In the first round, Clay tried for a knockout. He had been distressed at the criticism he had received in his first TV fight last July with Alonzo Johnson and was determined to show improvement. "They said I did too much hopping around for a heavyweight," Clay said. It was Trainer Dundee's plan—and Clay's surprise—that Cassius try to knock Alex out in the first round. To that end, Cassius came down off his toes and relentlessly hit Miteff's face with multiple combinations, at times without dispute. But Miteff seemed to withstand these blows well and lunged forward with infrequent but strong hooks to Clay's body. It was still Cassius' round by a large margin.
In the second, Clay continued to fire at will until, after one prolonged attack by the ropes, Miteff caught him with an enormous right, slowing Clay down for the rest of the round, which Miteff won. Toward the bell, Clay's punches, though as numerous as before, seemed to be losing their effectiveness. Alex hit him a good shot after the bell and then apologized theatrically to the booing crowd. Indeed, with his brutish style, the fight soon took on the morality of a wrestling match, Miteff playing the villain nicely.
Between the second and the third rounds Dundee told Cassius to start boxing, and he did, sticking and moving to good advantage. Miteff seemed to get more loutish as the fight progressed, occasionally letting his arms fall by his side and daring Clay to hit him, at other times making curious faces. Through the fourth and fifth rounds the pattern remained the same: Alex hooking for the body, and Clay either tying him up or fencing him off with rapid, appallingly accurate sequences of blows to his bruised face.
It was still a relatively close fight, and Miteff was very much in it, indeed often the aggressor, when the end suddenly came in the middle of the sixth round. Cassius had started a combination with a fairly tentative left jab, a measuring jab, no more, which didn't move Alex's head. He followed it with a short right hand of great sweetness that hit Alex on the point of the chin, and Alex went down slowly. He stumbled up at perhaps four or five and seemed able to continue the fight, but he was truly out on his feet, lurching along the ropes and then, in the determined important walk of a drunk, toward his corner. Referee Don Asbury stopped the fight as it was incontestably apparent that Miteff was in no shape to go on.
"I was surprised," Alex admitted afterward. He touched himself on the chin. "Just catch me on button," he said. "Things happen. It was like a dream. Everything is luck."
"We figured the kid would tire in the later rounds," Gil Clancy said. "Only there were no later rounds."
It was a notable victory for Clay, proving his ability to endure as well as dish out, and Dundee was well pleased with his prodigy.
"Listening," he told Clay. "That's the difference. If you listen and fight smart you can beat any fighter."
"He's got a long way to go," said Solomon McTier, who worked Clay's corner. "But he's going to come. Climb on my back, Cassius. I'm going to carry you to the hotel."