Ali Bomaye: Capturing the G.O.A.T

Tribute to a Legend: A photographic essay capturing the iconic career of Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston II. 1965 ©Neil Leifer. Getty

Everybody stop talking now, attention…
As a tribute to the legend of Muhammad Ali, we look back at some of the moments that defined his career. This is a carefully selected photographic essay, coupled with a selection of quotes by him and others, to create a narrative that takes us through the years 1964 to 1974.

I am the Greatest!

“Liston will kill him, he’ll kill him in the first round.”
“He’s too ugly, the World’s Champ should be pretty, like me.”

© Bettmann/Corbis
Cassius Clay vs Sonny Liston I. Weigh-in. 1964 © Bettmann/Corbis

“I’m the greatest fighter that ever lived, and I just turned 22 years old. I MUST be the greatest… I’m the king of the world… I’m pretty… I’m a baaad man… I shook up the world.”

© AP
Ali stuns the world; defeating Liston to become the youngest heavyweight champion. 1964 © AP

“Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name – it means beloved of God, and I insist people use it when people speak to me and of me.”

© Bob Gomel. The LIFE Images Collection/Getty
Cassius Clay and Malcolm X. Crowds would gather just to watch Ali eat. Malcolm X shared a very close relationship with Ali and was a strong influence in his conversion to Islam. 1964. © Bob Gomel. The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

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

© James Drake. The LIFE Images Collection/Getty
The solitude of a man. Mental preparation for a fight. © James Drake. The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

“Float like a butterfly sting like a bee – his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”

© Bettmann/Corbis
Fight of the Century. Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier. 1971. © Bettmann/Corbis

“That has to be the greatest fight ever, cause in ’71 they stopped the [Vietnam] war, if you can stop the war, it had to be a great fight”

Ali Bomaye, Ali Bomaye!

© Horst Faas. AP
Rumble in the Jungle. Mobutu Sese Seko with Ali and Foreman in Kinshasa. 1974 © Horst Faas. AP

“You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned? wait till I whup Foreman’s behind.”

© Ed Kolenovsky. AP
Rumble in the Jungle. Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman. 1974. © Ed Kolenovsky. AP

“30 seconds left in Round 8 / very even fight / Ali, a sneaky right hand / another sneaky right hand… …………”

© AP
Rumble in the Jungle. George Foreman K.O. 1974. © AP

“Everybody stop talking now, attention… I told ya, all of my critics, I told ya all, that I was the GREATEST OF ALL TIME…”

Rumble, young man, rumble!