As the world pays tribute to the man Muhammad Ali, we look back at some of his greatest quotes. Beyond being the greatest boxer that ever lived, Ali was a brilliant mind, a simply enthralling character.
Any avid sports follower will attest to the fact that it’s rare to find brute and brains in one package, but Ali had it all, he had the ability to throw heavy punches in the ring as well as drop philosophical punchlines, some of which will forever be ingrained into the fabric of society. Here is all you need to know about the boxing legend.
Some of the already known things about the greatest of time include the fact that he was born a Christian (Cassius Clay) but later converted to Islam in the 1970s. Muhammad who was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, became inclined to box at an early age of 12 after he felt the need to fight a man who stole his bike.
His first amateur bout was in 1954 when he won by split decision. Ali also won 1956 Golden Gloves, National Golden Gloves, and other amateur bouts. His first Olympic Gold was in the 1960s when he defeated Zbigniew Pietrzkowski from Poland to win the light heavyweight Olympic gold medal. This not only earned him international elevation but also the title, American Hero.
Muhammad Ali converted to Islam as his profile rose, and refused to serve in the Vietnam war which he widely spoke against. Being a strong Islamic icon, Ali resisted when he was asked to fight in the war on the grounds that his beliefs contradicted the massive fightings and killings. This singular act of his earned the greatest boxer a lot of admirers, friends, and foes alike.
Muhammad became a civil rights activist and campaigner and inspired many with his courage, wits, and eloquence.
He died on June 3, 2016, at the age of 74, in Arizona. Following a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, he lost his life after he was rushed to the hospital with breathing problems.
Net Worth, Achievements
Ali’s net worth was estimated at $60 million during his time in heavyweight. According to Forbes, his net worth before he died was $80 million. By winning some of the highest profile fights, Muhammad’s earnings cum net worth grew massively over the years. He was a philanthropist and did well to cater for his very large family.
Though some were self-acclaimed, most of the titles borne by the boxer were given him by tons of admirers of his person. Some were from various sports media and social platforms across the globe.
Ali was given the ‘second best fighter of the century’ by ESPN. He was named the ‘greatest heavyweight in boxing history’ by Ring Magazine. Two times he won Presidential medals from two US presidents; Bill Clinton and George .W. Bush.
Spouse, Children, Family
There’s not much to emulate about the personal life of Ali who had many wives and concubines. A woman Barbara Mensah has come forward several times with claims of being in a relationship with Muhammad Ali and having a daughter Kiiursti Mensah-Ali. Kiiursti during the funeral of the great boxer pleaded with the family to be allowed to mourn her father at the funeral.
Muhammad Ali got married to his first wife, Sonji Roi in 1964. The marriage which lasted for only two years without kids, ended in 1966 after the couple divorced on grounds of religious differences.
Single again, Ali ventured into another marriage the following year, tieing the knot with Belinda Boyd. He and Belinda had four children together; Maryum, Rashida, Jemmilah, and Muhammad Ali Jnr.
While still married to Belinda, late Ali had an extramarital affair with Wanda Bolton who gave him a daughter, Khaliah in 1974. It wasn’t just Khaliah, Ali also had another daughter, Miya, from another affair.
This opened the doors of his marriage with Belinda to fights, quarrels, discord, and bitterness. Belinda could no longer tolerate Ali’s unruliness when the boxer began another affair with Veronica Porche, a model. In 1977 his marriage to Belinda came to an end and he tied the knot with his mistress Veronica with whom he had two daughters; Hanna and Laila. The 9-year old marriage ended in a divorce in 1986.
Ali married again that same year to Yolanda Williams, and together, the couple adopted a son Asaad Amin.
Top 20 Quotes
1. 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, and they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.
2. I am so fast that last night I turned off the light switch and was in bed before the room was dark.
3. Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee, your hands can’t hit, what your eyes can’t see.
4. If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.
5. Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beating each other up.
6. I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.
7. It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am.
8.It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.
9. Live every day like it’s your last because someday you’re going to be right.
10. A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted thirty years of his life.
11. I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale, handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean I make medicine sick.
12. Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it, and I didn’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name, and I insist people using it when speaking to me and of me.
13. I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
14. 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.
15. Don’t count the days, make the days count.
16. 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.
17. Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
18. 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.
19. It’s not bragging if you can back it up.
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.
Muhammad Ali had a very intimidating height which gave him an edge over his opponents. Standing at a height of 6ft 3 inches, Ali could swing his fists to reach his rival with ease. His body weight of 107 kg and strong physique made the greatest of all time to stand out always on the ring.