He belabored Jerry into virtual insensibility 19 seconds after round seven began, thus completing the annihilation of the Quarrys. Half an hour earlier a Foster left hook caught Mike ducking the wrong way just as the bell rang to end the fourth round of their light-heavyweight championship fight. No single punch Ali threw was as hard as that hook, which left the younger Quarry on his back with his eyes open, staring sightlessly at the lights over the ring. Foster, who interrupted his triumphant jig around the ropes long enough to contemplate for a worried 30 seconds the destruction he had wrought, interrupted post-fight festivities to announce that he would like to fight Ali. That is a questionable ambition. Foster tried Joe Frazier once for size and, fighting from a hedge of apprehension, was destroyed. Ali could be just as destructive. As a light heavyweight, Bob Foster is supreme. As a light heavyweight....
Ali, even in peak condition as he was last week, and as sleek and supple as a seal, is still a big heavyweight. He weighed 216� pounds, which must be just right for him. His face was clear and he disregarded Quarry's ominous glare as the two of them listened to the instructions of Referee Mike Kaplan.
After the bell rang he was busy at once. Quarry charged across the ring in a crouch, threw a wild right at Ali's belly, missed and picked Ali up on his shoulders, where the champion rested somewhat bemused until he caught the eye of Kaplan, who obligingly asked Quarry to please put Ali down.
For the rest of that round and the next four, Ali toyed with Quarry, a heavyweight sometimes ranked as the third or fourth best in the world. By the end of the second round, Ali realized how thoroughly he was dominating the fight and he threw in a few Ali shuffles to entertain the customers. Later he leaned back in a corner and motioned Quarry to come to him. When Quarry came, Ali beat a rapid tattoo on his face with beautiful combinations.
At the end of the fourth, sitting relaxed in his corner, neither sweating nor breathing hard, Ali leaned toward the press row and said, behind his glove, "Ain't this a easy way to make a livin'?"
In the fifth round Ali began to step up his attack. He was not floating like a butterfly now. He was fighting almost flat-footed, depending on hand speed and his ability to move his head out of danger. He was so fast that Quarry, basically a counterpuncher, was five punches behind, off-balance and unable to counter.
The punishment became severe in the sixth round and in the seventh Ali wasted no time putting an end to the mismatch. At the bell he glided quickly across the ring, caught Quarry in his corner, bounced his head with a vicious series of left jabs, then hit him twice, very hard, with lifting right uppercuts that left Quarry sagging along the ropes. Ali looked over to Referee Kaplan and motioned him to check Quarry. Kaplan wisely stopped the fight. "I didn't want to kill nobody," Ali said afterwards.
As Ali left the ring, he began his preparation for another big gate. Taunted by George Foreman, the 1968 Olympic champion who is undefeated in 36 more or less professional fights, Ali went into his old routine of pretending to want to settle the matter then and there. Few punches were launched, none landed. Ali probably will fight Foreman eventually, on his way to a return match with Joe Frazier, which is what the heavyweight division, despite the diversions, is really all about. But first, Ali meets his sometime sparring partner, Al (Blue) Lewis, in Dublin this month, possibly—heaven help us—Floyd Patterson after that and then maybe Foreman. All of these are antipasti leading to the Frazier entr�e. Judging by the appetite for combat Ali showed against Quarry, he may take a real bite out of Frazier next time.