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"No one is happier than I am to be fighting in my own country," Clay said the other day from Miami Beach, where, paradoxically, one may still watch him train without being investigated. "I don't think the real fans ever wanted me to leave the country. It was just a few pressure groups who made things tough. I was always acceptable to the masses."
The Williams fight will be Clay's fifth title defense this year. Of the heavyweight champions, only Tommy Burns (in 1908) and Joe Louis (in 1941) had more—seven apiece. But although Clay is fighting more, he is enjoying it less. "I'm tired," Clay said. "And I'm getting bored. Training and fighting. Training and fighting. I guess I'm just not like I used to be. When I fought Liston I was hungry, full of zip. I wanted to show everybody how great I was. I don't ever feel like talking up the Williams fight, shooting off my mouth. In my last four fights it's been like fighting an old movie of Muhammad Ali. My opponents have all the zip. Maybe—well, maybe—the Ali who fought Liston would have taken out the Londons, Coopers and Mildenbergers bim, bam, boom. Then, too, the Ali of two years ago didn't have this bad right hand. It's not broke or nothing. It's just a bad bone bruise and it usually heals, but I keep hurting it again during the fights. It just seems like fighting for the title is no longer the most important thing in the world."
"This is something I don't expect to happen again," Norman Krumeich says about catching his 41-pound striped bass, and he is probably right, it probably won't. He caught the bass with his bare hands after one of the fairer fights a man has entered into with a fish.
Krumeich, a Port Monmouth, N.J. plumber, was diving for lobsters off New Jersey's Shark River Inlet when he saw the big bass lurking on a shelf at 25 feet—18 inches of line and a sinker hanging from its mouth. Krumeich grabbed for the line and got it, but for three minutes the bass seemed to have caught Krumeich. Krumeich weighs 195 pounds and was carrying 20 pounds of lead, but the fish towed him down, up and in circles. Krumeich's air was limited, so he didn't want to go down; on the surface, fishing beats were heading in, so he didn't want to go up. But when the bass rolled and shed the hook, setting Krumeich free, he didn't want that either, so he grabbed for the vanishing tail. The fish, by this time, was tired out from playing the man, and on the third try Krumeich got it. With one hand in its gills and the other in its mouth Krumeich crawled up on a nearby jetty.
Krumeich is having the fish mounted. It will be smaller than the 57-pound striper—caught by more conventional means—already hanging in his office, but there will be a good deal more to be said about the 41-pounder.
ROOM FOR ONE MORE
"I am wondering about the following," Paisley wrote. "If President Johnson phoned or wrote you asking for a ticket I'm sure you would be able to send him one. Well, President Johnson will not be there, I'm certain. So why not send me the ticket you would have had for him?"
In the face of such logic what could Beardsley do but mail Paisley his ticket. Although Lynda Bird, J. Edgar Hoover and Soupy Sales won't be there, either, forget about it. Says Beardsley: "This will be the only exception."