Boxing quotes

Jim Driscoll statue in Cardiff

Jim Driscoll: “I never break a promise”

Some classic quotes from the world of boxing, feel free to add your own at the bottom of the page.

Welsh boxing quotes:

“The side’s all right, but my bloody knees are killing me!”
Dai Dower to his father, the day after losing to Young Martin, whose body blows sent the Welshman to the canvas 11 times

“Some were scattered about the ring, one or two went in the sawdust tub, one I spat out as I fell, and I am thundering sure I swallowed a couple”
Johnny Basham on the fate of his teeth after a punch from Johnny Summers

“Can’t see can you?… Well how the ****did you find your way back to the corner then?!”
Eddie Thomas in the corner with Colin Jones. Jones told Thomas he was ‘blind’ after suffering a first-round knock-down against Milton McCrory in Las Vegas

“In America they had no chance – I knocked them all cold in America”
Jimmy Wilde

“The greatest fighter I ever saw”
Gene Tunney on Jimmy Wilde

“I never break a promise”
Jim Driscoll on returning to Wales for a charity show in favour of a world title fight against Abe Attell in the US

“The referee allowed Freddie to butt me till I couldn’t stand it any longer. I thought I’d let him see that I was a better goat than he was”
Jim Driscoll after his disqualification against Freddie Welsh for head-butting

“I can’t say that I ever worried much about what people thought or said of me. I like to be liked, and have often wished that I could be as much loved as Jim Driscoll, say, but I have never been able to bow down to rules and regulations”
Freddie Welsh after his controversial win over Driscoll

“Every time I hear the name Joe Louis, my nose starts to bleed”
Tommy Farr

“After the mines, what is fighting? Fighting is child’s play”
Tommy Farr

“As long as there’s this welfare state of ours we’re not going to have any good fighters”
Tommy Farr, who fought his way up from poverty and the pits

“The nearest I have ever seen to the great Willie Pep”
Angelo Dundee on Howard Winstone

Worldwide boxing quotes:

“A lot of boxers’ features change – mainly when I fight ‘em”
Muhammad Ali

“I don’t have nothing against the Viet Cong. They never call me nigger. If I have to die I’ll die fighting for freedom here”
Muhammad Ali

“Sit down, son. It’s all over. No-one will ever forget what you did here today”
Eddie Futch to Joe Frazier at the end of the 14th round of the Thrilla in Manila

“Count 10 over him – he’ll get up”
Wilson Mizner, manager of Stanley Ketchel, hears that Ketchel had been shot dead by an irate husband in 1910

“First your legs go. Then you lose your reflexes. Then you lose your friends”
Willie Pep

“Life is the best left hooker I ever saw, although some say it was Charlie White of Chicago”
Ernest Hemingway

“No, get me a people doctor”
Dying words of Max Baer on phone to hotel operator who asks if he wants the house doctor

“Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing – but none of them serious”
Alan Minter

“On the way here this guy steps up to us and says, ‘Would you like to join Jehovah’s Witnesses?’ and Rocky (Graziano) says ‘I didn’t see nuttin!’”
Jake LaMotta

“People tell me it was a great left hook, but I wouldn’t know. I never saw it”
Gene Fullmer on his KO by Sugar Ray Robinson

“Because the ref counted to 10. They’ll generally stop it when they do that”
Fullmer’s manager Merv Jensen when asked by his fighter why the referee stopped the Robinson fight

“Not to be egotistical, but I don’t think there is a man on this planet who can beat me”
Mike Tyson

“Who should Hagler fight next? How about Russia?”
An awe-struck observer after Marvin Hagler’s three-round demolition of Thomas Hearns

“It don’t matter as long as he can count up to 10”
Sonny Liston when asked which referee he’d prefer for his fight with Floyd Patterson

“Had I hit Frazier as hard as he hit me, I would have been champion”
Jimmy Ellis after losing to Joe Frazier

“Talk of fighting Tyson is a little premature. I’m an addict and an alcoholic”
Mike Dokes

“Prizefighting ain’t the noblest of arts and I ain’t the noblest artist”
Harry Greb

“I’ve got it! I’ve got it! It’ll make front-page headlines around the world. You can have me kidnapped, and then a couple of days before the fight I’ll show up again”
Mummad Ali’s solution for trying to sell an unattractive 1971 fight against Buster Mathis

“All I want to do is hit someone in the mouth. It’s a whole lot easier than working for a living. Don’t make anything noble out of what I do”
Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb

“I’m not even a household name in my own household”
Mike Middleton, Audley Harrison’s first professional opponent

“The show was bad, but I was great”
Muhammad Ali on his appearance in the short-lived Broadway musical Big Time Buck White

“I’d hate to compare anyone with Sugar Ray Robinson, but Donald is the closest thing to Robinson I’ve ever seen”
Dave Gorman, Don Curry’s manager

“Joe now realises booing is all part of the business. It is better he gets conditioned to it at this early stage of his career”
Andy Smith, manager of Joe Bugner, 1970

“How did I get hooked? Well, it’s something like you journalists having a drink after work”
Tyrell Biggs on cocaine addiction

“I stop two hours before a fight”
Hector Camacho on sex

“You run for forty-five minutes, you train for an hour and a half, and the rest of the time you hang out and talk tough”
Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb on the life of a fighter

“He’s hitting you so often he’s tiring”
Corner to Proud Kilimanjaro when losing to Horace Notice

“Well, that’s cricket Harry. These things happen in boxing”
Frank Bruno

“It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am”
Muhammad Ali

“Honey, I just forgot to duck”
Jack Dempsey to his wife Estelle after losing the world heavyweight title in 1926

“Why should I pay the bums all that good folding money and then go out and do all the work myself?”
‘Two Ton’  Tony Galento on letting his sparring partners do roadwork while he sat in the car smoking cigars during his training for a fight with Joe Louis

“The match would have to be made at 165 pounds. Sean can’t make 160 any more, even though he’s drinking lite beer these days”
Angelo Dundee on Irish middleweight Sean Mannion

“He was like God with a custard pie up his sleeve”
Ring Magazine on Joseph D O’Brien

“What kills perfection in this sport is when you run out of incentive – and money can cause that. When you are into the business of making a fortune your desire starts to go. Your need of your profession starts to slip. You get the big house and the car. Suddenly you have the money and the straight line wavers a bit. I’ve seen it happen to so many boxers before”
Bobby Neill, trainer

“Dear Jack Doyle never quite gave as good as he got. But win or lose, he would stand up in the ring afterwards and sing ‘Mother Machree.’ Once, during the refrain, his grizzled old second was heard to mutter into his bucket and sponge: ‘He might be able to sing her, but I wish he could fight her’”
Frank Keating in Gents and Players

“That computer was made in Alabama”
Muhammad Ali after a 1970 computer simulation of an Ali v Rocky Marciano fight had the latter winning by a 15th-round KO

“If a boxer ever went as crazy as Nijinsky all the wowsers in the world would be screaming ‘punch-drunk.’ Well, who hit Nijinsky? And why isn’t there a campaign against ballet? It gives girls thick legs”
AJ Liebling in The Sweet Science

“After the Malaysia fight against Muhammad Ali, British writters congregated in Joe Bugner’s room questioning him on his apparent lack of trying. Bugner, annoyed by the drift of the questions, blurted out, ‘Get me Jesus Christ, I’ll fight him tomorrow,’ to which Hugh McIlvanney of the Observer retorted, ‘Ah, Joe, you’re only saying that ‘cause you know he’s got bad hands”
EJ Gary in Ring Magazine

“To me, boxing’s like a ballet – except there’s no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other”
Jack Handy

“I only read the Holy Koran, the Bible and the sports pages”
Muhammad Ali, from the witness stand

“I never cease to amaze myself. And I say this humbly”
Don King

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