It is altogether
different now. I have learned my lesson. In a sense, it is about time Mr. Clay
learned a few things also.
Finally, I would
like to answer another question that I have been asked many times: Why do I
keep on fighting?
I have enough
money to retire right now. I could have retired three years ago. It is not the
money. I want to leave boxing feeling like I did when I came into it, like I
felt when I won my first Golden Gloves championship.
I promised myself
I would quit if I lost the second Liston fight. But, because of the way I lost
it, I did not quit. I had let a lot of people down. I knew myself, and I knew
that I would never be completely happy until I had done what I have to do. I
decided to make one more comeback. If I had lost to Eddie Machen or Charlie
Powell or George Chuvalo, I would have retired.
Now I want to win
the title back from Cassius Clay. This is both a personal goal and something of
a moral crusade. I am convinced, now that he wants to get rid of his wife
because she will not embrace the Muslim faith, that Clay is really a dedicated
Black Muslim and has no intention of quitting them. He must be beaten.
I have received a
great deal of abusive mail berating me for criticizing the Black Muslim
philosophy. I have been told Clay has every right to follow any religion he
chooses. I agree wholeheartedly. Clay's religion should be his own
By the same token,
I want these critics, these defenders of the Black Muslim way of life, to
understand something. I have rights, too. I have the right to call the Black
Muslims a menace to the United States and a menace to the Negro race. I have
the right to say the Black Muslims stink.
If I were to
support Black Muslims, I might just as well support the Ku Klux Klan.
So, in addition to
winning the world's heavyweight title for the third time, I have one other
responsibility. The Black Muslim influence must be removed from boxing.
There is only one
way to do the job.