Everybody stop talking now. Attention!
I told you! All my critics, I told you that I was the greatest of all times when I beat Sonny Liston. I tell you today, I’m still the greatest of all times. Never again say that I’m going to be defeated. Never again make me the underdog. Until I’m about 50 years old, then you might get me.
I didn’t dance and I didn’t dance for a reason. I wanted to make him lose all his power. I was talking to him throughout the fight too. I kept telling him that he has no punch, couldn’t hit, he’s swinging like a sissy, he’s missing, let me see ya box! And I hadn’t started dancing yet! You can’t say my legs is gone, you can’t say I was tired, because what happened? I didn’t dance from the second round on.
I stayed on the ropes! And when I stay on the ropes you think I’m doing bad. But I want all boxers to put this in the page of boxing: staying on the ropes is a beautiful thing with a heavyweight, when you make him shoot his best shots, and you know he’s not hitting you. I gave George two rounds of steady punching, because after that he was mine.
I was talking to him. Told him he has no power. In the clinches, I said, “Shoot your best shot. I’m going back to the ropes.” I was blocking, and I was pulling back. I have a radar built inside me to avoid punches. I told you, “I’m gonna float like a butterfly and sting like a bee/ His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.” So that’s what happened.
I told you I’m the real Champion! Bow, ya’ll bow. All of my critics, crawl! All of you suckers who write for Ring magazine, for Boxing Illustrated, all of you suckers bow. Because the stage was set!
You made him great! You made him a bad Joe Louis! You made him a hard puncher! But I want everybody from this moment on to recognize me as the Scholar of Boxing! If you want to know any damn thing about boxing, don’t go to no boxing experts in Las Vegas, don’t go to no Jimmy the Greek, come to Muhammad Ali! I am the man!
Ain’t I the greatest of all times?