Muhammad Ali sneered at his rivals with very telling rhymes and comically witty remarks. But some of his quotes on success, racism, religion and war made the world recognize him as not just a man who was fast with his fists but also an outstanding cultural figure.
He coined a lot of quotes that didn’t just get his rivals unsettled before any big fight, but also imparted knowledge on how to face daily challenges in life.
The quotes may have described his style in the ring, but they are nothing short of real-life guide. Here are some of the best Muhammad Ali Quotes:
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see.” He said when he was a precocious 22-year old about to take on world.
He was spine chilling:
“”I wrestled with an alligator, I tussled with a whale, I handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail, I’m bad man….Last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean I make medicine sick.” Ali said this before his famous “Rumble in the Jungle” but with George Foreman in 1974.
“It will be a killer and a chiller and a thriller when I get the gorilla in Manila.”
Ali took the art of talking himself up to new levels, reminding rivals that there was only one king of the ring.
“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.”
‘If you even dream of beating me, you better wake up and apologize.”
“I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I’m in a world of my own.”
“Not only do I knock’em out , I pick the round.”
“I’m a poet, I’m a prophet, I’m the resurrector, I’m the savior of the boxing world. If it wasn’t for me, the game would be dead.”
“It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”
“It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
His inspiring quotes…
“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”
“Live every day like it’s your last because someday you’re going to be right.”
“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.”
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
“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.”
“A man who has no imagination has no wings.”
“He’s (Sonny Liston) too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty like me!”
“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
“It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
“I’m the most recognized and loved man who 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.”
“It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.”
“I’m not the greatest, I’m the double greatest.”
“If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
“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.
Ironically, he also said, “I don’t like fighters who talk too much.”
“What I suffered physically was worth what I’ve accomplished in life. A man who is not courageous enough to take risks will never accomplish anything in life.” – Ali at a news conference on October 28, 1984.
“I seen you! Someday I’m gonna whup you! Don’t you forget, I am the greatest!” Ali to heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson during the 1960 Olympic Games.
On Racism and Islam
“People say I talk so slow today. That’s no surprise. I calculated I’ve taken 29,000 punches. But I earned $57m and I saved half of it. So I took a few hard knocks. Do you know how many black men are killed every year by guns and knives without a penny to their names? I may talk slow, but my mind is OK.” – Ali, January 20, 1984.
“Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
“Why are all the angels white? Why ain’t there no black angels?” – Ali at a church in 1983.
“My name is known in Serbia, Pakistan, Morocco. These are countries that don’t follow the Kentucky Derby.” – Ali in a New York Times interview, April 1977.
Since the Paris attacks, Muhammad Ali spoke out against the incrimination of Islam with ISIL attacks:
“I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so-called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.” – Ali, 2015.
“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?” Ali, February, 17, 1966.
“I’ve done my celebrating already. I said a prayer to Allah.” Ali, June 28, 1971
“They did what they thought was right, and I did what I thought was right.”