Sparring With Muhammad Ali

A Blow-By-Blow Report

Memo to the Editor:

Muhammad Ali was waiting in center ring when I met him in his own camp. True to form he launched a verbal barrage; true to form I let go my best mortar shots. It was touch and go for 15 rounds and since the referees were Ali's, the champ got the decision. but, in a gesture of friendship he hugged me when it was all over - kind of like he hugged Joe Frazier when he knocked him for a loop.

Joan Wixen

An excerpt from an interview that was published in the Sunday Magazine, September 7, 1975

By Joan Wixen, Sunday Magazine Contributing Correspondent

Muhammad Ali shouted as shots rang out in the next room.

"Hide! Hide!" he screamed at me, as I dove under the table.

I shut my eyes as I heard the door burst open... and waited.

Silence

I opened my eyes... to see Ali and a group of his friends looking down and laughing.

“Hey, what's the matter, gal?" Ali said. "nobody's after you. Don't you know we're just putting you on?"

Slowly I got up.

"Big joke" I said. "You scared the daylights out of me. I feel like killing you." And I gave him a slight poke on the jaw.

Then we both laughed, and he said, "I knew you weren't as tough as you tried to make out. OK, come on, I'll cooperate with you now. Ask me anything you want."

It had taken some time for us to reach that point.

Muhammad Ali, the heavyweight champion of the world, is a man of many moods, and whatever he does, he does in a spectacular way.

One minute he's warm and friendly, and the next he's ready to chew you out. He's hateful, lovable, rude, charming, self-assured, and at the same time a part of him comes across as someone who has no confidence at all.

To read the entire interview, please contact the Detroit Free Press.

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