[Criteria: Fighter theoretically enters weight category of choice]
HEAVYWEIGHTS 196lbs and above: p1 Muhammad Ali p10 George Foreman p12 Joe Frazier p13 Mike Tyson p18 Larry Holmes p18 Joe Louis p20 Sonny Liston p21 Lennox Lewis p22 Jack Johnson p23 Earnie Shavers p24 Riddick Bowe p24 Deontay Wilder p25 Tyson Fury p25 Ken Norton p27 Tim Witherspoon p27 Frank Bruno p27 George Chuvalo
[9.1] MUHAMMAD ALI 61-56(37)-5: Daily Telegraph - Sammy Davis junior - George Foreman - Bob Mee - Thomas Hauser - Facing Ali 2009 - Sugar Ray Leonard - George Foreman - Muhammad Ali - Bert Randolph Sugar - Larry Holmes - Jim Murray - Floyd Patterson - Becoming Muhammad Ali TV - Howard Bingham - Angelo Dundee - Sporting Greats TV - Wladimir Klitschko - David Remnick - Marvin Dunne - Harry Carpenter - Ferdie Pacheco - Hall of Fame: Tearjerkers TV - Steve Bunce - Guardian online - When Ali Came to Britain TV - Ali's Dozen TV - Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight 2013 - Ali 2001 - I Am Ali 2014 - Peter Axthelm - Jose Torres - Ali: The Mission TV - What's My Name? Muhammad Ali 2019 -
124,381. Muhammad Ali has been all things to all men; the athlete of the millennium, civil rights campaigner, puck in a velvet robe, conscience of America, heroin to people of every race, every nationality, and every religion. Millions of words have been penned in his honour, yet no-one has succeeded in describing Ali better than Ali himself, ‘People don’t realise what they had til it’s gone …’
An illiterate black man from Louisville, Kentucky, Ali transcended the ring to become the most recognisable man on the planet. His first and feet were quick but his tongue was even quicker, delivering a rapid-fire collection of poems, one-liners and brash predictions …
‘Man, did we have fun,’ recalls Dundee … ‘Muhammad was the happiest human being on this earth – still is. An absolute joy to be with, Most special man that ever was born.’ The Telegraph article Robert Philip, ‘The People’s Champ with a heart of gold’
39,304. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Heavyweight champion of the world to me – Muhammad Ali. Sammy Davis junior, live televised show
4,588. Muhammad Ali was the greatest man to ever box. He was the greatest man to do an interview. He was the greatest man to do about anything that’s ever been done. (Man & Boxing & Great & Compliment & Cool) George Foreman
96,347. ‘Just lost a fight, that's all,’ he said after Joe Frazier had beaten him in Madison Square Garden a month after Bob Dylan's 30th birthday. ‘There are more important things to worry about in life. Probably be a better man for it. News don’t last long.’ (Boxing & Lose) Bob Mee, Simply a Hero
96,348. And always that personality shone through. ibid.
96,349. Ali was the best in an era of special heavyweights. ibid.
96,350. The man made mistakes, no doubt he used and abused his share of people like everyone else, but what we have now is a man who has retained his dignity. ibid.
96,351. Ali was an exceptional athlete, a miracle worker in the toughest sporting activity of them all, a man whose longevity appeared to contain some kind of eternal youth. And, please let no one ever forget it, he was a man of extraordinary bravery. ibid.
96,352. And when he should have been resting from a career that had probably already harmed his body beyond repair, they fed him with weight reducing drugs and sent him out to face Larry Holmes. ibid.
96,353. ‘That’s all I am – a man.’
A man, yes. But a man who has made a whole generation, maybe more, better for his living. (Boxing & Man) ibid.
96,369. Muhammad and Lonnie have been married since 1986, but their relationship dates back to 1962, when Lonnie's family moved into a house across the street from Mr and Mrs Clay. Thomas Hauser, A Quiet Wedding
96,370. ‘He was kind, gentle, handsome, terribly sure of himself. I thought he was the most magnificent person in the world. Around the time I was 17, I developed an enormous crush. And this might sound strange, but I knew at 17 that someday I’d marry Muhammad.’ ibid. Lonnie
124,445. Both of his eyes were at the top of his head. Facing Ali, 2009, Henry Cooper
124,446. I thought Liston was going to tear him apart. ibid. George Chuvalo
124,447. I don’t believe in forced integration. ibid. Muhammad
124,448. Turning my back on Malcolm X was one of the mistakes that I regret most in life. ibid.
124,449. I didn’t want to be a leader. I just wanted to be free. ibid.
124,450. He was very very quick. ibid. George Chuvalo
124,451. Either free me or put me in jail because I’m going to go on like I am, taking my stand. ibid. Muhammad
124,452. I was determined to be the one nigger that the white man didn’t get. ibid.
124,453. It’s bad to predict against me. ibid.
124,454. Imagine your jaw being broken and you have to go another ten rounds. ibid.
124,457. You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned? Wait till I whup Foreman’s behind. ibid.
124,458. Ali v Foreman: What a Hollywood ending. ibid. George Chuvalo
40,103. Muhammad Ali was a god, an idol and an icon. He was boxing. Any kid that had the opportunity to talk to Ali, to get advice from Muhammad Ali, was privileged. He’s always given me time to ask questions, although I was so in awe that I didn’t ask questions. Sugar Ray Leonard
39,366. Muhammad Ali was the greatest celebrity ever ... What a celebrity! What a fighter! (Boxing & Celebrity & Great) George Foreman
39,367. When I was a little boy, a teenager, they would say, ‘Cassius Clay is going to be on television!’ I didn’t have a television. I’d run for miles to find a television. And he’d say: ‘I’m pretty! I’m beautiful.’ And everybody would look: He’s pretty! He’s beautiful! Oh what a wonderful treat his was ... I am still in awe of him. (Boxing & Television) George Foreman
39,305. I love boxing and it did a lot for me. But sometimes it made me think how savage human beings could be to each other. That wasn’t the kind of boxer I wanted to be. My strategy was to be as scientific as I could when I fought. I didn’t want to be seriously hurt, and I didn’t want to do that to anybody else either. Muhammad Ali, The Soul of a Butterfly
39,306. When you saw me in the boxing ring fighting, it wasn’t just so I could beat my opponent. My fighting had a purpose. I had to be successful in order to get people to listen to the things I had to say. ibid.
128. Get ready to meet God. (God & Boxing & Meet) Muhammad Ali, interview Reg Gutteridge, cited When Ali Came to Newcastle
130. I would like to say that I didn’t lose a thing up until this very moment. I haven’t lost one thing. O have gained a lot. Number one: I have gained a peace of mind. I have gained a peace of heart. I now know that I am in content with almighty God himself, whose proper name is Allah. (God & Boxing & Lose) Muhammad Ali
2,113. Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don’t let yourself believe it will happen to you. (Life’s Like That & Boxing & Accidents & Gamble) Muhammad Ali
5,256. It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up. (Job & Boxing) [cf. Sugar Ray Leonard] Muhammad Ali
5,424. See, the greatest sports title mean nothing, mister, if you cannot be free, see. Boys in Vietnam are throwing away, you may say, their lives. I haven’t did that much. They are dying today to free somebody they don’t know. I’m still living. So what in the hell is a heavyweight title and a few sneaker dollar bills for my people’s freedom? (Freedom & Boxing & Vietnam & Dissent) Muhammad Ali, television interview
9,603. He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. (Courage & Risk & Boxing) Muhammad Ali
28,639. My name is not Clay. Clay is the name of the people that owned my ancestors, and I no longer wanna be called by that slave name. (Slavery & Name & Boxing) Muhammad Ali
29,583. I ain’t got no quarrel with the Viet-Cong. (Vietnam & Boxing & Quarrel) Muhammad Ali