I could probably beat nine out of 10 of the heavyweights around right now, and I'd like to take a shot at one.
I've been in jail for 13 years now and would like to ask Ali for some help. The trouble is, I can't get to him.
Recipient, veterans' benefits, Miami
I had read about Clay in the papers, but I didn't know much about him. My manager asked me if I wanted to fight him. I said I couldn't because I only weighed 158 pounds. He said, "We'll work something out." At the weigh-in, I was standing on the scales when he took my little finger and pressed down until the scale registered 178 pounds.
In the first round Clay bloodied my nose, but I was a smart fighter, I had been fighting before he was born. But he caught me with a heavy right hand and I went down. I sat on my knees and took a nine count before getting up. The referee looked at my nose and stopped the fight. Clay had fast hands but he never had one great punch. He couldn't have lived with Joe Louis.
He and I were good friends. I would drive him around in his pink Cadillac. The last time I saw him was in 1967. I went around to a barbershop where he was having his hair cut. I was doing bad at that time, and he said, "Sit down, I want to talk to you." He then pressed $200 in my hand.
I had a lot of fights after the one with Clay. I would fight three or four times a month in Florida. I retired in 1969. I was 44. After I quit I was found guilty of armed robbery, a crime I didn't commit. I spend my days down in Clyde Killens' Pool Hall. I do a little bit of gambling and a little drinking.
Maintenance engineer, Dallas
I had fought Pete Rademacher a few weeks before in Washington, and he had cracked my ribs and damaged my spleen. Clay was going to be one of my last fights anyway. I shouldn't have fought him, in fact, because the doctor said I shouldn't have been fighting anybody.
I had 47 pro fights but I never really took fighting seriously. There was no money to be made. For Clay I got a guarantee of $3,000. I don't know what he got. It wasn't very much.