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Muhammad Ali: A Transcendent Life: Boxing Excellence

A collaborative project between the UofL Muhammad Ali Institute and the University Libraries.


Muhammad Ali was the GOAT – The Greatest of All Time. He was a superior athlete known for his distinctive boxing style, hand and foot speed, and powerful punch. Ali was called a “butterfly in a land of caterpillars” because he was a heavyweight who moved like a lightweight to “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Ali’s famous “rope-a-dope” strategy, tiring opponents by dodging offensive punches, helped him reclaim the world heavyweight championship title in his 1974 match against George Foreman. Ali exhibited extraordinary confidence from the very beginning of his career using poetry and predictions about his boxing wins, making him a unique athletic competitor. In a 1963 National Public Radio audio file of Ali’s poem, "I Am The Greatest," he predicted a win in his first world heavyweight title match against Sonny Liston.