Muhammad Ali is known for many things, including being the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World, the Rumble in the Jungle and his fight against the Vietnam War. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 42, Ali was no stranger to adversity.
One of the biggest questions concerning Ali’s diagnosis was whether or not repeated blows to his head during his boxing career had in some way caused the onset of the condition. While he had been exhibiting symptoms for almost three years to prior to his diagnosis, Parkinson’s was not a thought for many of his entourage.
After Ali’s diagnosis, he began to act as if nothing was wrong. His outspokenness as a world champion fighter had given him the reputation of someone who was unbeatable, especially by a disease like Parkinson’s.
The more people asked questions, the more likely he was to shrug it off as if it was nothing. His responses were adamant and he declared the disease would never get the best of him.
He would continue to fight against it just as if it was an opponent in the ring.
For several years after his initial diagnosis, Ali continued to make appearance and talk about his lengthy career as the most famous boxer in history. His outspoken nature made it quite clear that the disease was not the most important thing in his life. Behind closed doors, however, Ali made no attempt to hide the fact that he wanted the best care possible.
As a lifelong athlete, Muhammad Ali continued to embrace boxing in all of its glory. When he received his diagnosis, he entered into a different type of ring. While fighting Parkinson’s disease, Ali realized that many people were watching him and looking up to him. Whether they liked him as a fighter or hated him for his cockiness, everyone had to admit, Ali had a resolve when it came to fighting.
It didn’t matter if it was in the boxing ring or fighting a neurological giant. He would do whatever it took to gain the advantage and beat his opponent. Today almost 30 years after his diagnosis, he is still fighting.
Although he has lost his ability to speak in public, the man who at one time was known for his lightning fast moves and fluttering punches, is still making himself known to the world around him.