Mandela: The Greatest Fighter Who Ever Lived

Mandela Hears The Final Bell

Back in 2011 I wrote of Nelson Mandela‘s background in & affinity for the sweet science in Mandela: The Real Ultimate Fighter. I wrote of the correlation between his association with the sport & his ability to last the distance in the struggle against racist tyranny:

Quoting from his autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom, perhaps the correlation was not lost on the great man himself…
Mandela goes on to describe his conceptualization of the sport’s underlying principals of competitive fairness & the positive impact training had on him & his mental state during the years of the struggle against white minority rule in South Africa.
Boxing is egalitarian. In the ring, rank, age, color, and wealth are irrelevant…I found the rigorous exercise to be an excellent outlet for tension and stress. After a strenuous workout, I felt both mentally and physically lighter. It was a way of losing myself in something that was not the struggle. After an evening’s workout I would wake up the next morning feeling strong and refreshed, ready to take up the fight again.

Muhammad Ali who met Mandela many times, released a statement on Mandela’s death:

What I will remember most about Mr. Mandela is that he was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge. He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale.

“He inspired others to reach for what appeared to be impossible and moved them to break through the barriers that held them hostage mentally, physically, socially and economically. He made us realize, we are our brother’s keeper and that our brothers come in all colors.

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The Eiffel Tower has been lit up in the colours of the South African flag to grieve over Nelson Mandela’s death.

US President Barack Obama ordered flags at the White House and all public  facilities to be flown at half-mast, Prime Minister David Cameron asked the Downing Street Office flag be flown at half-mast.

Mandela

Tribute on South Africa’s largest Afrikaans language national newspaper – unimaginable a tribute as was possible under the Apartheid regime.

The UN flag in New York has been lowered, and FIFA ordered the flags of the 209 member associations at the home of FIFA to be flown at half-mast and a minute’s silence to be observed before the next round of international matches.

Larry Merchant Interviewed Mandela in 2001

He [Mandela] sat there and showed me how to throw a left hook. If fireworks could go off in my head, if rainbows could go off in my head, I couldn’t have been happier watching Nelson Mandela demonstrate how you throw a left hook and roll your shoulder into it, and he rolled his shoulder into it. He was talking about the correct way to box and how to throw punches.

I asked him about Muhammad Ali and about what he meant to him while he was in prison,” Merchant recalls. “He talked about how important Ali was as a huge international figure throughout Africa, and particularly to him as a former boxer and boxing fan.”

Matt Hamilton from Cape Town, South Africa for ESNewsReporting.com

RIP Nelson Mandela

RIP Nelson Mandela