He was a fighter through and through. The man left a legacy of change and perseverance. He was a fan of pugilism, which was odd for someone that preached nonviolence. Nonetheless he had a reason for it.
"I did not enjoy the violence of boxing so much as the science of it. I was intrigued by how one moved one's body to protect oneself, how one used a strategy both to attack and retreat, how one paced onself over a match.
Boxing is egalitarian. In the ring, rank, age, color, and wealth are irrelevant . . . I never did any real fighting after I entered politics. My main interest was in training; 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." --From Mandela,Long Walk to Freedom,
Nelson Mandela was a champion greater than anything that could be accomplished in the ring alone.