Title: The Greatest, My own story
Author: Muhammad Ali
Genere : Autobiography
“Forget every battle of man against man, of mind against mind, of soul against soul. This is one. This is the greatest.”
Every time I review a book I like to start with something which would remind me of reading a particular book. I read a good part of this book over 10 classes which i was attending. I like Autobiographies for the fact that one book is equivalent to one life. This book is not only a reflection on his fighting career in the boxing ring but of a fight that he undertook for religious freedom and racial liberation. What Ali has done is not only difficult but also inspiring. While the other boxers on achieving success often chose the easy way of accepting what the Whites’ wanted, he went the extra mile for justice keeping his career at stake.
I had read a story where Ali threw away his Olympic medal in the sea and realized that it was taken from this book itself. I liked that piece a lot, a very emotional one which somewhat covers the crux of the matter, of what oppression can do to a human being and how some people stand up to the cause. Ali’s career can be classified as a very controversial one but I think it is controversial just because he did not succumb to pressure and kept on fighting for his right even if that meant a period of exile. His turning into a follower of Islam and refusing to fight in the Vietnam War made him lose almost 4 years of fighting life at a juncture when he was at his peak, needless to mention that he was stripped off the heavy weight title.
“It had taken six years of blood, blows, pain, sweat, struggle, a thousand rounds in rings and gyms to win that medal, a prize I has dreamed of holding since i was a child. Now I had thrown it in the river and i felt no pain and no regret . Only relief and a new strength.”
The book is quite detailed and at times somewhat boring but whenever it is interesting, it is nail biting. Ali mentions everyone in his life, his coaches, his early career , Olympic medal, realizations that he was the fastest and the greatest , crowning the heavy weight champion, exile and comeback. His training regimen , food , self control and discipline have been mentioned in the book and was really inspiring to read. Of all the other things, the most interesting part was the fights and i hoped there were more. The most famous ones where he fights George Foreman and Frazier are absolutely magnificent. Ali prepared well both mentally and physically. He won most of his fights not only on strength, agility, strategy but also by speaking to his opponent and playing with his mind. The most astonishing part was that his prophecy of defeating an opponent in a particular round always came true. There was a lot of usage of poems for cheering and communicating to the opponent and a part which makes this book unique and fun at times.
Though this may take sometime to finish the book, I would advice you to have a read.