Muhammad Ali was probably the greatest boxer who ever stepped in the ring. He was also a very, very quotable man.
The champion heavyweight boxer was born on Jan. 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. His given name was Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. He died on June 3, 2016, in Phoenix, Arizona. During his career and 74 years on the earth, Ali left a legacy that few can match.
He won an Olympic gold medal in 1960. Four years later, he won the world heavyweight boxing crown. It was during his boxing career that he gave us some of his best quotes.
Muhammad Ali’s Best Quotes
It’s difficult to pick the best Muhammad Ali quote because there are so many great ones. In many of them, the famous boxer showed his bravado. According to USA Today, among these are:
1. “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,” Ali once said.
2. He also said: “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”
3. “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”
4. There’s also: “He’s (Sonny Liston) too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty like me!”
5. “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,” Ali said.
6. “I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I’m in a world of my own.”
7. “I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And thrown thunder in jail.”
Many of Ali’s other greatest quotes are truly inspirational. These include:
1. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
2. “A man who has no imagination has no wings,” Ali said.
3. There’s also : “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
4. “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
One of the charismatic Ali’s best speeches has been titled, “I’ll Show You How Great I Am.” Watch him give that speech below.
Ali Leaves Legacy
Ali’s legacy is not just limited to the sports world. He was known for his philanthropic work as well as his social stances, particularly his objection to the Vietnam War.
Ali converted to Islam during the 1970s. When he was drafted in 1967, he refused to serve based on religious objections. This caused quite a controversy. Ali was arrested and his world boxing title and boxing license were taken away from him. He was eventually able to return to the ring in 1970. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction for violating Selective Service laws in 1971.
Muhammad Ali also battled Parkinson’s beginning in 1984. But, after he retired from boxing he supported organizations such as the Special Olympics and Make-A-Wish Foundation. He also traveled across the globe to provide assistance to others.
Honors he received include the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Century, BBC Sports Personality of the Century, Martin Luther King Memorial Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.