Black and white photograph of Muhammad Ali with black text above and below and an illustration of a butterfly and of a bee on either side on a white background
N.G. SLATER CRP. N.Y.C. 11 union bug
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on January 17, 1942, Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, artist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest,” Ali is considered to be one of the most illustrious and important sports figures of the 20th century.
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” is part of a famous quote that Ali gave before his 1964 fight with Sonny Liston. Only 22 years old and still going by the name of Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali was regarded as the underdog going into his fight against Liston, an intimidating fighter who had been the world heavyweight champion since 1962. Although many believed that Muhammad Ali would not be able to defeat Sonny Liston in a fight, Ali was lightning fast – in the ring and with his words. Refusing to be intimidated by Liston and his reputation, Ali spent the days leading up to the fight taunting Liston and claiming that he was going to win the fight. Just before he got in the ring in February of 1964, Muhammad Ali said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can't see.” Ali’s prediction was proven to be true when he won the fight by a technical knockout after Liston gave up in the opening of the seventh round. Sports Illustrated magazine calls the 1964 Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston fight the “fourth greatest sports moment of the 20th century”.