Conversation — part V

Muhammad Ali (after the meditation): Thank you all for coming. It really got my spirits high. It (the boxing championship fight) might end in one round now. God bless you. Thank you.

Muhammad Ali (chatting with the singers as they wait for the elevator. Someone had asked him if he is afraid when fighting): I don't think about it. You don't have fear and you don't grieve if you're a true believer. That's what our Holy Koran says. A true believer in God has no fear; nor does he grieve. So you don't really fear anything, especially when you're trying to be right, because the quicker we leave this world, the quicker we'll be in a better world. So we welcome death if it means fighting for God's Cause. Or if you're attacked or something happens and you die in the Name of God, you feel good because you're going to your Eternal Home. This life is just eighty years at most. This isn't going to last long. When I get in the right, I'm like the only celebrity and world-person that will appreciate something like this. The Power of God makes me feel fearless; so I'm not worried.

I'll try to say hello to Sri Chinmoy tonight over the world TV.

Disciple: Thank you. We will be watching you on TV.

Muhammad Ali: We live in a world today where people don't go too much for religious things. You try to live right and clean, and people say you're crazy. They're so filthy. So much dirt and sin is going on. So when you are right, you look strange to them. Your family — your mother, your father, your friends — talk about you. I know what you go through. We Muslims go through the same thing. But this is why I am so thankful to God for my position. Being in front of world television and all the biggest theatres, I can preach this and speak for this. They can't stop it. So God is blessing me through boxing to get to the whole world. This is why I feel so strong when I go in. I feel God's on my side to win. When I go in, I'm ready.

I've got one thing to say to you. I want to go into spiritual work when I'm through. I'm the greatest boxer; that's all. We got a saying: "God is the greatest." So I don't want any image of being the greatest. No human being is so great. I'm the greatest boxer; that's all, right? I don't want people starting to say, "You're the greatest." There ain't nobody great. The one greatest is God. So you can't give a man credit for being the greatest of the greatest. It's not right. There isn't but one great One, and that's God. In your song, you can change the word to the greatest boxer of all times, or something like that — but not the greatest of the great. I'd be guilty for taking that. See, God tests us in strange ways. I mean, He will let certain things happen just to see if you accept it. Some men are wrong for committing an act. Some men are wrong for even thinking wrong, because of their knowledge. God might forgive a fool for committing an act, because he's a fool. But a wise man, if he just thinks wrong, is committing a sin. So, for me to accept the praise of greatest, knowing that I don't believe in it myself, is a sin. So it is my obligation to tell you this. It's not me that's the greatest — Allah or God is the greatest. I'm the greatest boxer. Thank you, Brothers.

Disciple: Oh, I have to get Guru's coat.

Muhammad Ali: I think I'll keep it. If we had more people dedicated to this ideal, we'd have a better world. Thank you, Brothers.

Ali Triumphs!