With the first
reel of the film over, Ali suddenly stood up, amid a flurry of phone calls, and
announced that it was time for his lunch. He sat down in the dining alcove to a
meal of beets, greens and lamb chops, which he announced were more digestible
than other meats and thus just right for a fight day. He ate with considerable
relish, and then announced he was going to "settle" his meal with a
half-hour walk. He was accompanied on his stroll by reporters, a business
adviser or two, the green-outfitted detective and Jim Jacobs, who in turn was
accompanied by a camera crew. Ali led this contingent off into the woods,
carrying a 7-foot stave—a patriarchal figure with his flock capering about
seemed relatively quiet in his absence. Dundee said that he had not been
surprised by the bedlam in the cottage, the shouting, the phones going.
"It's always been like this," he said. "Since the very beginning.
The kid's big concern on the day of a fight is to look out for his friends.
When he fought Doug Jones in Madison Square Garden he arrived at the back
entrance with a whole mob of people and he braced the door open and just passed
these people through under his arm, one after the other. The matchmaker, who
was Teddy Brenner, tried to stop him, a lot of Garden people were pushing and
yelling at him, and Clay said that if he couldn't get his friends in, well,
that was that—he wasn't going to fight. Brenner knew that he wasn't fooling. So
the mob got in."
When Ali returned
he tried to take an afternoon nap. That was on his own schedule—to rest for
three hours in the afternoon and rise just an hour or so before leaving for the
fight. He could sleep quite soundly, he said, often with dreams that trailed
off and changed so that he could never remember them, except that they were not
about boxing. On this occasion he did not seem particularly anxious to sleep.
Five or six people, most of them talking about his business affairs, followed
him into his bedroom. Papers and folders were spread out on the bed for his
inspection. He stripped himself naked and pulled a blue coverlet up to his
waist. At one point he asked, "Does that mean I don't have to pay the
started. Someone said, "It's a sub chapter S proposition. Nothing to
"Limousines," Ali said from the bed. "Can we make money buying into
about the limousine business," someone said, "is that you got to keep
the things filled."
Ali stared at him
A man recently
appointed Ali's official business accountant kept spreading his hands and
saying, "The time and the place, it is not here, please."
said Dundee from the door. "Let the man sleep."
The crowd finally
filed out, to Ali's evident regret, and the door was closed.