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50 of the greatest boxing quotes ever

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Boxing is a sport full of colourful characters who’ve ushered many powerful words. Boxers and their trainers have unique perspectives on life that people find meaningful, empowering and at times downright comedic. Unlike the general public, fighters tend to tell it bluntly. Some of the greatest lines have come out of boxing, and their wise and hard-hitting words are worth preserving.

The fighting. The training. The trainers. The inspiration. The greatest boxers. These are 50 of the greatest boxing quotes ever spoken.

13 quotes on fighting.

The following quotes are all about what happens in the ring. The pain. The glory. The art. And what goes on in the ring doesn’t always stay in the ring — it often bleeds out in everyday life.

‘If you screw up in boxing, it’s your ass’.

—Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb

‘Once that bell rings, you’re on your own. It’s just you and the other guy’.

—Joe Louis

‘He went to the hospital with bleeding kidneys… I went dancing with my wife’.

—George Chuvalo

‘Rhythm is everything in boxing…’.

—Sugar Ray Robinson

‘…I want the public to see a knockout in the making’.

—Sugar Ray Leonard

‘Boxing is like chess. You encourage your opponent to make mistakes so you can capitalise on it. People think you get in the ring and see the red mist. But it’s not about aggression. Avoiding getting knocked out is tactical’.

—Nicola Adams

‘My goal is not getting hit and to knock the other guy out. Some people might complain because they want to see boxers beat up on each other. But you cannot last long in professional boxing if you take a lot of punches’.

—Wladimir Klitschko

‘I’m scared every time I go into the ring. But it’s how you handle it. What you have to do is plant your feet, bite down on your mouthpiece and say, “Let’s go”’.

—Mike Tyson

‘Sometimes emotions can win fights. Sometimes letting your feelings out in a fight can win you the fight. When it means the world to you, it’s not just a sports contest – a boxing match for money or belts’.

—Tyson Fury

‘In boxing, you create a strategy to beat each new opponent. It’s just like chess.

—Lennox Lewis

‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’.

―Mike Tyson 

‘Fighting is dancing. Look at a great boxing match and it’s a dancing.’

—David Lyons

‘I love challenges. I love intensity. And I also like to challenge my mind. Believe it or not, boxing is not only about physical force. You use a lot of concentration. It’s really mental’.

—Adriana Lima

6 quotes on training.

Fights are won or lost behind the scenes long before the fighters step foot in the ring, they say. The gruelling regimes, the intense labour and the hours of torture in the shadows, while nobody’s watching, are where champions are made. Some of the most valuable lessons in fighting and life are learned while training.

‘If you work hard in training, the fight is easy.’

—Manny Pacquiao

‘You never lose until you actually give up’.

—Mike Tyson

‘I hated every minute of training. But I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.

–Muhammad Ali

‘The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses — behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.’

—Muhammad Ali

‘…If I survived the Marines, I can survive Ali’.

—Chuck Wepner

‘I’m training and preparing because nothing is predictable in boxing. I’m preparing for those rounds. And if it happens that I get a shot, whatever advantage I have, I will be ready for 12 rounds’. 

—Canelo Alvarez

4 quotes from the trainers.

The trainers of great fighters get a unique perspective on what it really takes to succeed. Their words of wisdom come from decades of dedication to carving giants.

‘The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters’. 

—Cus D’amato

‘We gon’ float like a butterfly, sting like a bee…” 

—Bundini

‘We got so accustomed to it we thought we deserved it’.

—Angelo Dundee

‘…it’s what you do with fear that matters.”

—Cus D’Amato

11 quotes that inspire.

Champion boxers are the gladiators of our age and a source of inspiration for millions of people. Sometimes a few words can compel someone to achieve greatness in their own life.

‘Bruce Lee was an artist and, like him, I try to go beyond the fundamentals of my sport. I want the public to see a knockout in the making’. 

—Sugar Ray Leonard

‘The loss just made me hungry. It made me want to go out and win another title’. 

—Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns

‘Getting hit motivates me. It makes me punish the guy more. A fighter takes a punch, hits back with three punches’.

—Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran

‘To become a champion, fight one more round’.

—James Corbett

‘A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t’.

—Jack Dempsey

‘Don’t count the days. Make the days count’.

—Muhammad Ali

‘To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else will’.

 —Sugar Ray Robinson

‘A champion shows who he is by what he does when he’s tested. When a person gets up and says ‘I can still do it’, he’s a champion’.

—Evander Holyfield

‘Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision’.

—Muhammad Ali

‘We all fight for money, some for power. But most of all for love. But me, I fight to become a champion’.

—Jonathan Anthony Burkett

‘In boxing, it is about the obsession of getting the most from yourself. Wanting to dominate the world like a hungry young lion’.

—Anthony Joshua

16 quotes from the greatest boxers.

The greatest fighters, the masters of their craft, get a bird’s-eye view from the top of the mountain that very few will ever get a chance to see. 

‘I’m not God, but I am something similar.’

—Roberto Duran

‘The temptation for greatness is the biggest drug in the world.’

—Mike Tyson

‘I fight for perfection’.

—Mike Tyson

‘Sure the fight was fixed. I fixed it with a right hand.’

—George Foreman

‘He can have heart. He can hit harder and he can be stronger. But there’s no fighter smarter than me.’ 

—Floyd Mayweather Jr.

‘Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it’.

—George Foreman

‘Boxing’s a poor man’s sport. We can’t afford to play golf or tennis. It is what it is. It’s kept so many kids off the street. It kept me off the street’. 

—Sugar Ray Leonard

‘Boxing is real easy. Life is much harder’.

—Floyd Mayweather Jr.

‘I have always adhered to two principles. The first one is to train hard and get in the best possible physical condition. The second is to forget all about the other fellow until you face him in the ring and the bell sounds for the fight’.
—Rocky Marciano

‘I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!’ 

—Mike Tyson

‘I beat Larry Holmes and George Foreman. I whupped Mike Tyson twice. I had my ear chewed off and spat on the ground in front of me. I’ve seen everything it is possible to see in boxing. I know this business better than anyone. So I live and die by my own decisions.’

—Evander Holyfield

‘Boxing has been my life and it is my life. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it’.

—Roy Jones Jr.

‘I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was’.

—Muhammad Ali

‘Take the time to train your mind’.

―Floyd Mayweather 

‘Boxing is the toughest and loneliest sport in the world’.

—Frank Bruno

‘All fighters are prostitutes and all promoters are pimps’.

—Larry Holmes

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