“It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”
A legendary sportsman and a fighter both inside and outside the boxing ring, Muhammad Ali was never one to mince words. If anything, he unapologetically spoke his mind and was fully aware of his greatness.
Had he been alive, the boxing legend would have turned 79 on January 17. He wasn’t just a three-time heavyweight champion, who defeated greats such as Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston and George Foreman. He was also a cultural icon and civil rights hero. However, the heavyweight champion wasn’t known just for his iconic fights. He was also famous for his witty one-liners, signature quotes and his pre-bout talk.
He delivered his punches as well as words with equal ferocity, and his quotes have endured for years. Here are 10 of his iconic quotes that remind his fans across the world that his influence will last forever:
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.
Don’t count the days; make the days count.
It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.
I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.
If you even dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize.
There are no pleasures in a fight, but some of my fights have been a pleasure to win.
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.
I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.
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.
Ali announced retirement in 1979 but stayed close to the boxing scene. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984, and his health condition worsened around 2013. On June 2, 2016, he was admitted to hospital for mild respiratory problems. He breathed his last the following day. Ali’s funeral was held a week later in a ceremony that he had himself planned years earlier! That’s vintage Muhammad Ali for you.