MBTI Type: ESFP
Ali is the “greatest champion in the history of his sport” because of his sheer physical prowess, willingness to engage with his opponent, and ruthless training routine. He also lives and reacts purely in the moment, sometimes becoming physically aggressive and violent outside the ring (especially whenever he is angry or feels he has been insulted), and falling in love with a beautiful woman simply because she arouses his interest and keeps him entertained. Though he uses intuitive language on occasion (talking about being the best, the champion, etc), his inferior Ni is quite poor. Others, such as his coach, have to remind him of the long-term consequences of his impulsive decisions, the impact refusing to accept admittance into the army during the Vietnam draft, and his stubbornness in refusing to apologize for inflammatory, anti-American statements, will have on his career. He is stubborn in defending his “true self” against external forces. Once he decides upon his name, Ali refuses to answer to anything else – he proclaims that is his “slave name” and that he must be called by his new name. When he objects to his friend, Malcolm X, finding fault in their shared Muslim leadership, he tells him he should not have questioned their faith, turns, and walks away, never to speak to him again. Despite repeated appeals by his advisors and coaches not to throw away his world championship title and career over refusing to submit to the draft, Ali persists in clinging to his sense of self. He loves to talk smack to his opponents before a brawl, and boast to the press, but he keeps most of his emotions bottled inside. He is easily insulted. Ali is rational enough to accept when his decisions have hurt his career and to make certain compromises to remain afloat, but has a poor ability to retain money, make wise decisions in his friends (his wife points out that whenever he is “living high, all your friends are here… but now that we need them, where are they?”), or compromise. Ali’s Te is not strong enough to see the value in compromise or “making nice” just to get back in the ring and on the circuit.
Enneagram: 8w7 sx/so
Ali fears no one and nothing. He goads the world champion by calling him hideous to his face, and often calls up radio stations to do the same to others who dare to claim his title, after he’s suspended from fighting due to his “anti-American behavior.” He somewhat recklessly asserts his fierce, anti-Vietnam opinions (“that has nothing to do with me…”) in front of the press. He tends to pick fights outside the ring, when he does not get the “respect” he thinks he deserves. Ali tells off journalists to their faces, and refuses to answer to his birth name. His 7 wing does not like unpleasantness or dissent, or to think about the negatives in his life. He enjoys having a good time and sometimes delegates unpleasant things to others, to avoid thinking about his mistakes.