The American boxer was the Heavyweight Champion of the World on three occasions, between 1964 and 1979, and he is regarded as the greatest boxer to ever grace the ring.

A controversial figure, fervent civil rights and social justice advocate, Ali famously proclaimed himself as “The Greatest”, and remained an inspiration to many people across the world after his retirement.

Through his wise words, and remarkable achievements, Ali leaves an indelible mark and a great legacy, which will continue to inspire future generations. May he rest in eternal peace.

In remembrance of Ali, we look at some of his well-known and inspirational words.

1. “Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee. You can’t hit what your eyes don’t see”.

2. “I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was. I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I was really the greatest”.  1964.





3. “Impossible is just a 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 potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing”.

Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr Photo: ANP

4. “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”. On his refusal to enlist to fight in Vietnam, March, 1967.

5. “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?” .

Explaining his refusal to enlist to fight in Vietnam, March, 1967.

6. “I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail. We’ve been in jail for four hundred years”.






Explaining his refusal to enlist to fight in Vietnam, March, 1967.

Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr Photo: ANP

Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr Photo: ANP

7. “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life”.

November 1975.

8. “Friendship is a priceless gift that cannot be bought nor sold, but its value is far greater than a mountain made of gold”.

Explaining his view on friendship.

9. “Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are”. August 1992.

10. “I’d like for them to say he took a few cups of love, he took one tablespoon of patience, teaspoon of generosity, one pint of kindness. He took one quart of laughter, one pinch of concern, and then, he mix willingness with happiness, he added lots of faith, and he stirred it up well, then he spreads it over his span of a lifetime, and he served it to each and every deserving person he met”.

On how he wanted to be remembered, interview with David Frost, 1972.

Source: This is Africa