Updated: Jul 30
If you need a motivational pick-me-up, or are searching for some training inspiration, these best boxing quotes will put the fire back in your fighting spirit.
From Tyson to Fury, we’ve sourced some wise words from some of the world’s greatest boxers. Get stuck in. Get inspired. And get going!
Boxing quotes #1: Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson needs no introduction – but he’s going to get one. The pugilistic prodigy of the Cus D’Amato training method, ‘Iron’ Mike bulldozed his way to boxing fame and glory when he wrested the WBC Heavyweight belt from Trevor Berbick (the last man to fight and beat Muhammad Ali). In so doing Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history, winning his first major title at just 20 years old.
Though comparably small for a heavyweight (Tyson 5 ft 10 in – Fury 6 ft 9 in), Tyson possessed immense power in both hands. (He was ranked 16th on The Ring magazine’s list of 100 greatest punchers.) This accolade shows. Tyson won his first 19 professional fights by knockout, 12 of them in round one!
Mike Tyson discipline quote
“You never lose until you actually give up.”
Iron Mike’s boxing dynamism and colossal power quickly made him a fan favourite. Of the ten highest earning fights of all time, Tyson fought in eight of them. His total career earnings exceed $300 million.
Across a career that has spanned three decades – in 2020 Tyson fought the legendary four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr. – Tyson boasts a boxing record of 58 fights, 50 wins (44 by knockout), 6 losses, and 2 no contests.
To enjoy a full and honest account of Tyson’s turbulent life and meteoric rise to boxing super stardom, read his official story: Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography.
“Fighting is sport; if you’re not humble it’s going to bring humbleness to you.”
Boxing quotes #2: Manny Pacquiao
It’s hard to know where to start with a living legend like Manny Pacquiao. He’s done so much in the sport that it’s neigh on impossible to summarise his long list of achievements and accolades in a short bio.
Many boxing aficionados and historians rate the ‘Pac Man’ as one of, if not the, greatest professional boxers of all time. Pacquiao has been bestowed this prestigious title because he is the only boxer in the sport’s history to win twelve world titles in eight separate weight divisions.
Pacquiao turned professional at just 16 years old; he didn’t stand five-foot in boxing boots and weighed a mere 98 pounds wet through. To compete in the light-flyweight division, Pacquiao purportedly put weights in his pockets to meet the minimum weight requirement.
Best Pacquiao quote
“I remember as a little boy I ate one meal a day and sometimes slept in the street. I will never forget that, and it inspires me to fight hard, stay strong and remember all the people of my country, trying to achieve better for themselves.”
Though a tough tenacious fighter with an inexhaustible energy supply, Pacquiao’s early career did not suggest a legend in the making. In his twelfth fight he was savagely knocked out in three rounds. But, like a true champion, Pacquiao took his defeat on the chin. He went back to the drawing board, doubled down on his pugilism, and came back stronger than ever.
Following a fifteen-fight winning streak, Pacquiao climbed the ranks beating some seasoned pros on the way. He eventually secured his first world title by defeating the current champion in eight action-packed rounds.
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The Pac Man’s taste for world titles grew insatiable. Not content remaining presiding ruler over the flyweight division, Pacquiao won belts at super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, and light middleweight. An incomprehensible achievement.
And Pacquiao has stepped in the ring with some serious names. He’s fought Eric Morales (three times), Marco Barrera (twice), Juan Manuel Marquez (four times!), Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Shane Mosely, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto . . .
Across a professional fight career that spans three decades, Pacquiao has fought a total of 72 times. He boasts 62 wins (39 by way of knockout), 8 losses and 2 draws. His journey from humble beginnings to boxing brilliance is captured in the book Pac Man: Behind the Scenes with Manny Pacquiao.
“Life is meant to be a challenge, because challenges make you grow.”
Boxing quotes #3: Rocky Marciano
Rocky Marciano is the only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated. Yet, surprisingly, he begrudgingly took up boxing when he failed to become a professional baseball player.
Marciano’s career as an amateur was uneventful – and it certainly didn’t suggest a great fighter in the making. This has to do with his boxing style. In an amateur contest each fighter only has a few short rounds to out-point their opponent. Thus, amateur boxing favours the precision point scorer who works behind a long-range jab.
By contrast, Marciano was a marauder who would wear down his opponent with a relentless onslaught. And while this rough, undisciplined style wasn’t suited to the amateurs, it brought Marciano great success as a professional.
Rocky Marciano retired with a perfect record: 49-0
‘Rocky Marciano accomplished a feat that eluded legendary champions like Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Muhammad Ali, and Mike Tyson: he never lost a professional fight. When he retired in 1956, his record was a perfect 49-0,’ (Unbeaten: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Rocky Marciano).
As well as being the only heavyweight never to taste defeat, Marciano is also the only boxer to have stopped every opponent he faced as champion. Once he took the title, he refused to give it up again.
“I don’t want to be remembered as beaten champion.”
In addition, Marciano holds the highest KO ratio in heavyweight history. Of 49 professional fights he won 43 by way of knockout. This puts his knockout-to-win ratio at an incredible 87.7%!
Rocky Marciano’s unblemished boxing career is captured in the excellent book: Unbeaten: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Rocky Marciano.
Boxing quotes #4: Wladimir Klitschko
Wladimir Klitschko is one of the most decorated heavyweight champions in boxing history. After a successful amateur career, culminating in winning gold at the 1996 Olympic games, Klitschko turned professional the same year.
In 2000, just four years after turning pro, Klitschko defeated Chris Byrd for the WBO heavyweight title. However, his early reign as champion was not without its trials.
Klitschko suffered a shock defeat to the hard-hitting South African heavyweight Corrie Sanders. This loss was considered one of the biggest upsets since James ‘Buster’ Douglas, a 50 to 1 underdog, knocked out Mike Tyson.
Things didn’t initially get better for Klitschko. Following the Sanders defeat he was again beaten by Lamon Brewster.
Klitschko didn’t lose heart. Instead, he hired legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, who transformed the Ukrainian into a master defensive tactician. Throughout their eight-year collaboration, Klitschko regained the heavyweight title and went on to amass the longest accumulative reign in boxing history. He wore the crown for a staggering 4,382 days.
Wladimir Klitschko inspiration quote
‘Nobody is born as a champion. You have to earn it through hard work. Get started!’
Before he was eventually toppled by Tyson Fury, Klitschko achieved the record of having beaten the most fighters for the world heavyweight championship – 23 in total.
Related: Improve your fitness with this boxing regimen
On retiring in 2019, after a close defeat against British-born boxer Anthony Joshua, Klitschko had amassed an impressive fight record. Of 69 professional bouts he won 64, knocked out 53 opponents, and lost only 5 contests.
‘I never fought in my life outside the ring.’
In his book Challenge Management, Klitschko reveals his method and personal philosophy that enabled him to dominate the world of boxing and business. 'Challenge Management also provides readers with practical examples and personal anecdotes from a variety of sports managers, entrepreneurs, and friends of the author, including Arnold Schwarzenegger.’
Boxing quotes #5: Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury is arguably the most successful British heavyweight boxer of all time. After winning gold in the ABAs, Fury turned professional in 2008 aged 20. He made quick work of winning both the English and Commonwealth heavyweight titles.
With a string of decisive wins under his belt, Fury secured a fight with the legendary Ukrainian champion Wladimir Klitschko. This would be the greatest challenge of Fury’s career so far. But there was a lot of titles at stake. If Fury could beat Klitschko he would walk away with the WBA, IBF, WBO, Lineal and The Ring belts.
Concluding 12 rounds of defensive boxing, Fury won a unanimous decision by landing just 86 punches, 34 more than Klitschko.
Only 10 days after the fight Fury was stripped of his IBF title for failure to grant a match with the mandatory challenger. Shortly afterwards Fury suffered a mental breakdown and vacated the WBA, WBO and IBO titles. For two-years Fury remained inactive.
Tyson Fury life quotes
‘People can say what they want about me. But I’ve got a big heart and will keep going.’
‘I’ve been in crisis situations, I’ve been down, I’ve been hurt, I’ve been behind on the scorecards, and I’ve had to pull that shot out to knock somebody out. I’ve been in all kinds of situations and still come out on top.’
However, in 2018 he returned to the sport in spectacular style by taking the undefeated American power-puncher Deontay Wilder the distance. The fight was controversially scored a draw. But many fans believed that Tyson won.
A year later Fury and Wilder fought again to decide whose ‘0’ must go. Fury made relative quick work of Wilder knocking him out in six rounds. They fought a third time; again, Fury secured victory, this time stopping the American in 11 rounds.
Still active today, Fury became the third heavyweight in history, after Floyd Patterson and Muhammed Ali, to win The Ring magazine belt on two sperate occasions.
A colourful character in more ways than one, Fury reveals the trials and tribulation of his boxing career (so far) in his highly acclaimed book: Behind the Mask: My Autobiography.
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