"I hear you," said Joe. "I'm gonna hold my end of the deal up."
"We're old men and we gotta show the world we can do it," Ali said.
"Don't call me old," said Joe.
Ali was right. They are old men. In Chicago Frazier was without legs, reflexes, timing and that astonishing endurance with which he once celebrated his youth, his glory and his name. The trouble is, Frazier doesn't know he's old. He wants to fight for the title again. The problem is rust, he says, not age, and the answer is more fine tuning.
"Everything I wanted to do out there, I done it," he said, the day after the fight. "Last night I was just beginning to get back into what I wanted to do.... I went the distance.... You can't say at 37, 38 that I'm old. I feel sorry for people who believe they're old at 37, 38.... Anything my boys can do, I can do better. And longer. You hear me?"
And then the new refrain. "I'm one of God's men. Separate me from the rest of them. Things that happen to me don't happen to every man."
On to the Bahamas.