Muhammad Ali was not only a boxing champion, he was a championship talker. Following are some quotations from Ali, who died on Friday at 74:
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- 'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.'
- 'It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.'
- 'Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.'
- '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.'
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- 'I've wrestled with alligators. I've tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning, and throw thunder in jail. You know I'm bad. Just last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I'm so mean, I make medicine sick.'
- 'I'm not the greatest. I'm the double greatest. Not only do I knock 'em out, I pick the round. I'm the boldest, the prettiest, the most superior, most scientific, most skillfullest fighter in the ring today.'
- 'I know I got it made while the masses of black people are catchin' hell but as long as they ain't free, I ain't free.'
- 'I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.'
- 'I may not talk perfect white talk-type English but I give you wisdom.'
- 'If Ali says a mosquito can pull a plow, don't ask how. Hitch him up!'
- 'I'm the onliest person that can speak to everybody in the whole world. My name is known in Serbia, Pakistan, Morocco. These are countries that don't follow the Kentucky Derby.'
- 'Sometimes I feel a little sad because I can see how some things I said could upset some people. But I did not deliberately try to hurt anyone. The hype was part of my job, like skipping rope.'
- 'Now the things that once were so effortless—my strong voice and the quickness of my movements—are more difficult. But I get up every day and try to live life to the fullest because each day is a gift from God.'