First of all Muhammad Ali is the greatest not only boxing heavyweight of all-time, but the greatest sports performer of all-time. Because of his incredible personality, incredible confidence that was warranted and his great intelligence as well. Plus the fact he knew exactly who he was better than anyone, but also because he knew exactly what he wanted. And that is what his career was about and what all the trash talking was about. Using all of that to get what he wanted. Which was either to remain world champion or win another world championship.
As far as Muhammad Ali the fighter, you are talking about a mountain of perfection. As far as both great physical talents, but also that great intelligence as well. A 6’3 210-220 pound fighter depending on who and when he was fighting, with incredible hand and foot speed. The man look like a great tailback in football or a great big wide receiver. Tall, big and all muscle with a great mind and wit as well. And if he had any faults, it was that he went too far with it later in his career believing he was still that great fighter he no longer was. And losing fights to people who had no business fighting him. And taking too many beatings late in his career.
I’ve always viewed Muhammad as a power puncher who wasn’t a knockout artist. If that makes any sense, but what I mean by that is that he wouldn’t knock you down in a couple of punches. But would wear you out in hundreds of punches and simply just beat you up until he finished you off. Which is how he won a lot of his fights. Which is how be beat Ron Lyle and George Foreman and Joe Frazier the third time. One of the things that made him great was that he could deliver a lot of firepower. Without either getting hit back or not getting hurt by it. Which is why he was able to fight so long.
ESPN: SportsCentury- Muhammad Ali