Two men, one ring with a roaring crowd surrounding them. Thousands of voices echo in the arena with millions more locked in on the battle between two giants. Human giants with inhuman like pain thresholds, determination, and skill. These two giants are the legendary Joe Frazier and the one and only Muhammad Ali. This first fight laid the foundation for a classic trilogy that pushed each man to their breaking points.
The bell rings and both men wobble to the middle of the ring for the last round. Minutes pass and both men are trading shots under the bright lights. Frazier starts to corner Ali and Joe fakes Ali out with a left and then lands a crunching left hook to Ali’s already swollen jaw. BOOOM, Frazier put all the power he had left into this punch, which caused the sweat from Ali’s hair and face to go flying. Ali’s eyes slightly rolled in the back of his head and his teeth crunched down on his bloody mouthpiece. The jaw-shattering punch caused Ali to lose all control of his body for a split second and he dropped to the canvas. A roar went through the arena, fans stood on their feet, and each person’s eyes gazed down at Ali wondering if he would be able to recover. Flat on his back from the devastating punch with seconds feeling like hours passing, some fans were cheering for his fall and some cried with support shouting for Ali to get back on his feet.
“One, two, three”, the referee shouted and then quick as he fell, Ali rose to his feet still dazed by the punch. A glazed look was over his eyes and he took in a deep breath while still holding onto the ropes for support. Despite being the 15th round, a disastrous punch that would knock out most human beings, Ali got back up. Despite fatigue, pain, adversity, and aches, Ali never accepted defeat. Despite losing the fight, both fighters taught me lessons about life such as determination, independence, and dealing with pain but Ali’s ability to recover from such a devastating blow taught me that no matter how hard the hit, you always have to get back up.
In the past year or so, life has thrown different hard-hitting punches at me, but I have looked to Muhammad Ali as a mentor for the many things he did in and out of the sport of boxing. He always recovered and faced his opponent no matter if it was Joe Frazier or even the US government. He epitomized fearlessness and compassion at the same time. Any time you feel you can’t go any longer or you’ve been hit with a devastating blow in life, remember you have to get back up.
Photo Credit: “Joe Frazier drops Muhammad Ali in the 15th round”: BoxRec.com