"I had it made," he says, "a title shot for $100,000. My dream had come true. A press conference was set up for a Thursday and we were going to announce the fight. On Wednesday the police picked me up."
A few nights earlier, Scott's car had been seen in the vicinity of a murder and robbery. When the Newark police checked the car they found bloodstains and a bullet hole. Scott said he had loaned the car to a friend. Held at first as a material witness, Scott was later charged with the robbery, which had netted $238. Found guilty, in March 1976 he was sentenced to 30 to 40 years. He was transferred to Rahway on May 27, 1977 as inmate No. 57735. He has been in training ever since. "Like a Spartan," says Dickens, who is now at Rahway, too, "and he sure wasn't out nights fooling around."
Starting last May, Scott would run for an hour in the prison yard each morning. Dickens estimates that, in all, Scott has run more than 900 miles—"and let me tell you, it gets boring with nothing to look at but the wall." During the same period, Scott did a total of 51,000 pushups, 16,000 sit-ups, punched the light bag nonstop for 30 minutes at a time and followed that up with 10 rounds on the heavy bag.
The real problem was a lack of sparring partners. Correction officials borrowed the heavyweight champ of Trenton State Prison, and Scott broke three of his ribs. "Enough of this," said Hatrak. "We can't have Scott busting up the prison population. No more inmates. We'll bring in someone from outside."
One such visitor was Junior Royster, who had fought Scott to a draw in Miami. Scott knocked him out and they never saw Royster again. J. C. Brown, a Newark heavyweight, agreed to work, but only three days a week and only three rounds at a time.
All of which accounted for Scott's preoccupation with being able to fight for more than four rounds. "It's a mental barrier," he says. "It's like a miler trying to break four minutes. You get afraid of it. You fear you can't do it."
On the night of the fight with Gregory, Scott got some final advice from Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Muhammad Ali's former physician, who had befriended him in Florida. "Don't try to think out there," Pacheco said. "Fight by instinct. You are an animal caged up in here and you want to get out. Go out and fight like an animal, snarl like an animal, climb all over him like an animal."
Pacheco later recalled, "It was hot in that little room. But when I looked into Scott's eyes, I suddenly felt cold. I felt sorry for Gregory."
In the ring, Scott took charge from the start, swarming over Gregory at close quarters, firing punishing hooks from both sides. In the fourth round, he raised an ugly lump under Gregory's left eye.
"I threw everything I had at him," Scott said afterward, "but he's too smart. I knew then I was going to have to go the full 12, and I thought, 'Oh, oh, you better pace yourself.' "