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quotations about boxing

If there's magic in boxing, it's the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It's the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.

PAUL HAGGIS, Million Dollar Baby

I hated the sight on TV of big, clumsy, lumbering heavyweights plodding, stalking each other like two Frankenstein monsters, clinging, slugging toe to toe. I knew I could do it better ... circle, dance, shuffle, hit and move ... make an art out of it.

MUHAMMAD ALI, attributed, Book of African-American Quotations

Everyone in boxing probably makes out well except for the fighter. He's the only one that's on Skid Row most of the time; he's the only one that everybody just leaves when he loses his mind. He sometimes goes insane, he sometimes goes on the bottle, because it's an intensive pressure sport that allows people to just lose it.

MIKE TYSON, Boxing Monthly, Aug. 2000

Boxing is the magic of men in combat, the magic of will, and skill, and pain, and the risking of everything so you can respect yourself for the rest of your life.

F.X. TOOLE, introduction, Million Dollary Baby

To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

JACK HANDEY, Deep Thoughts

Watching George [Foreman] come back to win the title got me all excited. Made me want to come back. But then the next morning came, and it was time to start running. I lay back in bed and said, "That's okay, I'm still the Greatest."

MUHAMMAD ALI, Esquire, Feb. 2012

Boxing is smoky halls and kidneys battered until they bleed.

ROGER KAHN, "Intellectuals and Ball Players," American Scholar, Nov. 3, 1957

Unlike any other sport, the objective in boxing is chillingly simple: One man purposefully endeavors to inflict bodily harm on another man.

HOWARD COSELL, I Never Played the Game

When I fight someone, I want to break his will. I want to take his manhood. I want to rip out his heart and show it to him.

MIKE TYSON, Sports Illustrated, Mar. 1988

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

Boxing is about being hit rather more than it is about hitting, just as it is about feeling pain, if not devastating psychological paralysis, more than it is about winning.


A real boxer can see Stallone's not a boxer. He's not professional, doesn't have the moves. It's good acting, but it's not boxing. Look in the background. Look at that guy in the red trunks back there. You can see he's a real fighter.

MUHAMMAD ALI, interview with Roger Ebert, "Watching Rocky II With Muhammad Ali"

Boxing is just show business with blood.

FRANK BRUNO, London Guardian, Nov. 19, 1991

Boxing was on the one hand barbaric, unconscionable, out of place in modern society. But then, so are war, racism, poverty, and pro football. Men died boxing, yet there was nobility in defending oneself.

RALPH WILEY, Serenity: A Boxing Memoir

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.

MUHAMMAD ALI, The Soul of a Butterfly

Boxing is a sport at its most brutal, most primitive, and most natural. Two men defending their honor and courage, in a ring surrounded by observers, whose love for the sport is essentially spiritual. Boxing is the last refuge of the modern day warror.

THOMAS DONELSON, Viewing Boxing from Ringside

Boxing is drama on its grandest scale.

HOWARD COSELL, I Never Played the Game

It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.

MUHAMMAD ALI, BBC Sport, Jan. 17, 2007

People abhor boxing, and I agree, but I admire men and women who can stand in a ring like that, nowhere to hide. I've only been to a couple of boxing matches, and they're different from any other event. I'm not there to see blood; I'm there for the heart of someone being able to get up and keep going. And for the respect that's often there in the end.

MARKUS ZUSAK, "On Top of His Game: SLJ Interviews Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner Markus Zusak", School Library Journal, Jun. 2, 2014

For the black man to come out superior would be against America's teachings. I have been so great in boxing they had to create an image like Rocky, a white image on the screen, to counteract my image in the ring. America has to have its white images, no matter where it gets them. Jesus, Wonder Woman, Tarzan and Rocky.

MUHAMMAD ALI, interview with Roger Ebert, "Watching Rocky II With Muhammad Ali"


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