These 10 Fiery Muhammad Ali Quotes Are a Total Knockout

Learn to Be the Greatest, From the Greatest

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali, Legendary Boxer. (The Stanley Weston Archive/ Contributor/Getty Images)

In 1964, when Cassius Clay took on the indefatigable Sonny Liston, nobody realized that a star was born. Cassius Clay had just shaken up the world with his fighting spirit. Not that he was painfully shy about his talent. His announcement to the press just before his winning bout with Sonny Liston that he was the greatest failed to strike a chord with many skeptics. In fact, his over-the-top arrogance tinged with narcissism made the world wary of this new wannabe.

The Megalomania of Muhammad Ali: The World's Greatest Sports Star

Just before the fight, Cassius Clay aimed several taunts at the seasoned and dominating Liston, perhaps to intimidate his opponent. He shouted at Liston saying,

"Someone is going to die at ringside tonight."

That evening would probably be the most unforgettable event for many boxing enthusiasts for two reasons. One, they saw a reigning heavyweight boxing champion go down. Two, a 22-year-old underdog with a motormouth and a fetish for trash-talking had just made history.

Cassius Clay, who became known as Muhammad Ali after he changed his religion, took the world by storm. Each time Muhammad Ali won, he reminded the world that he was the greatest. He didn't say that he was the best, strongest, finest, or richest. He declared,

"I am the greatest!"

He pronounced it with élan. He could work up a frenzy in the ring and announce his greatness to the world.

Never before had anyone seen a sports figure so brazen, so in-your-face, and so brutally honest.

When Muhammad Ali Went Against the US Government

Most sports fan admire Muhammad Ali as the greatest boxer that ever lived. He took on many fights inside the ring and outside the ring. Those that he fought inside the ring were easy matches.

He literally called the shots there. However, the ones he fought outside the ring were the toughest fights he ever had. Most of them were against the establishment. The man who could "float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee" often got on the wrong side of the ruling class. His vitriolic statements sent the press into a tizzy. His witty comebacks and sarcasms pushed buttons of many a politician. When asked about whether he would serve in the army for the Vietnam War, he cockily replied, 

"Man, I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No Vietcong ever called me n****r."

He had an uncanny sense of humor, a quick temper, a big mouth, and a soft heart. One of his wicked comments that often grab headlines is:

"I am America. I am the part you won't recognize, but get used to me. Black, confident, cocky. My name, not yours. My religion, not yours. My goals, my own. Get used to me."

 Ali once said,

"Allah is the greatest. I'm just the greatest boxer."

And indeed, he was. As three times winner of the linear world heavyweight championship, a title held by no other boxer, Muhammad Ali was a nightmare for his opponents. He was awarded the "Sportsman of the Century" by the BBC and Sports Illustrated magazine in 1999.

Muhammad Ali Never Minced His Words: 10 Quotes Prove His Indomitable Spirit

Muhammad Ali was not just one of the greatest sporting icons that ever lived, he was also a great orator. Some of his quotes are legendary. These 10 reveal what it takes to have a winning attitude.

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.

These words made one of the best quotes in sporting history. Ali spoke these words just before his fight with George Foreman in 1974. These words catapulted Muhammad Ali to instant fame. 

"It's lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believe in myself."

"You think I was shocked when Nixon resigned? Wait till I whup George Foreman's behind."

"I done something new for this fight, I done tassled with an alligator! That's right. I have tassled with an alligator! I done tussled with a whale! I done handcuffed lightning, throwed thunder in jail! Only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone. Hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean I make medicine sick."

"Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: a desire, a dream, a vision."

"If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you."

"If you ever dream of beating me... you better wake up and apologize."

"Joe's gonna be smokin' an' I ain't even jokin but I'll be peckin' and a pokin' and I'll pour water on that smokin'. Now this might astound and amaze ya but I will destroy Jo Frazier."

"There are two things that are hard to hit and see, that's a spooky ghost and Muhammed Ali."

"Like The Beatles, there will never be anything like them. Like my man, Elvis Presley. I was the Elvis of boxing."

"I'm not the greatest, I'm the double greatest. Not only do I knock 'em out, I pick the round. I'm the boldest, the prettiest, the most superior, most scientific, most skilfullest fighter in the ring today."