The next day ("the unveiling-of-my-jaw day") it is clear that Ali has been spending a lot of time by the window in his head. He walks into the gym. and the crowd reacts to his condition. His weight is down to 213, the best since the Liston days, and his reflexes on the light and heavy bags are searingly quick. All that remains is the question of his jaw. He steps into the ring and says, "Look, no headgear. No protection. Nobody tellin' sparrin' partners to hold back. If it's gonna happen, I want it to happen here." Over the six rounds he boxes on this day. he takes several shots flush on the jaw; as hoped and expected, nothing happens.
A broken jaw, if treated properly and given time to heal, is not a major injury in the ring, and often afterward it becomes much stronger than it was before it was broken. Of more significance is Ali's stamina, his moves and most of all his attitude, the intensity of concentration that he mayor may not have applied to his work for Norton. Gym work is deceptive, but it does appear that Ali is in the kind of shape needed for the most important hunt of his career. He is up on his toes. His breathing is easy. His punches come in sweeping blurs.
"He don't have to hammer no door down to get at a man in this hunt," says Bundini. "He gonna go 'round back and pick the lock."
The phrase "I'm goin' huntin' " is spoken often by Ali, and it seems obvious that he is referring to Norton. Then it becomes plain that that is not what he means at all. When he talks of huntin', he means one of his familiar swoops down on the country below him in pursuit of antiquity, old things that he might add to a cabin or the landscape of his camp. His hunts have become the talk of Pennsylvania Dutch country, and for a long time the careful Dutch did not know what to make of this aberration descending on their barns.
But now it is as if he has been living there forever. The camp has become sort of a rustic salon for all the local merchants who arrive each evening with the old-time wares, and it is a baffling sight, all of these hidebound Dutchmen who once looked upon Ali as a holocaust, the run of them up there on his mountain, the sun going down, laughing and posing for pictures with him, he directing them as to what he wants and when they should deliver it. And then there are those words Ali keeps using repeatedly: valid and oldest and real. "Get those benches away from there," he says. "I decided they not valid. I want my people to sit on logs and rocks, real logs."
Words like valid and oldest and real, they are not devoid of meaning. He uses them often when speaking of his camp, but there is no mistaking that he means them to apply to himself, his condition and attitude for this fight. The antique quarry wagon he bought and the huge rocks on his land, those are the objects that seem to mesmerize him. Throughout the day Ali will look at his ancient wagon of steel and wood that sits outside the window of his room. "Look at that old thing," he says. "Steel! Wood! Sooooo strong. It's worked sooooo hard. Must be 140 years old."
"Now what you think," asks one of the group, "was thee greatest invention ever?"
"Man's mind," says Bundini.
"Nooooo, it was the wheel," says another. "Why, without the wheel you wouldn't even have a wristwatch."
"The jet plane," says Ali. "Swoooooosh. You in L.A." No one debates further, and then Ali, looking over at his wagon, says, "Yeah, yeah. Got to be the wheel."