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12. Ali, Muhammad
During the fourth round of his first big fight versus Sonny Liston, February 25, 1964, Muhammad Ali became blinded by ordinary liniment from his opponent. But he suspected foul play and wanted to quit, screaming to his corner, "I can't see. Cut off the gloves!" But manager Angelo Dundee refused to let him, and instructed Ali to "yardstick" Liston with his jab. Ali went back out and fought the fifth round with his right eye closed. Ali wiped his eyes as Liston charged, and whenever he got within range, he reached out and stuck his glove on his head for as long as he could. Ali's arms were longer than Liston's; he knew he had to keep Liston at arm's length, unable to land a knockout punch.
In the sixth round, Ali went on the attack. For the seventh, Liston failed to answer the bell. Ali was the champion. Had he quit, he never would have set the stage to come back twice more and reclaim his heavyweight title lost to Frazier in 1971 by defeating Foreman in 1974 and then Leon Spinks in 1978, making him the first to be a three-time champion.
For many, even more remarkable has been Ali's private yet public bout with Parkinson's disease. Though it has slowed his body and speech, he has refused to allow it to make him a recluse or quench his spirit.
The moral is clear: never quit. And stock your corner with friends who won't let you.