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Watching the Man in the Mirror
George Plimpton
November 23, 1970
Though millions saw Muhammad Ali return to the ring after years of exile, none had a closer view than this old friend. An eloquent diary of the day in Atlanta—and how it all added up to more than a mere exchange of punches
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November 23, 1970

Watching The Man In The Mirror

Though millions saw Muhammad Ali return to the ring after years of exile, none had a closer view than this old friend. An eloquent diary of the day in Atlanta—and how it all added up to more than a mere exchange of punches

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Ketchum did not back down. His jaw kept moving as he chewed the gum.

"I won some money on you once," he said. "I bet $50 at 7 to I that you'd whip Sonny Liston."

Ali began to turn away. "We'll give them a good show tonight," he said. "I couldn't pick no better contender."

"O.K., pal," Ketchum said. He cuffed Ali affectionately alongside the head and turned to go.

"Man, you had to get in one lick, didn't you," Ali called after him.

He turned back to the room. "How much time?"

"Twenty minutes."

"We're going to warm up on the ropes," Ali said. "We're going out there and lay on the ropes...."

"Don't say "we' when you say that," Bundini said. "You stick him fast, you hear?"

"Who goes into the ring first?" Ali asked.

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