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Don King wanted in. He said he could get TV and we could have the show in Toronto. I said O.K., just so long as Winston was involved. Eventually King forced Winston out of the deal, which was offensive to me. But I went into my brag thing, spent a lot of money and effort helping the promotion. This was an exhibition, remember, and you have to add a lot of things to an exhibition to keep people booing and yelling. Like saying, "I'll knock out five guys in one night." That's just about impossible. Look at all the exhibitions Ali has put on. Some of them were pretty silly.
So ABC-TV took the show. I would have gone ahead without the TV. Looking back on it, I wish I had. They brought in Ali and Howard Cosell to do the talking on television, and they made a mockery of the whole thing. Ali was jiving, acting like an idiot, and I started jiving back at him. Cosell was saying the show was a discredit to boxing, and how could George Foreman sink so low? If that's right, how could Cosell sink so low as to take the money for talking about it?
After all, it was an exhibition. I got hurt a couple of times and I knocked some guys out—which was kind of amazing—but the scuffling that went on in the ring after the bell, most of that was all put on. I told Terry Daniels, "Come on, pop me some more." We didn't hit each other in the face after the bell. And there was Ali, screaming like a clown.
Well, Ali makes some very dumb jokes about some serious things. Take, for instance, that joke he calls "rope-a-dope" out of the fight in Za�re. In Za�re, Ali leaned back against that loose top rope so far that one time one of his men had to climb up on the apron and push the rope forward or else Ali might have gone clean out of the ring.
I didn't see Ali's last fight with Frazier, but I knew Ali would take a beating. Eddie Futch, Frazier's manager, he's a smart man. His fighter is a hooker, and Futch would see to it that those ropes were tight. I know what Joe Frazier is. He's a good fighter. I had to contend with him myself. Some people said Ali hurt Frazier so bad in their first fight that Joe didn't have nothing left for me, which is why I knocked him out so fast. That's ridiculous. Just some more foolishness. Look at what Joe has done to Ali since then.
Ali has got those nicely curved brows so he doesn't cut easy. But now he is getting cut, getting hit powerful hard. If I have 20 more fights, I won't take nearly half the punishment Ali does with his rope-a-dope when the ropes are tight and legal.
Here's another thing. The urine specimens disappeared after our fight in Africa. I complained to the World Boxing Association and the World Boxing Council, and they said that the bottles had been shipped here, shipped there, and I said O.K.—I knew it was no use. Well, Ali has got to pay for these things. I mean, pay. At our next fight there will be some grudgery. I mean combat.
I'm plenty used to combat; that's the way I started out in life. When I knocked out Joe Frazier and became the heavyweight champion of the world at 24, it was a proud moment. I had worked hard for that. It had only been eight years since I dropped out of junior high school in Houston. I quit even though I loved to play football because I found too much stuff to do on the street—and you couldn't play football unless you went to school. I wasn't interested in school, and school lost interest in me. I wanted to get on the street and hang around. Trouble was always around me. Where I walked, it seems like that's where trouble stood.
The first day I started to E. O. Smith Junior High School, I was so scared I ran down the back streets all the way to school and then ran home down the back streets after school. I did that my whole first year. The second year I knew why kids would run down the back streets. I was the reason.
I got to drinking wine about that time. In the afternoon we would hang out and drink. I really got strung out on that wine. It would change my personality. When I had been drinking wine, I would even jump on my friends. You stayed away from me unless you were really curious about trouble. Me and a guy named Nicholas and another guy named Charles started mugging people. We made our money that way. I would be the one who grabbed the guy and Nick would help me throw him down and Charles would get the wallet. We had to watch Nick because he carried a weapon, like a knife or an ice pick. In fact, once we stopped Nick from stabbing a guy who fought back too hard, so we knew he would do it, and we didn't want a murder.