I was very tired
near the end of the fight, but inside—mentally, that is—I felt great. Part of
it was the wonderful feeling I experienced when the Madison Square Garden crowd
began calling, "Come on, Floyd. Come on, Floyd." I can't tell you what
that meant to me. It was more impressive because my opponent was white. Usually
in mixed fights the majority of the crowd is for the white boy. Weeks before my
fight Cassius Clay called Chuvalo the "White Hope." But during the
fight I became the "White Hope."
The roar of that
crowd, a crowd yelling for me, was a tremendous incentive. I never thought I'd
be accepted that way in New York—which is one of the reasons I have not fought
there in so many years. A crowd actually pulling for me gave me a feeling I had
never experienced before. It was like coming home after a long absence.
All of these
things—the way the Chuvalo fight developed, my new confidence and the feeling
that perhaps I haven't a "china chin" after all—give me a very healthy
mental attitude toward the fight with Cassius Clay. A fighter's mental
attitude—his peace of mind and ability to think clearly—is very important. I
know, because my thinking, as much as anything, caused me to disgrace myself in
the two Liston fights.
For the Clay fight
I know exactly what I am going to do. Clay has a good but not particularly
dangerous punch. At least he has not shown one so far. I am sure I punch harder
than he does. I also have a great deal more experience than Cassius, and this
will be a big factor in our fight.
I have been
fighting since 1952—that's 13 years. I have fought all kinds of opponents; big
men, small men, southpaws, every kind of style. Clay has been fighting only
about five years as a pro and has never once really been in trouble. It is when
a man is under heavy fire that experience truly pays off. I think Clay is the
type who could be easily confused if things did not go just the way he had
dislike following orders. They feel they should be the boss in the ring. They
want to run things their own way. I know. I have disobeyed instructions, and I
don't like to remember what happened to me.
I do not mean to
imply that I question Clay's ability to fight back if he is hurt. No, indeed.
After all, he took too many liberties with Sonny Banks and got knocked down. He
was also knocked down by Henry Cooper. Both times he got off the floor to win.
Then, too, Cassius was in difficulty in the first round of his fight with Doug
Jones. Doug almost put him down with a right hand to the head, but Clay pulled
himself together and went on to win the decision.
indicate that Clay does not lack a fighting heart. They also indicate he will
go down if he is tagged with a solid punch.
You do not get
into trouble unless you make mistakes. I have watched some of Clay's fights and
have seen several flaws in his style. Naturally, I do not care to discuss all
of them here. One, which is no secret to fight fans, is Clay's tendency to
carry his hands too low. He drops his hands after delivering a punch. Though
Banks and Jones caught him doing this, they didn't follow through. Cassius
would not get away with this against a more experienced fighter.
Clay fights this
way because he is very conscious of his speed. He has a wonderful pair of legs
and relies on them to keep him—or to get him—out of trouble. He is very young
and determined. He is also, I think, careless. He is going to learn that his
legs won't keep him out of difficulty indefinitely.