Michael Parkinson searches the archives and revisits four outstanding interviews with the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
Browse content similar to Parkinson Meets Muhammad Ali. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Evening. Welcome. Muhammad Ali was the most singular human being I ever met. No contest.
A great athlete, part-time comedian, sometime poet,
he made a robust contribution to relations between black and white.
Between 1971 and '81, I interviewed him four times - I've got the scars.
Tonight, we present a portrait of a truly remarkable man,
and we'll also, sadly, chart his decline.
I first interviewed Ali in 1971. He was in his prime and he was something else.
One of the undeniable things about you, Muhammad,
is this gift, this flair, for publicity.
You attract it. Now have you always had this gift, going back?
No... I was training for a fella named Duke Sabedeng, a Hawaiian.
A giant - he was six feet eight inches tall.
I was due to fight him and I was on a TV show, something like this,
and Gorgeous George, a famous American wrestler who's deceased now,
he was talking before myself and I came on after him.
When he was interviewed, he was saying,
"I am the prettiest wrestler.
"Look at my beautiful blond hair.
"If that bum messes my hair up, I'll annihilate him."
"What if you lose?" "If I lose, I'm catching the next jet to Russia!
"I want everyone to know, if I lose..." He just got mad.
He said, "I'm sick and tired!" and he ran off the show.
I was nervous. Boy, he talked a lot.
I had to go to see. Would he win or lose?
Many people were there for various reasons.
Gorgeous George came out. Two beautiful girls carried his robe so it wouldn't get dirty.
Real conceited and arrogant.
One fella... APPLAUSE
And I was there in astonishment. 21 years old. Nobody knew me.
Olympic champ, but I hadn't started talking yet.
I looked at him and said, "Boy, he needs a good whuping!"
I wanted the other man to whup him! And he reached out for a keg of beer,
and he threw it in this man's face, and he messed the man's suit up.
Later I found out this fella worked for the show but people didn't know.
He had a lady with him but he got to arguing. "You need a killing!"
He threw the beer on him and then he got up in his opponent's corner,
and he took some deodorant and sprayed it.
Sprayed the fella's corner!
And he was throwing out at people and making bad gestures.
Then he won the first fall, lost the second fall and won the third one.
And when I saw all those people come to see him get beat,
and they all paid to get in - that's the thing!
And I said, "This is a good idea."
So I started talking. "I am the greatest. I am beautiful.
"If you talk jive, you'll fall in five!"
In America, they got an old saying - "The nigger talks too much."
-Were you in a gang in those days?
-No, I didn't run with a gang.
They had a few little street gangs and people hanging around.
They were shooting dice, playing marbles.
But I was so wrapped up in boxing, since I was 12,
I'd go to the gym every day after school.
I would run, looking forward to the future Golden Glove, the Olympics.
I had something to do, which most kids need.
A goal or purpose - it keeps them out of trouble.
I'm lucky that at 12, I had a good boxing talent. I was good for my age.
We had a TV show called Tomorrow's Champion in Louisville, Kentucky.
Each Saturday there were three bouts and I had 45 fights on this show.
I was so busy that I didn't have time to run in street gangs.
In your teens, did you ever imagine yourself as world champion?
It happened one night when I heard Rocky Marciano, in 1954 or sometime.
In the rain, I was on my bicycle, leaning to listen to a fella's radio.
And I got there too late.
I heard, "Still heavyweight champion of the world, Rocky Marciano!"
And a little skinny kid in Kentucky of about... I don't know how many stones it is, but 85 pounds.
I just rode off on my bicycle and I could hear the man saying -
at that time I was Cassius Clay -
"And still the heavyweight champion of the whole world - Cassius Clay."
As I rode off in the rain, I said, "The champion of the whole world!
"I can whup every man in Russia, in America, in China,
"every man in Japan, Europe, America. The champion of the whole world!"
It sounded big then.
So I kept working until I did it.
Not only champion of the world, but better than all those before me.
I'm not going to argue.
You're not as dumb as you look.
Can I turn the conversation a bit?
Now, you're as much a political figure as you are an athlete.
I don't call myself a political... I'm seeking to be.
You're a leading member in a power struggle between black and white.
When were you first aware, as a child,
-of the differences between...
-Let's get things straight. I'm not involved in a power struggle.
I'm not trying to get power over whites.
I'm involved in a freedom struggle.
Power struggle means I wanna do you -
not you but the white American, like they've done us.
We don't want power to rule nobody. We just try to escape the evil rule.
When did you... When was your first recollection, as a child,
of being a second-class citizen?
Second-class? No... Sixteenth-class.
I used to say to my mother, "How come we're second-class citizens?
"The Africans go where I can't go, the Chinese go where I can't go.
"The Englishman can come to America and do things that I can't do.
"The Puerto Rican, the Hawaiian - everybody comes before black people.
"If we were second-class citizens, we'd be doing all right."
But we were way down from second.
If we were second-class citizens, we'd drive Cadillacs, live good.
First-class would be driving a Rolls Royce. No, we're way under that.
Things are getting better but I wondered when I went to church...
I'm not just a boxer - I do a lot of reading, I study, I ask questions.
I watch how people live and learn.
And I asked my mother, "How come is everything white?
"Why is Jesus white, with blue eyes?
"Why is the Lord's Supper all white men, the angels white, the Pope?
"Mary, everything, even the angels.
I said, "Mama, do we go to heaven?" She said, "Naturally, we do."
And I said, "What happened to all the black angels when they took the pictures?"
I said, "Oh, I know. If the white folks was in heaven too,
"then the black angels were in the kitchen preparing milk and honey."
But I was curious and I wondered why I had to die to go to heaven.
Why I couldn't have cars, money and nice homes now.
Why do I have to wait till I die?
I said, "Mama, I don't want milk and honey, I like steaks!
"Milk and honey's a laxative anyway!
"Are there many bathrooms in heaven?"
I was always curious, wondered why.
Tarzan is king of the jungle in Africa - he was white.
I saw this white man swinging with a diaper on in Africa and howling,
-"Aaaahh!" Do you all see Tarzan over here?
And he's beating the Africans up, breaking the lion's jaw.
Tarzan talks to the animals and the Africans have been there centuries.
But only he can talk to the animals!
Why was Miss America always white?
With all the beautiful brown people, beautiful shapes...
But she always was white. Miss World was white, Miss Universe was white.
Then there's White House cigars, White Swan soap, King White soap,
White Cloud tissue paper, White Tornado floor wax. Everything white.
And the angel cake was a white cake and the devil's cake was chocolate!
I said, "Mama, why is everything white?"
I always wondered, you know? And the President lived in the White House!
And Mary's lamb had white feet, Snow White, Santa Claus was white.
And everything bad was black - the ugly duckling...
The black cat was bad luck. If I threaten you, I blackmail you!
I said, "Mama, why not call it whitemail? They lie too!"
I was always curious and then...
This is when I knew something was wrong.
Won the Olympic gold in Rome, Italy.
Olympic champion. Russian here and the Pole right here.
-Is Poland communist?
-Yeah, I'm defeating the so-called enemy.
And the flag is going, da da-da da da da...
Da da-da da da...
And I'm standing there so proud. Da da-da da da da...
I'd done whup the world for America! Da da da-da da da da.
I took my gold medal and thought, "I'm gonna get my people freedom now.
"I'm Olympic champion. I can eat downtown now."
I had my medal and I went in a restaurant.
At the time, black folks couldn't eat downtown.
I went downtown, sat down and said,
"A cup of coffee, a hot dog."
Lady said, "We don't serve Negroes."
I said, "I don't eat them either! Just give me a cup of coffee!"
I said, "I'm the Olympic gold medal!
"I fought for this country and I'm gonna eat!"
And then I heard the manager say, "Well, he's gotta go out."
Anyway, they put me out. I had to leave. In my home town,
where I went to church and Daddy fought in all the wars.
And I said, "Something's wrong." From then on, I've been a Muslim.
-What attracted you to...
-The truth. The teachings of Elijah Muhammad and how black people got brainwashed.
Taught to love white, hate black. How we were robbed of our names.
Robbed of our culture and history, it left us a walking dead man.
Black people in a white country and they don't know about themselves.
They're just mentally dead. And this is happening all over the world.
The first place that we will rise will be the black people of America.
I heard the truth, and when I heard that my name was not Cassius Clay,
like a black guy named John Hawkins.
You know, the slave trader from England.
But the white people, if one had five slaves and his name was Jones, they'd be called Jones' property.
If you were auctioned to Mr Smith, you'd be Smith - identifying you as property.
Now I'm free, no longer a slave, I want the name of my ancestors - Muhammad Ali.
How would a Chinese man look named Robert Smith?
How would a German look named Edward Goldberg?
A Jewish name.
When I heard we don't have our names, we don't speak our Arabic language,
we were robbed of Islam and made deaf, dumb and blind in slavery...
Mohammed was taught by Allah, our God,
to teach us the truth to free us.
And I've been free ever since - I have no racial problems.
I'm proud... And Islam did it.
In church, I knew something was wrong, but I couldn't pinpoint it.
When I heard the truth that Mohammed teaches, it made me accept it.
Elijah Muhammad said that white men are devils. You don't believe that?
I believe everything he preach.
You think I'd go on TV and say I don't - I'm his number one follower.
If the white man ain't the devil... He's aiming at American history.
He never said Sweden or Canada. AMERICA.
If you can prove he's not the devil, get on the TV and call him a liar!
No white man says he's not a devil. They don't say nothing.
Are you saying every white man in America is a devil? John F Kennedy?
-Who am I to say?
-Who am I to say? I'm not Elijah Muhammad.
I've heard Elijah say this - there's white men who mean right in their hearts, but so few.
If 10,000 rattlesnakes came down and I had a door I could shut.
And 1,000 of them meant right. They wouldn't bite me, they were good.
Should I let them down, hoping the 1,000 get together and shield me?
Or should I just close the door and stay safe?
-The Viet Cong aren't all bad but America bombs them.
In Hiroshima, in Korea, they weren't bad but they still dropped the bomb.
So I forget 400 years of lynching and killing, depriving my people
of freedom and justice and equality?
So I see three white people doing right,
and don't see the other million trying to kill me?!
I'm not that big of a fool.
I believe everything he teach and if white people are not the devil, they should prove it.
That was our first encounter.
In 1974, I interviewed Ali twice.
I went to New York, where, along with the American host Dick Cavett,
I interviewed Ali with Joe Frazier.
Frazier and Ali were to fight an epic battle, which Ali won.
A year later, he was World Champion and I interviewed him again. I lost - well, it felt like it!
Whatever happened, both encounters provided evidence
of Ali's ability to create a circus out of an interview.
-Why do you insult each other? You insult everybody you fight.
-What's the point of insults?!
The Garden is sold out, that's why!
I thought you had more intelligence.
This is a big man in London.
You don't know him. Johnny Carson ain't big in London.
Dick Cavett ain't nothing in London.
Look, in London, this is Johnny Carson. Every night, Mike Parkinson.
-I was on his show. How many times did you run it?
They ran the same show on religion, race, drought, boxing.
-They ran that show four times.
-They had to so people could understand!
-And you seemed... You seemed...
-Listen, you seemed...
You seemed so intelligent that night.
-Why ask a question like that?
-I'll sue you for that crack about Carson.
-About me being...
-You're the man over there that everybody knows, right?
-What happens if you lose?
-If I lose?
-I'd catch a jet to the closest communist country.
-Get outta here!
To lose to Joe Frazier after all this talking and acting and names?
-You'd go behind the Iron Curtain?
-I ain't gonna lose.
I'm not worried about losing. I haven't made preparations for it.
I'm down to 210. I'm moving like I should move, I'm no longer playing.
This man comes in, anybody can hit him, his sparring partners ram him,
and they're nothing to me - no class, no footwork, no speed.
When I get those gloves on and get serious...
-What you gonna put on me?
-All these hooks.
-What gloves am I gonna have?
-Nobody stops me...
-What kind of gloves?
-What kind of gloves?
-Same gloves as last time.
-Sledgehammer or something?
-That sounds silly.
Everybody knows he's gonna have gloves like me.
"What am I gonna have?" You're gonna have gloves like me!
-We always do.
-All right, then.
CHEERING AND SHOUTING
Now, now, guys. You could get hurt.
You'll hurt your hand.
You could hurt yourself.
-Get in there, Michael!
-You get in!
They're coming very close, Michael!
Don't back out! Put your coat on! Don't back down!
-You could hit him accidentally.
-What do you think I'm trying to do?
-Anything you like.
-Trying to hit me.
I can't wait! I can't wait! I can't wait!
-I want you so bad.
-You'd better sit down.
You want me so bad?!
Boy, you're gonna be in trouble!
I'd love to see you fight but, er...
-Your trainer's fainted. You could hurt a finger.
-I'm not driving.
It'll take you six rounds to get me?
So you're admitting I'll win the first five?
-Well, then you've gotta win the next six! Where you going?
-You can't leave.
-Get him back here.
-We can't leave yet, it's not right.
-Don't be walking off the show.
-Are they kidding, boys and girls?
You win a lot of fights outside the ring. You psyche people out.
You don't really psyche them out. You really make them fight hard.
It don't put fear in them. That's the thing - they fight too hard.
It makes them anxious, like George.
I said, "OK, sucker. Take your best shot," and stood there.
"Come on! Show me something! You're just a girl. Look at you.
"You ain't got nothing. Come on, sucker!
"Show me something, sucker!"
And... If you think I'm not telling the truth, watch the films.
I talked him to death and made him so angry, he just beat hisself out.
He was so tired, he was falling on the ropes.
I said, "Man, this is the wrong place to get tired!
"You are in trouble!
"Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see!"
I'd tell him this when we got in clinches.
-It worries a man to beat him and talk to him.
-Do they talk back?
Only Joe Frazier.
I hit Joe with about 90 punches in the first fight, with everything.
He wouldn't fall and I said, "Are you crazy?!"
And he said, "Yessir, I'm crazy, just keep 'em coming."
And I laughed. The biggest fight in history and I was in tickles.
I said, "You've got to be crazy!" And he said, "Yeah, I'm crazy."
I often wonder how much - I've seen you do this to Frazier -
I wonder how much you mean it. You've called Frazier all sorts.
-Dumb nigger or...
-I didn't say that.
-Something like that.
-YOU said that.
-Something like that.
-You call me a nigger?
No, I said that...
-So you're calling...
-I didn't call you a dumb nigger, no!
No, you... You call...
-You said Uncle Tom.
-You said he was stupid.
-I said ignorant.
-Ignorant. All right.
-You called Foreman "The Mummy".
Now do you really mean that? I don't think you do, you see.
Naturally he wasn't a mummy. But he moves like one.
George Foreman - the way he fights.
By the way, I said, "I can't see no mummy whuping me."
Do you ever watch these horror pictures? People believe this stuff.
Here's a fella in the spooky woods and here comes the old mummy...
He sees the mummy and starts running at 1,000 miles an hour...
Here comes the mummy...
He just can't get away from that mummy!
All of a sudden, he's run 20 miles at a speed of 50 mile an hour,
trying to figure out where to go...
And... The mummy gets him! Man!
Don't you believe them stories, man!
This is a book written by a friend of yours, Bud Schulberg...
-All right, associate.
-I've got a lecture on friendship.
Friend is a big word. You're an associate.
I can't say you're a friend. You're an associate.
-But he's known you a long time.
-For the few minutes he's around me.
-He wrote a good book about you.
-I've never read the book.
Well, it is a very good book indeed.
He points out, interestingly, all the contradictions in you, that are fascinating.
-Can I just put one..?
-Yeah, put one.
"He's devoted to a religion that sees the white race as devils.
"And yet he keeps in almost daily touch with white friends.
"In fact he's got more white friends than any black fighter I've ever known."
Isn't there a contrast there? Your faith teaches separatism.
We discussed it before on my programme.
And it's true. I've seen it. You have white friends.
You say friends. I say associates.
-You don't have a white friend? What about Angelo Dundee?
A friend is someone who wouldn't consider giving his life for you.
The one who won't think about it.
He always has the desire to give and keep back nothing.
Give and not look for nothing in return.
Everybody will whup me for money, what they can get. Not friends.
I wrote a poem - # Friendship is a gift That can't be bought or sold
# But its value is greater Than a mountain made of gold
# Gold is cold and lifeless It can't see nor hear
# In trouble it's powerless to cheer
# It has no ears to listen No heart to understand
# It can't bring comfort With a helping hand
# If you ask God for a gift Be thankful if he sends
# Not diamonds or pearls But the love of real friends. #
So what I'm trying to say is this...
I got a lot of white associates. Elijah Muhammad preached that the white American man is the devil.
He's never mentioned English people.
The English people never lynched us, castrated us, stuck knives in us,
enslaved us, robbed us of our names...
Elijah preaches that the white man of America -
God taught him - is the blue-eyed, blond-haired devil.
No good in him. He's gonna be destroyed.
He is the devil!
Elijah Muhammad preaches that. I follow him, and white Americans
know him and tap his phone.
They know we're there - we're 2,500,000-strong.
We're all over America and nobody yet attacks us as being liars.
No white man says, "We are not a race of devils."
Now he's telling me that I believe that the white man is the devil.
We do believe that... No, we know it. You understand?
Now, since this is true, we are in the country.
We serve people, we're intelligent, we're civilised.
Our goal is to separate, have our own country, clean up, quit fighting,
quit killing one another, quit disrespecting.
We're the most respected people in America, we're the cleanest -
this is women and men - we wanna be righteous, we're tired of begging.
We wanna have our own country, have our own land, and rule ourselves.
Quit forcing ourselves on people that don't want us.
Just because I'm in a civilisation, and have an associate who's white...
White people don't love black people. They hate black people.
-It's not true.
-What do you mean?
-It's not true.
-You're the biggest hypocrite.
-I don't dislike black people.
I know you're all right. I mean the others.
I'm not saying you dislike them but white people give black people jobs,
black people are dying in hospitals, white people give black people jobs.
We've been there for 400 years and white people feed us, they clothe us.
We totally rely on the white man and the white man is good to us.
He's doing a lot to help us but it's the same white man.
Talk about us, don't like us.
Castro gets on with other countries.
The Catholics and Protestants are fighting, but you try to negotiate.
Can I say you're a hypocrite, doing business with a Protestant?
Whoever it is fighting round here, if you do business together, it don't mean you're a hypocrite.
Nixon went to see Mao in China - his enemy who wanted to blow up America.
But they still do business.
Now I'm a hypocrite because a white fella works for me!?
-Because I've got white fans?
-Then why read this?
-You're missing the...
-No, I ain't.
-You did, you...
-I came on. You ain't using no blackmail.
Making out I ain't got no sense. I'm taught by Elijah Muhammad.
Oxford University offered me a professorship.
I'm not just a fighter. I can talk all week on millions of subjects.
You do not have enough wisdom to corner me on TV.
You do not have enough. You're too small mentally to tackle me on what I represent.
This show's nothing to Muhammad Ali! If you've got questions, ask them.
I'll eat you up! There ain't no way you can tackle me.
All of you are tricky. John Hawkins tricked us to America. You get me on your show,
-and you ask these tricky...
-What are you talking about?
You got a big bomb for me - "Bud Schulberg says white men work for you and you say they're the devil!"
I'm supposed to be trapped now? How you gonna trap me?
You're a white man. How you gonna get me on a TV show and trap me?
You can't beat me, physically nor mentally.
You are really a joke. I'm serious. This is a joke!
You can read this book all you want.
Elijah Muhammad preaches the doom of America,
and the biggest white people in America, they don't tackle us!
How you gonna get me on a show and get this for me?
You planned it. I didn't know you were gonna ask me this!
Behind stage, he's so nice and...
Oh, a nice talk and then, this is a serious thing you've got me with!
You contradict... You tackle my religion, you're saying I think white associates are devils.
And you got me on a serious TV show and this is the death question.
-Suppose I couldn't answer that and you had me cornered?
-A likely story!
-I caught you!
-It was a good question. You've talked for 15 minutes.
-I'll talk for 20 more.
-I know that.
Sometimes you take your life in your hands in this job!
The last time I interviewed Ali was in 1981.
He was on his way down. He'd had a fight or three too many.
I found it a sad experience. It was like talking to his shadow.
-It's good to see you.
-I'm glad to be here.
I'm getting old now.
-Do you feel old?
-Yeah, I feel like I'm about...about 73 years of age.
-No, I feel pretty good.
It's good to see you looking good.
There's been speculation about your condition after the Holmes fight, particularly here.
-There was a suggestion of brain damage?
-I'll tell you what...
Your brain controls what comes out of your mouth.
During this interview, you check me out and after you tell me if I have brain damage.
I'll let you know at the end, OK?
I went to the world's best clinic,
and there were reports about me having brain trouble, kidney trouble
and speech defects, so I went to the clinic and got a physical.
I stayed there about two days.
And, er... A 100% check-out.
So all these local doctors - them one-horse-town doctors -
they can pack up because I got an OK from the best clinic in the world.
The question people ask themselves about you, out of love for you...
-Is that they don't want you to keep getting hurt in the ring.
-I've never got hurt.
-You must have.
-I saw you fight Joe Frazier.
-I didn't get hurt.
-You didn't? You did a very good act!
-Are you calling me a liar?
-If I had a lower IQ, I'd enjoy this interview!
-No, you know...
-I've been hit but never knocked out.
I've never been stopped like Joe Frazier, George Foreman,
Ken Norton or Leon Spinks.
I mean, the guys were knocked out...
I mean, they'd be out for a count of 25 if they counted that long.
Ten's the limit but some go down for a count of 100 and go to hospital.
I've never been hurt. I broke my jaw once,
but otherwise, I've never been beat. Even the Holmes fight, I wasn't bad.
They stopped it because I wasn't feeling right.
-Are you serious about fighting Holmes again?
-I shall return!
-You heard me.
-I heard you. Indeed I did.
First, I'm gonna take on a couple of title contenders, not Holmes.
I'll take a couple of contenders and show them that I'm not hurt.
And then, Holmes has said that if I can prove myself qualifying...
I looked so bad that night.
I couldn't fight no more. I couldn't move, I didn't hit him.
The first round, I was dehydrated.
11 rounds and 110 degrees heat, and no sweat came out of my body.
-But will it be different next time, Muhammad?
-We'll see. That's why I'm going back.
If they say I don't do it, then I'll just have to admit that I'm finished.
Why do you need to go back again? You've done more than any boxer.
I realise that I have more fans than I had before... The Holmes fight.
But it's myself... I wanna show to myself...
That I can beat Holmes and win the title for the fourth...
I'm the only man to have the chance. No man has won it three times, so...
Why do we go to the moon? Because it's there. Why Mars? It's there.
Columbus discovered America by taking a risk.
So he who is not courageous will accomplish nothing in life.
I'm the only man who's got close to a fourth championship.
It's something I gotta do.
But you're taking a risk with more than your physical wellbeing.
You're taking a risk with the fans, with your reputation,
with the love you feel wherever you go.
They don't want you badly beaten.
Badly beaten...? ONE PERSON CLAPS
-You got one fan over there!
-No, no, no.
Just one person agreed, I suppose.
-The Holmes fight, I wasn't badly beaten.
I saw the film. I watched it. I didn't get badly beaten.
I took a few punches but not badly beaten.
Look, if a guy's flying a plane through a thunderstorm,
I can't tell him, "Go this way."
He knows what he's doing.
I've been fighting 27 years so I know more about boxing than you.
-You have been...
-Look at my face. I can't see the camera.
-You're still pretty good.
-Almost as pretty as you!
You've been in the game 27 years. One last point and we'll move on.
You've seen what can happen to fighters.
You see the shambling wrecks going round at every boxing occasion.
And people don't want that to happen to you.
-What? A shambling wreck?
-I'm a long way from a wreck.
-No, people are scared that might happen.
Well, let me tell you why they're frightened.
Some people can see further than others.
Some people are... pressed with limitations.
We live in a world of limitations and some can see further than others.
When people judge what I do with their logic,
it can't be done.
There are reasons it can't be done.
Their knowledge of history says that.
Their reason, knowledge and logic clashes with my superior belief.
The result is, they don't believe.
My thinking is so superior, my knowledge is so positive
and my logic is so wise that it clashes with their mentality,
which is down here, and I'm up here.
Being so high, I can see further than you.
And you're looking up saying, "Ali, don't do it. Ali, don't do it.
"Ali, please stop. You'll get hurt!"
And you're on a job making £60, £70 a week, whoever this guy is.
Never been out of the country, not known in his own neighbourhood.
"Ali, don't do it!"
I'm such a high level, I don't think like you.
-Not you, I mean the other person.
-But you know why they say that?
-For the best reasons.
-They're wary. It looks dangerous to them.
It's not dangerous for me. It's another day...
-It's affection. They've never felt about a boxer like you.
Let me say... Take this interview as an example, look how we're talking.
Look at how I'm handling you!
You're a wise man.
Boxers can't do this!
Even young boxers.
Knowledge, wisdom. Look how we're talking. This looks like my show!
He had one more fight and he lost.
Shortly after that interview, in 1981, his boxing career had ended.
He who'd given so much was finally defeated.
He who'd floated like a butterfly was brought down to earth.
There's a moral but I'm not sure what it is.
But when I think of him, I smile with pleasure.
I - we - were lucky to have made his acquaintance.
-I have a poem.
-One minute. The poem goes like this.
Here's how the Joe Frazier fight is gonna sound on the radio for the people who can't afford the seats.
The fight goes like this -
Ding, Ali's out to meet Frazier But Frazier starts to retreat
If Frazier goes back much farther He'll wind up in a ringside seat
Ali swings with the left Ali swings with the right
Look at the kid carry the fight
Frazier keeps backing But there's not enough room
It's a matter of time Before Ali lowers the boom
Now Ali lands with the right What a beautiful swing
And the punch lifts Frazier Clean out of the ring...
Frazier's still rising But the referee wears a frown
For he can't start counting Till Frazier comes down
Now Frazier disappears from view
The crowd is getting frantic
But our radars have picked him up
He's somewhere over the Atlantic
Who would have thought When they came to the fight
That they'd witness the launch Of a coloured satellite?