I've seen fighters, even amateurs, cut up and bleeding, but they'd go on and fight no matter what was wrong with them. I've seen fighters who would try to hit the referee if he even indicated he was going to stop the fight. If you're the champion you fight on if you're faced with permanent injury, even death. If Liston couldn't punch with one arm, what was wrong with the other?
You've got to go on. You owe it to yourself, to the traditions of the title, to the public that sees the champion as somebody special, to everything that must become sacred to you the first time you put gloves on your hands. You've got to believe in what you're doing or else nobody can believe that anything is worthwhile.
I can't leave things that way. I can't leave people remembering that I lost to a man who quit cold to another man who's taken the championship that belongs to the whole world and given it to the Black Muslims, who don't want to be part of our world.