Muhammad Ali Quotes

Most popular Muhammad Ali Quotes

I shook up the world.
— Muhammad Ali
Rumble, young man, rumble.
— Muhammad Ali
Imma show you how great I am.
— Muhammad Ali
I'm so mean I make medicine sick.
— Muhammad Ali
Come on George, show me something.
— Muhammad Ali
I was the Elvis Presley of boxing.
— Muhammad Ali
I am No. 1. After me, it don't matter.
— Muhammad Ali
I'm the best. I just haven't played yet.
— Muhammad Ali
It's not bragging if you can back it up.
— Muhammad Ali
I wont miss boxing; boxing will miss me.
— Muhammad Ali

boxing

I don't like fighters who talk too much.
— Muhammad Ali
My toughest fight was with my first wife.
— Muhammad Ali
Don't count the days, make the days count.
— Muhammad Ali
I said I was the greatest, not the smartest.
— Muhammad Ali
The man who has no imagination has no wings.
— Muhammad Ali

imagination

It wasn't the boxing. It was the autographs.
— Muhammad Ali
I'm no leader; I'm a little humble follower.
— Muhammad Ali
Love is a net that catches hearts like fish.

love

Old age is just a record of one's whole life.
— Muhammad Ali

age

I want to be the first black man on the moon.
— Muhammad Ali
The man who has no imagination, has no wings.
— Muhammad Ali

imagination

I'm not the greatest; I'm the double greatest.
— Muhammad Ali
Not only do I knock 'em out, I pick the round.
— Muhammad Ali
What you are thinking, is what you are becoming.
— Muhammad Ali

thinking

Allah is the Greatest. I'm just the greatest boxer.
— Muhammad Ali

God

When you're as great as I am, it's hard to be humble.
— Muhammad Ali

egotism

It's hard to be humble, when you're as great as I am.
— Muhammad Ali

greatness humility

Boxing was just a means to introduce me to the world.
— Muhammad Ali

boxing

I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.
— Muhammad Ali

affirmation believe in yourself

Silence is golden when you can't think of a good answer.
— Muhammad Ali

silence

If your dreams don't scare you, they are not big enough.
— Muhammad Ali

dreams

We all have the same God, we just serve him differently.
— Muhammad Ali

God religion

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.
— Muhammad Ali

action dreams success

There are more pleasant things to do than beat up people.
— Muhammad Ali
If you love God, you can't love only some of his children.
— Muhammad Ali

brotherhood of man God tolerance

I'll be floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.
— Muhammad Ali

boxing

I'm young; I'm handsome; I'm fast. I can't possibly be beat.
— Muhammad Ali
I'll beat him so bad he'll need a shoehorn to put his hat on.
— Muhammad Ali
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
— Muhammad Ali

service

Frazier's got two chances. Slim, and none. And Slim just left town.
— Muhammad Ali

boxing trash talking

If you even dream of beating me, you'd better wake up and apologize.
— Muhammad Ali

trash talking

I'm king of the world! I'm pretty! I'm a bad man! I shook up the world!
— Muhammad Ali
I'm more at home with my log cabins than I am in my house in Cherry Hill.
— Muhammad Ali
Ain't no reason for me to kill nobody in the ring, unless they deserve it.
— Muhammad Ali

boxing

I'm just hoping that people understand that Islam is peace and not violence.
— Muhammad Ali

Islam

It's a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sands. I beat people up.
— Muhammad Ali

boxing

I had to prove you could be a new kind of black man. I had to show the world.
— Muhammad Ali

African-Americans

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
— Muhammad Ali

risk-taking

Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you're going to be right.
— Muhammad Ali

how to live life

It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.
— Muhammad Ali

boxing

If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it - then I can achieve it.
— Muhammad Ali

inspirational

I'm bad, man; last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick.
— Muhammad Ali
It will be a killer and a chiller and a thriller when I get the gorilla in Manila.
— Muhammad Ali
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can't hit what the eyes can't see.
— Muhammad Ali

boxing

It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe.
— Muhammad Ali

success

Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.
— Muhammad Ali

poverty war

If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.
— Muhammad Ali

trash talking

I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.
— Muhammad Ali

brotherhood of man

To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.
— Muhammad Ali

greatness

The greatest victory in life is to rise above the material things that we once valued most.
— Muhammad Ali

materialism wealth

God's got me here for something. I can feel it. I was born for everything that I'm doing now.
— Muhammad Ali
It's a lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believe in myself.
— Muhammad Ali

believe in yourself faith

I'm not the greatest; I'm the double greatest. Not only do I knock 'em out, I pick the round.
— Muhammad Ali
Once we realize we are all members of humanity, we will want to compete in the spirit of love.
— Muhammad Ali

brotherhood of man love

If you were surprised when Nixon resigned, just watch what happens when I whup Foreman's behind!
— Muhammad Ali

trash talking

I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I'm in a world of my own.
— Muhammad Ali
A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
— Muhammad Ali

age age 50 experience

I wrestled with an alligator, I tussled with a whale, I handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail.
— Muhammad Ali
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.
— Muhammad Ali
I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'
— Muhammad Ali

practice

I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want.
— Muhammad Ali

civil rights movement identity

Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong.
— Muhammad Ali

racism

Why do I want my wife to show off her panties when the wind blows? Horses show their behinds, and cows and mules; not humans.
— Muhammad Ali
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.
— Muhammad Ali

boxing

It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
— Muhammad Ali

affirmation believe in yourself

Spirituality is recognizing the divine light that is within us all. It doesn't belong to any particular religion; it belongs to everyone.
— Muhammad Ali

religion spiritual

I have nothing to lose by standing up and following my beliefs. So I'll go to jail, so what? We have been in jail for four hundred years.
— Muhammad Ali

African-Americans civil rights movement principles racism slavery

Rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams—they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do—they all contain truths.
— Muhammad Ali

religion

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.
— Muhammad Ali

trash talking

Friendship ... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.
— Muhammad Ali

friendship

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.
— Muhammad Ali

hard work practice success

He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows or all he sees. I believe in the religion of Islam. I believe in Allah and peace.
— Muhammad Ali

inner peace

Stay in college, get the knowledge, stay there until you are through. If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something of you!
— Muhammad Ali

optimism self-esteem

Since I won't let the critics seal my fate, 
they keep hollering I'm full of hate.
But they don't really hurt me none, 
'cause I'm doing good and having fun.
— Muhammad Ali
Only a man who knows what it is 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.

defeat

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

civil rights movement identity race

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.
— Muhammad Ali

defeat sports winning & losing

Archie's been living off the fat of the land.
I'm here to give him his pension plan.
When you come to the fight don't block the door.
'Cause you'll all go home after round four.
— Muhammad Ali
Religions all have different names, but they all contain the same truths. ... I think the people of our religion should be tolerant and understand people believe different things.
— Muhammad Ali

Islam

Joe's going to come out smokin
But I ain't gonna be jokin'
I'll be pickin' and pokin'
Pouring water on his smokin'
This might shock and amaze ya
But I'm gonna destroy Joe Frazier.
— Muhammad Ali
There live a great man named Joe
who was belittled by a loudmouth foe.
While his rival would taunt and tease
Joe silently bore the stings.
And then fought like gladiator in the ring.
— Muhammad Ali
I never thought of losing, but now that it's happened, the only thing is to do it right. That's my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.
— Muhammad Ali

failure

I'm the most recognized and loved man that ever lived because  there weren't no satellites when Jesus and Moses were around, so people far away in the villages didn't know about them.
— Muhammad Ali

greatness Jesus

Wouldn't it be a beautiful world if just 10 percent of the people who believe in the power of love would compete with one another to see who could do the most good for the most people?
— Muhammad Ali

helping others love service

The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.
— Muhammad Ali

African-Americans civil rights movement Vietnam war

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.
— Muhammad Ali

friendship

Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn't choose it, and I didn't want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name - it means beloved of God - and I insist people use it when speaking to me and of me.
— Muhammad Ali

identity slavery

It would be a personal joy to see them [the Beatles] together again. The man who helps unite the Beatles makes a better contribution to human happiness than an astronomer who discovers a new star.
— Muhammad Ali
During my boxing career, you did not see the real Muhammad Ali. You just saw a little boxing. You saw only a part of me. After I retired from boxing my true work began. I have embarked on a journey of love.
— Muhammad Ali
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?
— Muhammad Ali

African-Americans civil rights movement Vietnam war

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?
— Muhammad Ali

African-Americans iconic racism Vietnam war

Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don't let yourself believe it will happen to you.
— Muhammad Ali

boxing

I'm not involved in a power struggle between black and white. I'm not trying to get power over white. I'm involved in a freedom struggle. Not a power struggle. We're not trying to take power away or rule anybody—we're just trying to get up from under the rulers.
— Muhammad Ali

civil rights movement race relations racism slavery

What's really hurting me, the name Islam is involved, and Muslim is involved and causing trouble and starting hate and violence. ... Islam is not a killer religion. ... Islam means peace, I couldn't just sit home and watch people label Muslims as the reason for this problem.
— Muhammad Ali

Islam

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 last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.
— Muhammad Ali

success will

I'm gonna fight for the prestige, not for me, but to uplift my little brothers who are sleeping on concrete floors today in America. Black people who are living on welfare, black people who can't eat, black people who don't know no knowledge of themselves, black people who don't have no future.
— Muhammad Ali
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.
— Muhammad Ali

impossible inspirational

I believe in Allah and in peace. I don't try to move into white neighborhoods. I don't want to marry a white woman. I was baptized when I was twelve, but I didn't know what I was doing. I'm not a Christian anymore. I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be...I'm free to be what I want.
— Muhammad Ali

identity Islam

I think Terrell will catch hell at the sound of the bell.
He's going around saying that he's a championship-fighter,
but when he meets me he fall 20 pound lighter.
He thinks that he's the real heavy weight champ
but when he meets me, he'll just be a tramp
Now I'm not sayin' just to be funny, but I'm fightin' Ernie because he needs the money.
— Muhammad Ali
This is the legend of Muhammad Ali, 
The greatest fighter that ever will be. 
He talks a great deal and brags, indeed. 
Of a powerful punch and blinding speed. 
Ali fights great, he's got speed and endurance. 
If you sign to fight him, increase your insurance. 
Ali's got a left, Ali's got a right; 
If he hits you once, you're asleep for the night.
— Muhammad Ali
To make America the greatest is my goal,
So I beat the Russians, and I beat the Pole,
and for the USA won the medal of gold.
Italians said: "You're Greater than the Cassius of old".
We like your name, we like your game,
So make Rome your home if you will.
I said I appreciate your kind hospitality,
But the USA is my country still,
'Cause they're waiting to welcome me in Louisville.
— Muhammad Ali
I'd like for them to say he took a few cups of love, he took one tablespoon of patience, one teaspoon of generosity, one pint of kindness. He took one quart of laughter, one pinch of concern, and then, he mixed willlingness with happiness, he added lots of faith, and he stired it up well, then he spread it over his span of a lifetime, and he served it to each and every deserving person he met.
— Muhammad Ali
My conscience won't let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn't put no dogs on me, they didn't rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. ... Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.
— Muhammad Ali

African-Americans civil rights movement iconic Vietnam war

All kinds of things set us back, but life goes on. You don't shoot yourself. Soon this will be old news. People got lives to live, bills to pay, mouths to feed. Maybe a plane will go down with ninety people on it. Or a great man will be assassinated. That will be more important than Ali losing. I never wanted to lose, never thought I would, but the thing that matters is how you lose. I'm not crying. My friends should not cry.
— Muhammad Ali
I knew I had him in the first round. Almighty God was with me. I want everyone to bear witness, I am the greatest! I'm the greatest thing that ever lived. I don't have a mark on my face, and I upset Sonny Liston, and I just turned twenty-two years old. I must be the greatest. I showed the world. I talk to God everyday. I know the real God. 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
Friendship is a priceless gift that cannot be bought nor sold, 
but its value is far greater than a mountain made of gold; 
for gold is cold & lifeless - it can neither see nor hear, 
in time of trouble its powerless to cheer — 
it has no ears to listen, no heart to understand, 
it cannot bring you comfort or reach out a helping hand. 
So when you ask God for a gift, be thankful if He sends 
not diamonds, pearls or riches but the love of real true friends.
— Muhammad Ali

friendship

I'm not gonna help nobody get something my negroes don't have. If I'm gonna die, I'll die now right here fighting you, if I'm gonna die. You my enemy. My enemies are white people, not Viet Congs or Chinese or Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. You won't even stand up for me in America for my religious beliefs, and you want me to go somewhere and fight, but you won't even stand up for me here at home.
— Muhammad Ali

African-Americans civil rights movement Vietnam war

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... We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda... They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.
— Muhammad Ali

Islam

Last night I had a dream, When I got to Africa,
I had one hell of a rumble.
I had to beat Tarzan's behind first,
For claiming to be King of the Jungle.
For this fight, I've wrestled with alligators,
I've tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And thrown thunder in jail.
You know I'm bad.
just last week, I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.
I'm so mean, I make medicine sick.
I'm so fast, man,
I can run through a hurricane and don't get wet.
When George Foreman meets me,
He'll pay his debt.
I can drown the drink of water, and kill a dead tree.
Wait till you see Muhammad Ali.
— Muhammad Ali
This is the legend of Cassius Clay,
The most beautiful fighter in the world today.
He talks a great deal, and brags indeed-y,
Of a muscular punch that's incredibly speed-y.
The fistic world was dull and weary,
But with a champ like Liston, things had to be dreary.
Then someone with color and someone with dash,
Brought fight fans a-runnin' with cash.
This brash young boxer is something to see
And the heavyweight championship is his destiny.

I am the man this poem's about,
I'll be champ of the world, there isn't a doubt.
Here I predict Mr. Liston's dismemberment,
I'll hit him so hard; he'll wonder where October and November went.
When I say two, there's never a third,
Standin against me is completely absurd.
When Cassius says a mouse can outrun a horse,
Don't ask how; put your money where your mouse is!
I AM THE GREATEST!
— Muhammad Ali
Clay comes out to meet Liston and Liston starts to retreat,
if Liston goes back an inch farther he'll end up in a ringside seat.
Clay swings with his left, Clay swings with his right,
Look at young Cassius carry the fight
Liston keeps backing, but there's not enough room,
It's a matter of time till Clay lowers the boom.
Now Clay lands with a right, what a beautiful swing,
And the punch raises the Bear clean out of the ring.
Liston is still rising and the ref wears a frown,
For he can't start counting till Sonny goes down.
Now Liston is disappearing from view, the crowd is going frantic,
But radar stations have picked him up, somewhere over the Atlantic.
Who would have thought when they came to the fight?
That they'd witness the launching of a human satellite.
Yes the crowd did not dream, when they put up the money,
That they would see a total eclipse of the Sonny.
— Muhammad Ali
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? No I'm not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn't have to draft me, I'd join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I'll go to jail, so what? We've been in jail for 400 years.
— Muhammad Ali

African-Americans civil rights movement Vietnam war