" Patterson," he said. "How can you figure the Garden giving him the big shot? Second time he fought there in what? Six year? I ain't ever going to fight in the Garden again. They don't give my fighters a break, I ain't going to give them a break. How do I need the Garden? They's lots of other places in the country to fight. Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia. Lots of places. I don't need the Garden. I ain't in this business for money. I'm in it because I like fighters. I like athletes. I was a pitcher for seven years in the Dodger farm system. I was a kid and I didn't know from what to do. I mean now, I know what I do, I would of been serious. Then, I was a cocky kid. Durocher, he liked me because I was cocky. But I wasn't serious enough. Now, I'd be serious. But that ain't what we been talking about. I don't like the Garden, I don't like Patterson. I figure him a cancer on boxing. Never fought the good ones coming up. He did more to hurt boxing than anyone."
Terrell was getting out of the car in Chicago. The weather was unseasonably warm, and he carried his overcoat on his arm. "I got the advantage on Clay, too," he said. "When he lean back with both hands down to get away from a shot at his head, the short man, he can't reach him. But I'm taller than he is. I can reach him with the left hand. Maybe with the right. Either one, it gonna hurt him bad."
He hauled out the case carrying his guitar and tucked it under his arm. " Patterson and Clay," he said. "I call them wetback champions. They was smuggled in as champions. Didn't fight me, didn't fight Cleveland Williams. Didn't fight any real good fighters. Had to be smuggled up to the championship."
His brothers and a sister and friends came with him, and he went to a small suite in the Sheraton- Chicago, headquarters for the fight. Terrell's background is different from that of most fighters. His father, the Mississippi farming days long since behind him, now makes a fairly comfortable living as a silverplater in Chicago. "I never been hungry in my life," he says. "We always had enough."
At Hialeah, Big Julie placed his bet and walked out to watch the horses being led into the gate. "This horse don't like to get in the gate early," he said. "Man told me they going to lead him in last. He's a horse like I was a boy—itchy. In Brownsville I didn't have no easy shot when I was a kid. I shined shoes, worked on a bagel truck, delivered groceries. I shined shoes for guys like Abe Reles, who got his out a Coney Island window, Pittsburgh Phil Strauss, Duke Maffetore, Dasher Abbandando, guys like that. Tough guys. I didn't know who they was, but I knew they was tough. Then I played baseball and for some time I put eyes in dolls in a doll factory. I was athletic director in the Catskills. I done all kind of things. But I loved athletes, not hoodlums. I could of gone the wrong way. You got to have moxie to go the right way. A Jewish kid from Brownsville."
In Chicago, Terrell was unlimbering his guitar. It is a beautiful instrument, hooked up to a glittering amplifier and to loudspeakers. He touched the strings of the guitar and began to sing. His voice is baritone and pleasing, and the song he sang was one of the 50-odd he has written. This one was called Dear Abby and was directed to Abigail Van Buren, writer of the column for the lovelorn, asking her advice on what to do about a lost love.
"I don't know much about his singing," Julie said at Hialeah. "I know he conned me out of the amplifier just before the fight with Doug Jones. He come to me in the hotel the afternoon of the fight and say, 'Julie, come for a walk!'
" 'Gid outa here,' I told him. 'I ain't fighting. You're fighting. I don't feel like a walk.'
" 'Julie,' he says, in that quiet mouth, 'I got something to show you.' I don't want to see it,' I said. 'Tell me what is it.'
"But he won't tell me and he won't tell me, and finally I say I ain't going with, no matter what, and he says he sees this amplifier in the window and he wants to buy it. 'How much?' I ask him, thinking nine, 10 dollars, who is that going to hurt?