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I remember he was very fast and that he hit me with a right hand where it hurt me most. It seemed that he was well coached and knew just where I was having trouble. He moved real good and if he could have punched harder, he would have been a great fighter.
Ali's business is fighting, and that's all he lives for. He's made boxing a big sport and he's the one who's put money into the sport. There was no money in it until he came along. Look at Joe Louis. He didn't make as much in his whole career as what Ali makes for just one public appearance.
I'd have to say that even in politics he proved himself. He fought them all and they tried to throw him out of fighting. On Vietnam he had a point and he stood up for it. Maybe at that time I didn't think he was right, but times change, and he turned out to be right. He was a brave man.
I first met him at the weigh-in. He was as cocky as he is now. He gives the people a good show. He made up a poem about me and called me the "Utah farmer." Afterward he drove out to see me and said, "LaMar, what I said wasn't to put you down or insult you, it was to create interest."
I had ideas about being the champion. If I had fought as a light-heavyweight I think I would have been. But I was doing so much fooling around at that time...I wish I had married earlier. The first fight I ever had I was scared to death, but once I put my shoes on, everything was all right. My measurements were about the same as Rocky Marciano's. I had 51 pro fights, 45 KOs, two decisions and three losses, all by knockouts.
Ali said before that fight that he was going to retire me and, in fact, it was my last fight. It only went two rounds. He caught me with a left and a right and broke my nose. There were tears in my eyes. When he came out to see me after the fight, he apologized for hurting me.
I think he would make a good ambassador somewhere—he really has the gift of the gab that you need.
I never really knew Ali that well, me longest time we ever spent in each other's company was that 45 minutes in the ring. He kept saying, "The big guy from Hawaii will go in four." I was 6'7" and when he saw me he looked over at Angelo Dundee as if to say, "What the hell do I do with this guy?" I was so much taller than him.