10 times Muhammad Ali had the perfect way with words


Muhammad Ali became famous for his quotes and enlivened many a news conference and training session with his poems.

His poems made people laugh (and sometimes cringe) while his quotes left people feeling inspired. Here are 10 of his best:

1. When Ali was still Cassius Clay in 1962

"Everyone knew when I stepped in town, I was the greatest fighter around.

A lot of people called me a clown, but I am the one who called the round.

The people came to see a great fight, but all I did was put out the light.

Never put your money against Cassius Clay, for you will never have a lucky day."

2. In a sermon at apostolic church in 1983

"Why are all the angels white? Why ain't there no black angels?"

3. To Larry Holmes before his one-sided loss in a bid to become fourth-time heavyweight champion, October 2 1980

"I got speed and endurance. You'd better increase your insurance."

4. Before losing to Joe Frazier in their first fight, March 8 1971

"Joe's gonna come out smokin' but I ain't gonna be jokin'

This might shock and amaze ya, but I'm going to destroy Joe Frazier."

cassius clay during a pre fight lunch in London

5. In his famous explanation of why he refused to serve in the United States Army, February 17 1966

"I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong."

6. On the government's long effort to send him to prison

"They did what they thought was right, and I did what I thought was right."

7. On being told his conviction for draft evasion was overturned by the US Supreme Court, June 28 1971

"I've done my celebrating already. I said a prayer to Allah."

Muhammad Ali in the ring (PA)

8. Before regaining the title by upsetting George Foreman, October 30 1974

"You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned? Wait 'til I whup George Foreman's behind.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hand 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.

I done wrassled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale.

Only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick. I'm so mean, I make medicine sick."

9. On being crowned Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC in 1999

"I had a good time boxing. I enjoyed it - and I may come back."

10. After knocking out George Foreman to become heavyweight champion for the second time in Kinshasa, Zaire, October 1 1974

"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."