pugilistic arts by a police officer. His bike had been stolen and he wanted to fight the boy that had taken it.
The rest, as they say, is history. But it would have been easy for a 12 year old boy to find an excuse not to learn to box. Not the future Ali. He had a goal in mind, and he went for it. In an age now when learning can be more synonymous with procrastinating, this is huge. Want to make something happen? Take action!
He was his own Man.
Agree with his decision or not. When Cassius Clay converted to Islam and became Muhammad Ali, he was going against the grain. But he had made his mind up that this was what he wanted to do. The opinions of people did not matter to him. What mattered was that he was doing what he felt was right.
Similarly, when he later refused to fight in the Vietnam war and was stripped of his boxing titles, he demonstrated the same virtue.
Again, agree with his decision or not, to rebuke the American system, to take a stand against a vast swell of opinion, takes a man who knows his own mind.
He overcame his Fear.
To fight takes courage. That is a given. But how many of us really overcome our fears?
In his first fight with Sonny Liston, the media, many of the Liston camp and observers commented that Clay was scared. Watching the pre-fight press conferences, he certainly looked it. At the weigh in, his heart rate was more than double its usual rate as he confronted his opponent.
Liston was a beast of a man. Owned by the mob, and with a criminal past, it is rumoured that police had broken truncheons over his head in order to restrain him. Whats more, he was coming into the fight on the back of two first round KO's of the highly rated Floyd Patterson.
Clay did not succumb to Fear. Instead, he used it to fuel a performance that would make him the then youngest ever Heavyweight Champion.
He Believed in Himself
By the time Ali challenged Foreman for his second tenure as Heavyweight Champion, no one realistically gave Ali a chance. He did not look as quick or as fast as in his early years. What is more, Foreman had used his wrecking ball style to destroy opponents that Ali had struggled with. So what did Ali do? In what seemed like a crazy tactic, he allowed Foreman to pin him to the ropes and unload his bombs. It became known as the 'rope-a-dope' strategy. Eventually, after riding out the barrage, Ali was able to knock out an exhausted Foreman.
What clarity of mind, and what unshakable self belief. When everybody has written you off, to stay steely minded and focused on what you think you can achieve.
Arrogance is word often levelled at Ali. But to lend a quote from another Great Man,
"Mr Attlee is a very modest man. Indeed, he has a lot to be modest about." Winston Churchill.
If you know what you can do, as Ali did, better to be branded arrogant and victorious, than modest and defeated.
He could still be Humble
The third and final Frazier fight, the 'Thrilla in Manilla' was a classic encounter. Memorable for its brutal conflict, two opposing forces of nature came together, and their styles blended dangerously.
Both fighters took immense punishment, but Frazier's corner refused to let their man come out for the final round, leaving Ali victorious.
After the fight, despite much bad blood and harsh words spoken, Ali finally admitted that Joe Frazier was one of the greatest fighters of all time.
For all the ego and posturing, when it mattered, Ali could be humble in his victory.
He had Dignity
Masculinity is tragic. Even the strongest, the toughest, the fastest, will one day lose their power. They will no longer posses that which defines them and their greatness.
Some Men fall apart when they realise this is happening. They just are not designed to be in a world where they can no longer compete.
But faced with frailty and sickness, Ali kept his dignity. He maintained a public image and did not shy away from the reality of his situation. He took one this final fight the only way he knew how. That is the spirit of a real warrior.
What more can a Man do to cement his legacy?
"Impossible is nothing" Muhammad Ali 1942-2016