Muhammad Ali’s Most Famous Quotes [1942-2016]


“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Rumble, young man, rumble.” — 1964, before his fight with Sonny Liston. “I’m king of the world! I’m pretty! I’m a bad man! I shook up the world! I shook up the world! I shook up the world!” — Feb. 25, 1964, Ali after defeating Sonny Liston.

___ “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.” — Undated.

___ “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.” — Feb. 17, 1966, Ali’s famous explanation of why he refused to serve in the United States Army.

___ “You serious? I got to stay here and lead my people to the right man — Elijah Muhammad.” — when asked why he doesn’t flee the country in an interview by Robert Lipsyte of The New York Times on April 26, 1967, two days before refusing induction into military service.

___ “I’ve done my celebrating already. I said a prayer to Allah.” — June 28, 1971, on being told his conviction for draft evasion was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

___ “They did what they thought was right, and I did what I thought was right.” — on government’s long effort to send him to prison.

___ “I told you all, all of my critics, that I was the greatest of all time. … Never make me the underdog until I’m about 50 years old.” — Oct. 1, 1974, after knocking out George Foreman to become heavyweight champion for the second time, in Kinshasa, Zaire.

___ “I saw your wife. You’re not as dumb as you look.” — To President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines a few days before he beat Joe Frazier in the Thrilla in Manila on Oct. 1, 1975.

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___ “My gloves are going to jail! They ain’t done nothin’ — yet.” — on being told the commission member in charge of the gloves would keep them in a prison until his fight against Joe Bugner on July 1, 1975, at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

___ “My name is known in Serbia, Pakistan, Morocco. These are countries that don’t follow the Kentucky Derby.” — New York Times interview, April 1977.

___ “All I can do is fight for truth and justice. I can’t save anybody. He’s a science fiction character, and I’m a real character

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