Muhammad Ali quotes: The boxing icon in his own words after he dies aged 74

'I shook up the world, I'm the king of the world'

Saturday 04 June 2016 07:33
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Muhammad Ali in his own words

Muhammed Ali, the boxing legend who told everyone he was the ‘greatest”, has died at the age of 74.

Ali's death was confirmed by his family in a statement who said the family "would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and support".

Here is the boxing legend in his own words:

On his fighting style

(before his first fight with Sonny Liston, 25 February 1964)

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see."

Muhammad Ali dies aged 74

On the impossible

“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.”

On becoming world champion

(after beating Liston)

"I shook up the world, I’m the king of the world. You must listen to me. I am the greatest! I can't be beat!"

Muhammad Ali, landing a right to Sonny Liston's body during the World Heavyweight Championship fight at Miami Beach Convention Hall, USA, on 25th February 1964

On training

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’"

On meeting the Beatles

(in the Fifth Street gym in Miami, 18 February 1964)

“Hello there, Beatles! We oughta do some road shows together. We’ll get rich!”

On refusing to be inducted into the US army to fight in Vietnam

(April 1967)

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 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?"

On America

“I am America. I am the part you won't recognise. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”

Muhammad Ali with an anti-aircraft gun used by North Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War during a visit to the Hanoi Army Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam on May 12, 1994.

On fighting George Foreman

(seconds before the start of the Rumble in the Jungle, Zaire, 30 October 1974)

“You been hearing about how bad I am since you were a little kid with mess in your pants! Tonight, I’m gonna whip you till you cry like a baby.”

On humility

“It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am.”

Joe Frazier (L) fighting against against Muhammad Ali at the Madison Square Garden, in New York on March 8 1971.

On fighting Joe Frazier

(to his corner, during the Thrilla in Manila, 1 October 1975)

“This is the closest I've ever been to dying”

On imagination

“The man with no imagination has no wings.”

On doing good

(in an interview with David Remnick, The New Yorker, 12 October 1998)

“Do good deeds. Visit hospitals. Judgment Day coming. Wake up and it’s Judgment Day.”

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