The Greatest Heavyweight Boxer of All Time
Jan 1942 – Jun 2016
Compilation of Muhammad Ali quotes across the web
(sorted based on LEN count)
- Don’t feel sorry for me.
- What keeps me going is goals.
- I shook up the world. Me! Whee!
- Superman don’t need no seat belt.
- I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
- I got no quarrel with them Vietcong.
- The white man is destroying the world.
- It’s not bragging if you can back it up.
- Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
- My toughest fight was with my first wife.
- I don’t have to be what you want me to be.
- Don’t count the days; make the days count.
- A man who has no imagination has no wings.
- I shook up the world, I shook up the world.
- I’m no leader; I’m a little humble follower.
- Old age is just a record of one’s whole life.
- America is the greatest country in the world.
- I’m not the greatest, I’m the double greatest.
- Life is so, so short. Bible says it’s like a vapour.
- No one knows what to say in the loser’s locker room.
- It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.
- All of us are so mixed. My great-grandfather was white.
- I am the greatest; I said that even before I knew I was.
- Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.
- There are more pleasant things to do than beat up people.
- It’s in my blood to be around people while I was training.
- I’ve seen George Foreman shadow boxing, and the shadow won.
- My only fault is that I don’t realize how great I really am.
- My principles are more important than the money or my title.
- I’m young; I’m handsome; I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.
- When you can whip any man in the world, you never know peace.
- The only thing that matters is submitting to the will of God.
- I’ll beat him so bad he’ll need a shoehorn to put his hat on.
- I said I was ‘The Greatest,’ I never said I was the smartest!
- I had a good time boxing. I enjoyed it – and I may come back.
- I believe in the religion of Islam. I believe in Allah and peace.
- Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
- If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.
- Joe Frazier got hit more than me – and he doesn’t have Parkinson’s.
- Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.
- I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.
- Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.
- Go up in an airplane. Go high enough, and it’s like we don’t even exist.
- I’m more at home with my log cabins than I am in my house in Cherry Hill.
- Bragging is when a person says something and can’t do it. I do what I say.
- I’m just hoping that people understand that Islam is peace and not violence.
- My way of joking is to tell the truth. That’s the funniest joke in the world.
- I had to prove you could be a new kind of black man. I had to show the world.
- White people just don’t want their slaves to be free. That’s the whole thing.
- He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
- Never put your money against Cassius Clay, for you will never have a lucky day.
- Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.
- It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.
- I’ve been everywhere in the world, seen everything, had everything a man can have.
- Frazier is so ugly that he should donate his face to the U.S. Bureau of Wild Life.
- There are no pleasures in a fight but some of my fights have been a pleasure to win.
- It will be a killer, and a chiller, and a thriller, when I get the gorilla in Manila.
- It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
- Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.
- If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.
- I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.
- A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
- It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.
- I give thanks to God and to all the people in the U.K. who have supported me over the years.
- I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.
- He’s (Sonny Liston) too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty like me!
- I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.
- You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned? Wait till I whup George Foreman’s behind.
- Ever since I first came here in 1963 to fight Henry Cooper, I have loved the people of England.
- Joe Frazier is so ugly that when he cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head.
- I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I’m in a world of my own.
- A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
- All black Americans have slave names. They have white names; names that the slave master has given to them.
- At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.
- If you lose a big fight, it will worry you all of your life. It will plague you – until you get your revenge.
- If I said I would knock out Sonny Liston in 1 minute and 49 seconds of the first round, that would hurt the gate.
- I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And throw thunder in jail.
- I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.
- I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
- I wanted to use my fame and this face that everyone knows so well to help uplift and inspire people around the world.
- I know I got it made while the masses of black people are catchin’ hell, but as long as they ain’t free, I ain’t free.
- I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.
- I calculate that I took 20,000 punches, but I earned millions and kept a lot of it. I may talk slow, but my mind is OK.
- Hating people because of their colour is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which colour does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.
- I figure I’ll be champ for about ten years and then I’ll let my brother take over – like the Kennedys down in Washington.
- I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.
- I’m the greatest thing that ever lived! I’m the king of the world! I’m a bad man. I’m the prettiest thing that ever lived.
- To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich.
- The word ‘Islam’ means ‘peace.’ The word ‘Muslim’ means ‘one who surrenders to God.’ But the press makes us seem like haters.
- A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.
- It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
- The fact is, I was never too bright in school. I ain’t ashamed of it, though. I mean, how much do school principals make a month?
- No boxer in the history of boxing has had Parkinson’s. There’s no injury in my brain that suggests that the illness came from boxing.
- I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others.
- I used to tease Joe Louis by reminding him that I was the greatest of all time. But Joe Louis was the greatest heavyweight fighter ever.
- Anywhere I go, there is always an incredible crowd that follows me. In Rome, as I land at the airport, even the men kiss me. I love Rome.
- When I won the Golden Gloves in 1960, that made me realize I had a chance. And when I won at the Olympics, that sealed it: I was the champ.
- Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.
- Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.
- You can’t keep your mind on fighting when you’re thinking about a woman. You can’t keep your concentration. You feel like sleeping all the time.
- The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.
- My trainer don’t tell me nothing between rounds. I don’t allow him to. I fight the fight. All I want to know is did I win the round. It’s too late for advice.
- Allah’s the Arabic term for God. Stand up for God, fight for God, work for God and do the right thing, and go the right way, things will end up in your corner.
- We who follow the teachings of Elijah Muhammad don’t want to be forced to integrate. Integration is wrong. We don’t want to live with the white man; that’s all.
- Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.
- I should be a postage stamp; because that’s the only way I’ll ever get licked. I’m beautiful. I’m fast. I’m so mean I make medicine sick. I can’t possibly be beat.
- No intelligent black man or black woman in his or her right black mind wants white boys and white girls coming to their homes to marry their black sons and daughters.
- People don’t realize what they had till it’s gone. Like President Kennedy, there was no one like him, the Beatles, and my man Elvis Presley. I was the Elvis of boxing.
- Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.
- I’m the most recognized and loved man that ever lived cuz there weren’t no satellites when Jesus and Moses were around, so people far away in the villages didn’t know about them.
- I always bring out the best in men I fight, but Joe Frazier, I’ll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me. I’m gonna tell ya, that’s one helluva man, and God bless him.
- Sonny Liston is nothing. The man can’t talk. The man can’t fight. The man needs talking lessons. The man needs boxing lessons. And since he’s gonna fight me, he needs falling lessons.
- To make America the greatest is my goal, so I beat the Russian and I beat the Pole. And for the U.S.A. won the medal of gold. The Greeks said, ‘You’re better than the Cassius of old.’
- I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.
- If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it. Jesse Jackson said this as early as 1983, according to the Associated Press, and Ali used it in his 2004 book.
- Ali’s got a left, Ali’s got a right – when he knocks you down, you’ll sleep for the night; and when you lie on the floor and the ref counts to ten, hope and pray that you never meet me again.
- God tries you in certain, certain ways. Some people are rich, and they believe in God. They lose the money, things get hard, they get weak and quit going to church. Quit serving God like they did.
- I didn’t want to submit to the army and then, on the Day of Judgment, have God say to me, ‘Why did you do that?’ This life is a trial, and you realize that what you do is going to be written down for Judgment Day.
- I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.
- Terrorists are not following Islam. Killing people and blowing up people and dropping bombs in places and all this is not the way to spread the word of Islam. So people realize now that all Muslims are not terrorists.
- Cassius Clay is a name that white people gave to my slave master. Now that I am free, that I don’t belong anymore to anyone, that I’m not a slave anymore, I gave back their white name, and I chose a beautiful African one.
- I have been so great in boxing they had to create an image like Rocky, a white image on the screen, to counteract my image in the ring. America has to have its white images, no matter where it gets them. Jesus, Wonder Woman, Tarzan and Rocky.
- Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don’t let yourself believe it will happen to you.
- I would say things like ‘I am the greatest! I’m pretty! If you talk jive, you’ll drop in five! I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee! I’m pretty!’ When white people heard me talking like this, some said, ‘That black man talks too much. He’s bragging.’
- The name Muhammad is the most common name in the world. In all the countries around the world – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon – there are more Muhammads than anything else. When I joined the Nation of Islam and became a Muslim, they gave me the most famous name because I was the champ.
- The Nation of Islam’s main focus was teaching black pride and self-awareness. Why should we keep trying to force ourselves into white restaurants and schools when white people didn’t want us? Why not clean up our own neighbourhoods and schools instead of trying to move out of them and into white people’s neighbourhoods?
- Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
- My lectures, based on Islamic teachings, were on various subjects. Some of the titles were, ‘The Intoxication of Life,’ ‘The Purpose of Life,’ ‘The Real Cause of Man’s Distress,’ ‘The Journey to the Goal in Life,’ and, one of my favourites, ‘The Heart of Man.’ they contained important insights that spoke to something deep inside me.
Watch how the legend float like a butterfly:
And sting like a bee: