Video: The man nicknamed the 'Louisville Lip' at his best By Marc Strydom
"I knew I had him in the first round. Almighty God was with me. I want everyone to bear witness‚ I am the greatest! I'm the greatest thing that ever lived. Videos after cut...
"I don't have a mark on my face‚ and I upset Sonny Liston‚ and I just turned 22 years old. I must be the greatest.
"I showed the world. I talk to God every day. I know the real God. I shook up the world‚ I'm the king of the world.
You must listen to me. I am the greatest! I can't be beat!" - After defeating Sonny Liston for the first time in 1964.
"Clay comes out to meet Liston and Liston starts to retreat‚
"Man‚ I ain't got no quarrel with them Vietcong. No Vietcong ever called me nigger. - In 1967‚ when US boxing authorities stripped Ali of his world title and suspended his boxing license following his refusal to be drafted into the army.
"Ain't no reason for me to kill nobody in the ring‚ unless they deserve it." - After his fight with Jimmy Ellis was stopped in the 12th round in 1971.
"If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologise." - To challenger Joe Bugner in 1973.
"I said last night‚ I had a dream. When I got to Africa I had one Hell of a rumble‚ I had to beat Tarzan's behind first for claiming to be the king of the jungle.
"For this fight I wrestled with an alligator‚ I've tussled with a whale‚ I done handcuffed lightning and put thunder in jail. You know I'm bad‚ I have murdered a rock‚ I injured a stone and I hospitalised a brick‚ I'm so bad I make medicine sick.
"I'm so fast‚ man‚ I can run through a hurricane and don't get wet‚ when George Foreman meets me he'll pay his debt.
"I can drown a drink of water and kill a dead tree‚ wait 'til you see Muhammad Ali." - Ali’s poem ahead of the Rumble in the Jungle with George Foreman in Kinshasa‚ in then-Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1974.
"If you were surprised when Nixon resigned‚ just watch what happens when I whup Foreman's behind!" - Comment prior to the Rumble in the Jungle.
"Stay in College‚ get the knowledge‚ stay there until you are through. If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread‚ they can sure make something of you!" - On education
"Joe Frazier is so ugly that when he cries‚ the tears turn around and go down the back of his head." - Before the Thrilla in Manilla in 1975.
"This is the legend of Muhammad Ali‚ The greatest fighter that ever will be. He talks a great deal and brags‚ indeed.
"Of a powerful punch and blinding speed. Ali fights great‚ he's got speed and endurance. If you sign to fight him‚ increase your insurance.
"Ali's got a left‚ Ali's got a right; If he hits you once‚ you're asleep for the night." - After the Thrilla.
"I heard somethin' once. When somebody asked a marathon runner what goes through his mind in the last mile or two‚ he said that you ask yourself‚ 'Why am I doin' this?' You get so tired.
"It takes so much out of you mentally. It changes you. It makes you go a little insane. I was thinkin' that at the end. Why am I doin' this? What am I doin' in here against this beast of a man? It's so painful. I must be crazy.
"I always bring out the best in the men I fight‚ but Joe Frazier‚ I'll tell the world right now‚ brings out the best in me. I'm gonna tell ya‚ that's one helluva man‚ and God bless him." - Also after the Thrilla.
"Cosell‚ you're a phony‚ and that thing on your head comes from the tail of a pony. - To sports caster and friend Howard Cosell‚ who responded with: "You're being extremely truculent." Ali replied: "Whatever 'truculent' means‚ if that's good‚ I'm that."
"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." - In a press conference ahead of the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974‚ explaining why he would beat Foreman.
"People don't realise what they had until it's gone. Like President Kennedy‚ nobody like him. Like The Beatles‚ there will never be anything like them. Like my man‚ Elvis Presley. I was the Elvis of boxing." - Ali on his retirement on 1979‚ though he returned to the ring in 1980 and 1981.
"Float like a butterfly sting like a bee - his hands can't hit what his eyes can't see." - Used before his first title showdown with Liston‚ before repeating it ahead of his 1974 fight with George Foreman. -TMG Digital