The name Muhammad Ali has long been synonymous with professional boxing. Considered as one of the true legends of the sport, he remains to be one of the greatest heavyweights in history.
Muhammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, is not only known for his prowess in the ring but also his ability to stir controversy. He is regarded as a figurehead in the fight for racial equality and religious freedom, as well as his anti-Vietnam war views and evasion from conscription. He is also known as a spokesperson for Parkinson’s disease.
Over the years, Muhammad Ali’s motivational quotes have also gained attention, boosting his popularity in and out of the ring. These quotes have served as inspiration for both martial artists and non-martial artists over the years.
Here’s a collection of the American legend’s most memorable, funny, witty, profound and inspiring one-liners, following his death at the age of 74 on Saturday.
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.
2. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
3. “I’m young; I’m handsome; I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.”
4. “Don’t count the days; make the days count.”
5. “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it.”
6. “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
7. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
8. “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”
9. “Braggin’ is when a person says something and can’t do it. I do what I say.”
10. “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
11. “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.”
12. “Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.”
13. “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
14. “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.”
15. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
16. “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
17. “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”
18. “I shook up the world. Me! Whee!”
19. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
20. “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.”
21. “A man who has no imagination has no wings.”
22. “He’s (Sonny Liston) too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty like me!”
23. “I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I’m in a world of my own.”
24. “I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And throw thunder in jail.”
25. “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”