I Am Ali (2014) Script

Will you enter, mystery challenger, and sign in, please?

Are you in the movies?

No.

One down, nine to go. Mr. Gabe].

Are you an athlete?

Mm... Yes.

"MAN". Miss Francis.

Are you a golfer, mystery guest?

No.

That's five down and five to go. Mr Gabel.

Are you, uh, a boxer?

- Yes. Miss Francis.

Boy, that sure isn't the voice fur it, is it?

Let me see now. What could that be?

Are you a fellow who was named after a chap that they brought the mountains to? By the name of Muhammad?

- Are you Cassius Clay? Well...

Yes!

Friday.

- Yes? Assalamu alaikum, Grandma!

- Waiaikum assalam! What y'all doing?

Downstairs watching television.

- Yeah? Where's May May? Downstairs.

Don't tell her. Put her on the phone.

OK. May May!

- Yes? Assalamu alaikum!

Walaikum assalam, Daddy! How's my daughter?

Fine. We went to go see Mama Bird.

Good. I heard that. Did you... were you happy to see her?

- Yes. ALP. I was just getting dressed.

I'm getting ready to go look at another place like Deer Lake.

You are? Yes.

It might be possible that if I like it, I might fight again.

No! Don't fight again, please.

Take the title back four times. Can you imagine?

Don't fight again. You're getting old.

- I'm getting what? Old.

ALP. Too old? Haw old is your daddy?

- How old? Like, 37? That's right.

Angelo Dundee is in the ring, the veteran trainer of Muhammad Ali since the first couple of fights of his career.

The crowd is starting to chant, "Ali. Ali." Like old times.

Ali is six feet three, but Trevor Berbick is not small.

He's six feet two and a half.

Ali is almost 40 years old. Trevor Berbick is 27.

Here he comes.

What a production this has turned out to be.

I knew what I wanted to do at the age of 12 years old, and every thing has a purpose in life and every man has a purpose.

And it's the knowing of that purpose which enables every soul to fulfill it.

And he who knows his life purpose, then he knows exactly where he's going.

I'm not conceited, Fm just convinced.


- My buddy, Muhammad Ali. How's the weather?

- Huh? How's the weather?

Beautiful here. Beautiful here.

My name is Gene Kilroy. I'm the former business manager of Muhammad Ali.

The greatest fighter of all times. The greatest friend.

The greatest guy. I learned a lot from him.

Yeah, man, I step in town, ljump off a plane and in my cool white suit.

, brothers!

Boy, it was better than a ringside seat.

You know, a ringside seat, you gotta go when the fight's over.

To be part of the victory and part of the defeat, you know, that was a special thing. You know, be right there.

I wanna introduce a long-time adviser of the champ, Gene Kilroy, who is our spokesperson today. Gene.

It's nice to be here.

Looking back over my life, uh, somebody asked me one time, uh, "Do you have any fear?"

I said, "The only fear I have is that some day my mother's gonna wake me up" and say 'It's time to go to school', that my life has been a dream."

With Muhammad Ali, I've been blessed to be around that man.

There are multi-millionaires who would have given a million dollars to be with Ali every day like I've been with him.

My first encounter with Muhammad Ali was the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

He was like the Mayor of Olympic Village.

He wears a gold medal around, everybody wanted to be around him.

Everybody, everybody wanted to meet him.

Tell me how you came to get such a Roman name as that.

Well, as I understand, I'm Cassius Marcellus Clay the Sixth and my great-great-grandfather was a Kentucky slave and he was named after some great Kentuckian.

Cassius Marcellus Clay is a great name in Kentucky.

And, uh, really, where he was from and where it was all originated, I couldn't tell you, but since I've reached a little fame in boxing, most people want to know where I'm from and, uh, where did I get that name.

But really, I haven't really checked on it, so I see that I'm gonna have to go look and...

You'll have to look it up.

See what it's all about, now that I'm getting interviews.

- Hey, Gene. Yeah.

I heard a little story you might like. Goes like this.

As a boy, I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky.

In the state of Kentucky that has pretty horses and fast women.

I come from a really loving, close family.

My dad and ma were Christian people.

Very hardworking and good, decent people.

My dad was a commercial artist.

My dad was the best sign painter in Louisville, Kentucky.

Way back in a little one-horse town called Louisville, Kentucky, back in 1941, Mr Cassius Clay married Mrs Odessa Grady who later became Mrs Cassius Clay and they had a little son.

This is Mrs Clay.

And this is my daddy. Mr Cassius Clay Senior.

Say hello. Hello. Hello.

We're very proud of him, lady. Thank you.

I was born in 1943. Muhammad was born in 1942.

We were 18 months apart. We had fun.

In those days he was known as Cassius Clay.

He was loquacious, he was cocky.

He's always been different. He was born for greatness.

Today we're going to my old home site down at 3302 Grant Avenue, here in Louisville, Kentucky.

The house where Muhammad Ali and myself was raised.

We shared a room, and that was one of the most happiest times of my life.

He was funny. He was funny. And everything he did, I would go with him.

The running, the boxing, everything.

I was just his best companion in those days. I was his best friend.

We were that close, like salt and pepper. Like salt and pepper.

And it all begins here. From the root to the fruit.

Maryum, tell me something. When I started boxing, how old was I?

I was 12 years old.

You were 12?!

- Yeah. I thought you was younger.

- Twelve. 'Cause somebody stole your bike.

Yeah, thatb when I was 12.

It was on a Monday night in Louisville, 1953.

We both went to a home show. Every year they had, like, a big carnival.

We had rode our bicycle we got for Christmas up there.

And when we came out of the home show, our bicycles had got stolen so we cried.

We were little boys. We started crying.

So we asked somebody coming out of the building.

"Please tell us where we could find a policeman to report our bikes stolen."

And the gentleman said, "Go downstairs and there's a policeman downstairs."

So we went down a long flight of steps. It was a boxing gym.

The policeman was in the corridor talking to some kids.

He was all hostile and wanted to whip somebody.

So I said, "You never fight if you don't know how."

I said, "Has anybody ever taught you how to fight?" and he said, "No."

I said, "You should come down here and learn how to fight first" before you starting picking fights."

So that was the beginning of it.

He started coming to the gym and he was a very religious trainer.

And so he was there when I got there, and he was there when I left.

He was 12 years old and weighed 87 pounds. That's how he got started.

Cassius Clay of Chicago challenges Gary Joyce, the Eastern Heavyweight champ.

And Joyce is in trouble from the first round on.

When he discovered boxing, he was smart.

He said, "if I can dive, move from side to side in the boxing ring", I know I'm not gonna get hit."

So he said, "Rudy, let's go to the back of the alley" and pick up rocks and throw the rocks at me."

"See if I can dodge the rocks." So he would...

I'd throw the rocks at him. The rocks would not hit him and go by him.

He would dodge the rocks, improve his reflexes as a boxer.

And sure enough, when he got in the boxing ring, he would dodge those punches. He was a genius.

Back in the days when Muhammad and I was young kids, he would tell the children in our neighborhood his destiny, how great he would be.

Most of the kids would laugh at Muhammad.

Say, "Ha, ha, ha, Cassius, you can't do that."

"That's too much for you to do. You can't be that great."

When you're a kid, you always bet some fellas, "I'm gonna be champion one day, and when I'm champion, I'm gonna come down and show you I'm wrong."

And then I say, "Guys, I'm gonna be a great doctor one day" and I'm gonna be a dentist. I'm gonna be a great scientist."

"I'm gonna be the President of the country."

And there are very few people actually are able to make good of the boasts and come home and say, "I told you."

I got a call from the lobby. "I'm Cassius Marcellus Clay."

"I'm the Golden Glove Champion of Louisville."

"I won the Golden Gloves in Seattle. I'm going to win the Olympics."

Now, this is '58. So I hold my hand on the phone and I says, "Willie, there's some sort of a nut downstairs wants to talk to us."

It was a great meeting. Very interesting.

He was a student. Wanted to know how much fighters train.

What they ate, how many miles they ran. He wanted to know everything.

When he came back from the Olympics, the Louisville Sponsoring Group sent him to Archie Moore.

Well, that didn't work because, see, two star qualities don't blend.

In fact, what broke the camel's back, Archie Moore asked him to sweep the kitchen.

He said, "I didn't sweep the kitchen for my mother."

"I ain't gonna sweep no kitchen."

So they called me up, the Louisville Group, and they came down and they interviewed me.

Asked me how I would handle the kid.

And I told 'em I would take my time. I don't like to rush anything.

Well, they said, "Well, jeez, he won an Olympic medal."

I said, "That don't mean nothing."

Transition from an amateur to a pro takes time.

He would come to the gym and if he didn't get a ride to the gym, he didn't have no car, uh, he would run.

He would run across the causeway. I got a call from the police one day.

"There's a tall, skinny kid running across the causeway says he's your fighter."

So I said, "Yes, he is. Cassius Clay."

In the past, everybody else talked but the fighter.

Now people got to wanna know the star.

And Life magazine, the biggest magazine in the world.

They want my pretty face on it.

I was around with this kid for four years.

They thought I was a mute because I never put a word in.

"Talk to my guy, please," you know.

When they do interviews with me, they are not the interviews that you do with boxers.

Boxers usually don't talk and all they can tell you is, "He ran five miles yesterday," or duh, duh, duh, good left jab, uh, duh, duh.

I'm not that type of Negro, black man, you understand?

Yes.

See, the questions they ask me on interviews and in colleges is the same thing, or more complicated, than you would ask the Queen of England or President Nixon or some senator politician.

He used to jump and bounce and pull hands down, you know, so I wasn't making no excuses for it. I said, "it works."

In fact, one time I was so influenced by the media, the Doug Jones fight, I told him in one part of that fight, "Get your hands up."

And he got the heck kicked out of him. I said, "Put your hands down."

This is the criteria, because everybody kept their hands up.

No big man ever moved like that and this was the key.

He was special. And you're as good as your talent you work with.

And Muhammad made me shine.

This is BBC Television.

Well, no doubt about the top feature in tonight's specially lengthened edition of Sportsview, because everyone is still talking about the fight between Cassius Clay and Henry Cooper.

I knew the English pub were tremendous.

I knew for a fact they weren't gonna like him the first time, 'cause he talked too much.

I knew they wouldn't like Muhammad.

When we first went there, we didn't see nobody. The people didn't like him.

And we're fighting the hero, Henry Cooper. And he'd gone, "Five. Five."

People didn't go for that, you know? But he was just having fun.

And Cassius Clay, the gimmick man to the last, comes into the ring with this monster crown on his head and all the way down to the ringside, through the rows of people with umbrellas, People were throwing things and trying to knock the crown off his head.

So here we go. It's the fight of the year.

Clay from the right-hand comer against Cooper of Britain.

And Clay has said, "I'll beat him in five." We'll see.

And Cooper's left eye is a very sorry sight indeed.

And he's teasing Cooper. Round four.

Henry Cooper, you know, was well loved by everybody.

I can see why. And, uh, it was a great night.

After all, he hit my guy on the chin.

Dropped him. He slid down the ropes. It was dramatic.

And thank God the ropes were there.

That was the end of the fourth round.

And he hit him about two seconds before the end of the round.

He came back to the comer and I was chewing him up.

They're working furiously on him in the comer.

Angelo Dundee, his trainer, he really is giving him a talking-to.

Cooper's left hook finally scores and Clay was down two seconds from the end of the fourth round.

And out they come for round five.

And now he's stepping in, and I think this is it for Cooper.

The towel has come in from Cooper's corner.

There was no alternative. He had to stop the fight.

Inside, Frank Butler asked Clay if he still thought Henry Cooper was a bum.

He's not a bum. I must admit, I really underestimated the fella.

Uh, my nose has never bled until I fought him and his left hook was as good or better than the people had predicted.

And I must say he had me on the floor at the end of the fourth round.

I've never... I've been on the floor once, but I wasn't really shook like I was. And I have to say he's the...

He really should be the number-two contender next to me.

After all, I'm still the greatest.

But he should have been the number-two contender. He's the best I've met yet.

Well, you're still a wonderful prophet, because you said you'd win in round five and you won in round five.

But don't you think you were just a little lucky to win in round five, in view of the fourth round?

Well, uh, I don't know what you mean by luck.

I told you it would end in five and that's what happened.

Yes, and you came in the ring with a crown on your head.

Is that because... Because I am the king.

I understand you have a Queen of England, but you don't have a king.

The second time we went, though, we couldn't walk the streets.

So there you go. I mean, then he wasn't as glib or crazy or anything, but the people fell in love with him because they knew it, he was for real.

Maryum, what do people say? Do they know you're my daughter?

Yes, everybody.

Tell me the truth. Do they make any cracks?

"You think you're cool 'cause of your daddy."

Yeah, like, if I do something, they say, "You think you're big just because you're Muhammad Ali's daughter: ".

They say that to you? Who say it? Boys or girls?

Mostly boys. Oh.

I mean, I knew he was famous as soon as I can walk and talk and understand words.

You know, I heard how much people adored him and, you know, a simple trip to the convenience store was 50 people surrounding our car. He couldn't go anywhere.

And my father loved people, so he would entertain them and stay out there and talk to 'em and, "He's gonna get knocked down in five."

And I'm sitting here looking at him and I'm looking at the people and so I knew this is not normal. You know what I'm saying?

So I knew really, really young, um, how huge he was, is when I would see people on television that I admire, like Tom Jones, or Philip Wilson or Sly Stone, Sammy Davis, Jr., and then they would be at my house. I'm like, "Whoa."

You know, "You're famous," you know, so I knew he was up there.

My dad played kind of the good cop out of the parents, you know.

You know, it was so funny.

He would, like, if I acted up, he'll go, "Belinda, go, she needs a spanking."

And then, you know, my mother give me a little spanking.

And he'll go in your room, "Are you OK?"

"You want me to get you some ice cream?"

You know. He always had to be the nice guy, but he was just a practical joker. Loved to joke.

He just always played around, very loving, very affectionate.

Always kissing your cheeks.

He'd wake you up in the morning kissing your cheeks.

"Gimme jaws, gimme the nose," you know. So he was very loving and you would think a boxer wouldn't be a teddy bear like that.

I just had fun with my dad. I always wanted to be with him.

I was like a daddy's girl.

Daddy's gotta leave. He's going into training, do you hear?

Daddy's going to fight. I want to go with you.

You wanna go with me? You can't. Can you fight?

Do you fight? No, you don't fight. You can't go.

Here you go. Yes, I go!

No, Daddy going to get in shape and you stay at home. You hear?

I wanna... I wanna go with you. You wanna go fight with me? OK.

Come on, sweetheart. The man gonna fight!

Who gonna fight? The man.

The man? Your dad.

Would you please cook me some dinner?

I go to work all day, I've been out all day and when all you have to do is to lay around in this big house and live easy and at least you can have my meal on time.

Woman, please, is the food ready? Yes.

All right. Come on. Let's go eat, May May.

There's one thing you don't mess with is colored folks' food and colored folks' money.

Come on. Come on, darlin'.

He loved his children.

He loved his children, but he was a blessed man to have Belinda's mom and dad take care of the kids when there was such a demand put on him as being a world man.

He asked to travel here or travel there so his title, his heavyweight belt...

What was more valuable than that heavyweight belt was having his mother-in-law raising the children, which she did.

And she did a good job.

He used to love to tape record conversations and he would always say, "I'm gonna tape you guys, and when you're older you're gonna love this, these tapes."

And, um, he would always do it so when my parents got divorced, he would call me. "How you doing? What are you doing?"

"What do you wanna be when you grow up?"

He would always tell me time is gonna fly, you know, I'm gonna be older.

I mean, he was just, like... he could foresee things and knew how important those things would be.

- Maryum? Sir?

You're now 11 years old. Now, do you wanna go to college?

- Yes, sir. Now, what do you wanna do there?

Everything Allah made has a purpose. Trees have a purpose.

- What's the purpose of a cow? To give us milk.

OK. What's the purpose of the sun?

The sun? Sun.

- To give us light and heat. And make things grow.

So everything God made, the cows, horses, the moon, stars, ants, everything has a purpose.

Now, what's your purpose? You're a human being.

If God made the sun have a purpose, humans have a purpose too.

Hey, you haven't found your life purpose yet, have you?

Yes.

If everybodyb born for a purpose, what do you think you were born for?

To make people feel better. To fix people up.

That's good. That's good, Maryum.

This bout, 15 rounds for the heavyweight championship of the world.

The challenger from Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Clay.

And his opponent from Denver, Colorado, the heavyweight champion of the world, Charles Sonny Liston.

Ali, by then, had had 19 professional fights.

It wasn't as though he'd suddenly come upon the scene.

He'd been properly, properly managed in the sense that, uh, Dundee was an expert match maker.

I mean, match making is one of the great skills in boxing.

Finding the right guy at the right time.

Sonny Liston was a gangster. I mean, he was a mob guy.

He had fast hands and he could punch. You wouldn't take him lightly.

Nobody gave, uh, Ali, or Clay as he then was, a chance.

Liston will kill him. Kill him in the first round.

It'll be Liston in three rounds.

Liston. One, Liston.

Second round, Liston. Liston in four.

Liston!

Well, I am for Liston. Who did this guy ever fight?

Who? Yeah.

Clay? Yeah.

I mean, what Ali set out to do was to get into his head.

And, uh, you know, it had occurred to Ali, I think, that, uh, Liston thought he was crazy.

That Ali was crazy.

You ain't got a chance! Let us see, let us see.

Liston, he can't deal with this.

A fella coming at him with a sledgehammer, he could deal with it, but, well, "This fella's crazy," you know.

And that's how he went into the ring.

Hey, get back!

I predict that tonight somebody will die at the ringside from shock.

The world heavyweight boxing title on the line.

Looking to get Sonny to lunge.

Liston thought he was gonna win the fight and his people thought he was gonna win the fight, but, um, that wasn't what Ali saw.

Less than one minute more in this second round.

Another downright hammer shot. There goes another one!

Sonny wobbles. Got a wobble.

The fight never went Liston's way.

At the end of the sixth round, Liston sat on the stool and said, "That's it, I've finished."

They might be stopping it.

That might be over, ladies and gentlemen.

Get up there, Joe, get up there. Get up in the ring.

Get near the microphone.

All you reporters... all you reporters made it hard on Liston.

Never write about me like that. Never make me six to one.

You just make me angry. Never, never make me no underdog, and never talk about who's gonna stop me.

Ain't nobody gonna stop me.

No heavyweight in the world's fast enough to stop me.

Who's the greatest? Who you gonna fight next?

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Say, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. "

- Sting like a fly like a bee. - Who's your daddy?

Say it. Say it for Daddy.

Float like a bee, sting like a bee.

- What's your daddy's name? Muhammad Ali!

Why do you insist on being called Muhammad Ali now?

That's the name given to me by my leading teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. That's my original name.

That's a black man name. Cassius Clay was my slave name.

I'm no longer a slave. What does it mean?

Muhammad means "worthy of all praises," and Ali means "most high."

Do you intend to fight under that name?

Yes, sir. I wanna be called by that name. I write autographs with that name.

I wanna be known all over the world as that name.

What attracted you then to Islam in the first instance?

The Muslim religion is the true teachings of Elijah Muhammad right there in America.

No power structure. Nobody will challenge him.

And the history of ourselves, the history of our true religion, our nationality, our names.

See, we don't have our names, you know.

I notice how proud you all are, proud of your names.

See, Chinese have names like Chan, Chong, Lu, Chin.

This is Islamic teachings.

The Russians have names like Kosygin or Khrushchev.

You have names like O'Connell or Grady or Kennedy.

And, uh, Africans have names like Kalumumba, Nkrumah.

And Jews got names like Weinstein and Goldberg.

And Italians got names like Dundee and Benvenuti and Marciano.

But we have names like Grady and Clay and Hawkins and Smith and Jones and Johnson, but we are black.

These are the slave names? Yeah.

So when I heard this I knew the truth. It's history.

So Muhammad Ali is a beautiful black name. The name of our ancestors.

So when I heard this, I just had to walk out of the church and Christianity

'cause they never taught us our true knowledge.

You were born in nineteen-sixty-what?

- Eight. 1968.

Daddy won the title of 1964.

That's four years.

Four years after! Won my title, you were born.

I was in exile at that time, you know.

They took my title because I didn't go to Vietnam.

- Do you remember that? Yes, sir.

You were too small to remember, but it's history.

- Ah, but I know about it. You know about it.

When I was growing up, he was growing up.

He was younger than me, but he was a big figure in the Olympics.

He had a tremendous personality.

Uh... and he had an attitude about being black.

And, uh, that was my game. That's what I was.

The black man has been brainwashed and it's time for him to learn something about hisself.

When you look at television, you see White Owl Cigars.

White Swan soap. SkinWhite soap. White Rain hair rinse.

White Tornado floor wax. White floss toothpaste. You go, uh, he...

They taught him when he was a little boy that Mary had a little lamb, his fleece was white as snow.

Then they taught him about Snow White.

Then there's the White House.

When you look at television, you see these two cars, one black and one white, and they put a gallon of gas in each one...

To see which car can go the farthest.

And every time the black car stopped first and the white car just kept going.

So this brainwashes the negro. See?

I always followed him, got a chance to know him, got a chance to work with him.

He was just a part of my life and, uh, he goes back as far as my memory goes.

Clay's first taste of military life, and quite possibly his only one, was at the induction, or call-up centre, at the Old Post Office building in Houston.

Just before lunch. It's all over.

But Clay is not telling what happened in the private ceremony where one pace forward would have meant acceptance of the call-up.

Why should me and other so-called negroes go 10,000 miles, uh, away from home here in America to drop bombs and bullets on other innocent, uh, brown people who's never bothered us?

And, uh, I will say directly, "No, I will not go 10,000 miles to, uh, help kill innocent people."

Muhammad Ali refused the draft to go into Vietnam.

He believed it was an unjust and unholy war.

He said if the Vietnamese came over and attacked this country, he would be the first one to defend it.

John Wooten, the Executive Director of the Black Economic Union, uh, I called him because I wanted him to get the top black athletes to have a meeting with Muhammad Ali to give him an opportunity to tell his side of the story, because there were so many rumors about, uh, his life and not going into service and his religion.

And we felt that if we got the truth from him and we believed him, that we would be a body that would support him.

And I felt he needed a lot of support at the time because he was challenging the United States Government.

Nine top negro athletes meet with Cassius Clay to discuss his anti-draft stand.

They include Bill Russell, Lew Alcindor, and former pro footballer Jimmy Brown.

Uh, everybody had a chance to talk to him, to question him, to give their opinions, to give their thoughts.

And it was a fantastic meeting because at no time did Ali indicate that he would go into service under any circumstances.

Says Brown, the champ is sincere in his religious beliefs.

He believes in his religion and his stand is based wholly on that.

Clay's induction refusal cost him his title and he faces a possible five-year prison sentence.

He claims exemption as a minister of the Black Muslim faith.

Each and every individual there, uh, admired tremendously because Muhammad Ali had become a Muslim.

At the time called a Black Muslim, and that was a highly controversial organization.

And anyone that was associated with them was going to really feel the wrath of the system.

The so-called Black Muslims in America at the time, Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad.

It was very, very controversial.

Malcolm X was, um, a charismatic man. A feared man, by many.

Uh, the power structure had successfully created, uh, the image of the American negro as someone with no confidence, no militancy and, uh, they had done this by giving him images of heroes that weren't truly militant or confident.

And now here come Cassius, uh, the exact contrast of everything that, uh, was representative of the negro image.

He said he was the greatest. All of the odds were against him.

He upset the oddsmakers. He won. He became victorious.

He became the champ. They knew that as soon as, uh, if people began to identify with Cassius and the type of image he was creating, they were going to have trouble out of these negroes because they'd have negroes walking around the streets saying, "I'm the greatest."


I could name you 20 activists that had a part in the change in this country.

You were living in a state of discrimination and racism.

And so there were the outstanding individuals who would risk everything.

The Panthers took up arms. I mean, it was a time of people standing up and other people cowering down.

So there were a lot of individuals that were risking not only their careers, but their life.

That was a time of... of social revolution.

We are not seeking to lose our identity in blood mixing and our beautiful Black African history.

We don't hate you. We don't hate those of you who are white.

We just wanna stay black. We love my color. I just love myself.

I think that, on a personal level, I've been around him and there's a couple of things about him that I think are really beautiful.

First of all, he loves people.

I thought that was a great trait and he had a way of relating to people and making them feel good.

And he used to say to me, "Come on, Jim, let's walk in the neighborhood and talk to the people."

"Yeah, that's all right, I'll go with you."

Meet the people, go into the barber shops. Go into the, uh, hair salons.

And, uh, he didn't dislike white people.

He just didn't like what a lot of white people stood for, but when we went to England, he enjoyed the English.

He would even party in my suite with the English people, particularly young ladies.

But, uh... So his heart, and his compassion for people, was bigger than just black people and I think that's important to know.

And then he had a lot of courage.

The risk he had to take and then to be isolated, to have his crown taken away.

Not be able to make a living. That was difficult.

And to keep an attitude about himself, to keep that personality moving even though inside he had to be suffering a lot.

Clay now faces a nomadic existence of uncertain duration divided between courthouses and meeting houses all over America.

His occupation's gone. He seems unlikely to box again for a long time.

Patriots deride him. The Peace Party applaud him.

His Black Muslim friends keep him from faltering.

It's doubtful whether he has the intellectual equipment to evaluate these pressures, but under them all he keeps a dignity and repose which make it difficult to maintain that he's either cowardly or dishonest.


I hooked him up with a fella in New York City, and he had him doing the college lecturing and he went out on the college campuses and he did the lecturing and all the colleges loved him.

He was accepted Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Penn.

All of the schools, the bigger schools, and he was like their hero.

I'm very flattered in coming here, because you never could have made me believe years ago when I was a...

When I got out of high school with a D minus average.

And they gave me the "minus" because I won the Olympics.

I understand that, uh, out of people such as y'all come presidents and governors and mayors and great doctors and physicians and scientists and everything.

So I said, "Well, to get something together, to talk to these people", it's gotta be pretty heavy."

So I didn't bring no notes with me.

You are happy to have thrown away perhaps the greatest sports career since the war for the ideals.

I haven't thrown it away. I haven't lost it.

I would say I turned it down. I'm not, uh...

See, the greatest sports title mean nothing, mister, if you cannot be free, see?

Boys in Vietnam are throwing away, you may say, their lives.

I haven't did that much. I'm still living.

They are dying today to free somebody they don't know, so what in the hell is a heavyweight title and a few stinking dollar bills for my people's freedom?


I'm an advertising guy, and the, uh, editor of Esquire, Harold Hayes, came to me and, uh, was reading about me being a hotshot art director.

I had seen, uh, footage of Muhammad fighting.

I said, "Whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Whoa!"

"What? Whoa. This kid is something."

Yeah! Where's he at'?

I'm the king of the ring! I'm the biggest thing in history!

A young black kid with a big mouth, talking sense.

Uh, yeah, it was wonderful back then.

I mean, they were still hanging guys down in the South.

Ali refused to be drafted during the Vietnam War, and because of that he lost the very best boxing years he had during that time because boxers don't last forever.

And so Lois, who was the cover art director of Esquire magazine at the time, said, "Why don't we do him as a martyr?"

I said to Harold Hayes, the editor, I said, "I think Muhammad Ali's a great man. How about you?"

He said, "Yeah, I think so." So he said, "What do you wanna do?"

"I'm gonna have him posing as Saint Sebastian."

"A martyr to his country, a martyr to his religion, as a martyr to what he thinks about life."

"Wow." I call up Muhammad and so he comes to New York and, uh, I show him a postcard of a Saint Sebastian painting where the body was in repose, but his head was in torment.

And I said, "Muhammad, I want you to pose like this. I want you to..."

And he looks at it and he says, "Hey, George, this cat's a Christian."

I said, "Holy Moses, you're right, Muhammad."

"Yeah, yeah, Saint Sebastian."

And I realized very quickly he was saying a Muslim can't pose as a Christian.

Whoa. Gotta do this cover. What, what...

"I can't do it." "What can we do?"

"Can we call Elijah Muhammad?" "I guess so."

Have a little bit of a conversation, puts me on the phone and I had, like, a 15-minute talk about religion and symbolism and image making, etc, etc, with Elijah Muhammad.

It was a funny conversation. I wish I had a tape of it.

And, finally, Elijah Muhammad said to me, "Young man," and I was a young man then, uh, "I think it would make a terrific image."

It took a long time because the arrows kept falling down and Ali had to stand still, which is not his style.

But he was very cooperative, very helpful.

We made funny stories and kept him amused.

He's posing, hands behind his back, head in pain, head in anguish.

Beautiful image.

And we're starting to shoot, trying to photograph, and he said, "Hey, George."

I said, "What, Muhammad?" "Hey, George."

I said, "Muhammad, what? Pose. Do your job. Come on."

"Hey, George." When he does three "Hey, George"s, you've gotta...

He wants to say something. "What?"

And slowly but surely, he pointed to each of the arrows and he said, "Lyndon Johnson, General Westmoreland, Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, Carl Clifford, Hubert Humphrey."

He pointed to six tonnentors that had fired the arrows that were out to get him.

I was stunned how bright it was, how smart.

How almost poignant.

When the cover came out, it absolutely blew the minds of millions of people.

I mean, I've had hundreds of people come up to me and talk to me about what that cover did to them.

If you didn't wanna fight in the war, you were a coward or you were a traitor.

And... or you were a nerd or you were fearful, etc.

And along... and along comes the most manly person, forget about fighter, that ever lived and he became an incredible symbol specifically to young people, you know.

So I'm proud of it for, not only for helping Muhammad, but helping to fight against the war.

Finally he got the license back.

He said, "Well, maybe we should get our own training camp."

So that's what we did. I mean, here's a guy as big as he was.

He didn't have to pay someone to have to rent their gym.

He had his own place and he designed all of it. He called it Fighter's Heaven.

These are the little ponies we bought just for children.

In summertime when the children come up, we saddle up ponies and let 'em ride around on 'em.

Heckle and Jekyll. Heckle and Jekyll?!

Yeah. Heckle and Jekyll, Mutt and Jeff.

Heckle and Jekyll, and Mutt and Jeff.

My wife. My wife names all these horses.

These cabins and things you see, we built all this from the ground up.

And I always, as a kid, wanted to train in a real training camp with the logs and the rocks and the trees and the woods.

We had hotel bills, so I built my own cabins for the fighters to stay in.

Then we had eating bills, so I built my own kitchen around heres.

His mom and dad would come up and cook, and his Aunt Coretta.

That was his domain. He loved it. He loved every part of it.

His brother Rahaman was there. It was something that he created.

This is my brother here, Rahaman Ali. Hi.

He just... he just got up. He likes to sleep and eat.

He just got up. He's come to get a comb.

He works hard, so it's why he's gotta sleep and eat.

He works so hard. I put 'em all to work.

The comb should be in the restroom there.

Always open to the public. All the people would come by there, and it was really like the boxing shrine of the world.

He enjoyed it and there was a lot of great champions came up there to train.

A lot of celebrities came by to visit there.

I went up to his training camp and I got in the ring with him.

You know, just for... Just for fun.

So, um, I said, you know, "Take it easy, you know", because how are we gonna get around, you know, how are we gonna do this?"

"Don't worry about it." He said, "Just don't worry about it. Just get in."

So then he started to, you know...

And then tried to wind me up a little bit, you know, and he said, "Trigger. You called me Trigger, right? It was Trigger, right?"

I said, "I didn't call you anything." "Yes, you did," you know.

So we just... So then we started.

So he said, you know, "Throw something at me."

So I threw a, um, a left jab and a right cross.

You know, not hard, because I didn't want him to hit me.

So it was like, you know, bang, bang and they both connected and he threw out a left, you know, just automatically that, you know, just caught me. The end of it just caught me.

And I thought, "Oh, you know, my teeth," because I wasn't wearing any, um, mouthpieces.

You know, it was just a friendly little thing there.

But just to stand in the ring with this man and just, you know...

He would telegraph everything he was throwing at me.

You know, it was only, thank God, a bit of fun.

And just to block his arms coming at you, you know, even though you knew each one he was just, you know, doing that...

I thought, "Good God."

I mean, to get in there to fight this man for real must be terrifying.

So then Ali says to me, you know, "Just, just throw one, you know, for the..."

So I said, "Oh, OK," you know. So I went like this and he dropped.

And he's on the, you know, in the ring on the floor and, you know, and I'm standing over him like, like this.

'Cause, you know, it's just for publicity.

And, apparently, Gene Kilroy was telling me that, um, when the photos went all over the world, some of Ali's fans were concerned and said that, um, Ali should stop now.

If Tom Jones can knock him down, you know what I mean, then he should stop boxing.

We were in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania, one time and there was a little boy there who looked frail and he wanted to meet Muhammad Ali.

I said, "No problem," and I brought the boy in and his dad.

Muhammad looked at the boy and he said, "Why do you have this hot wool hat on?" He said, "it's so hot out there today."

He said, "I got leukemia and I lost all my hair. I'm getting this chemo."

And Ali said, "I'll tell you what."

"I'm gonna beat George Foreman and you're gonna beat leukemia."

The boy looked at him.

He said, "Oh, I hope you're right, Ali, I hope you're right."

I went and I got my camera and I took a picture of the little boy and Ali.

And I got the father's address. I had Ali write on the picture, "I am gonna beat George Foreman and you're gonna beat cancer."

"God bless you, Muhammad Ali."

So about two weeks later I get a call. It said, the boy's father, he said, "Jimmy's very sick. He's in the University of Pennsylvania Hospital."

"He's not gonna make it, but the thrill of his life was meeting Muhammad Ali."

I said, "Jeez, I'm sorry to hear it. Is there anything we can do?" "No."

So that next morning we're doing roadwork, 4:30 in the morning before the sun is up, when he can run, and I tell him about the boy.

He said, "OK, here's what we're gonna do."

"When I get done, my exercise and all, we take a shower, we head down to the hospital."

So we go down to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, a two-hour ride, and we went in.

Here's the little boy with a white sheet.

White kid, no hair, big blue eyes.

And he said, "Muhammad, I knew you would come."

And Muhammad reached and he held the little boy.

He said, "Remember, I told you that you are gonna beat cancer" and I'm gonna beat George Foreman and that's the way it's gonna be."

And the little boy said, "No, Muhammad", I'm gonna meet God and I'm gonna tell Him that I know you."

There wasn't a word said in the two-hour ride going back.

About a week later, the little boy died.

The father called me and Ali said he didn't want to go to the funeral.

It was too sad. So I went over to the funeral and in the casket, they had the boy laid out and they had the picture there.

"I'm gonna beat George Foreman, you're gonna beat cancer."

The boy was gonna go to Heaven and say he was a friend of Muhammad Ali's to get a better seat or a better place.

That's... that's a great compliment, isn't it?

- Muhammad? What?

- I bet you don't know your ABCs. I do!

No, you don't. Yes, I do!

Let me hear you.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G.

H, I,J, K,L, M,N, O,P.

Q, R, S, T, U, V.

W, X, Y and Z.

Now I know my ABCs.

Won'! You come and play with me?

Hey, hey. Ooh, I love you, Muhammad.

I just love you so much. I think about you every day. I miss you.

It doesn't come to me as him being famous.

He's being Dad. It really didn't faze me any because I feel like everybody else, like Dad is Dad.

I grew up with Rasheda, Jamillah and Maryum.

We was a close-knit family and we knew about our other siblings.

We would go, like, say we had summer or winter break out of school, we would go to California where he stayed at the Fremont Place and we would meet up with all of our other siblings.

We had fun. We'd swim in pool, bike ride.

He used to always do magic tricks and stuff.

I had a bit of a problem in school because a lot of kids wanted to see if I could fight like my father, and I really didn't wanna do so.

So they would pick on me a lot.

I never really wanted to be in the limelight. It's really no life for me.

I just wanted to be a normal child.

He actually said to me, "I don't want you to be like me."

"I want you to be better than me."

So how can you be better than the greatest, huh?

The man's in trouble.

Listen, George Foreman. People are afraid of George Foreman.

They talk about how hard he hits. The world has been deceived.

You listen to me now. I've never told you wrong. The man don't hit hard.

This will be the biggest upset since Sonny Liston and I think it is befitting that I go out of boxing just like I came in, defeating a big, bad monster that nobody could destroy.

A hard punch. I'm the underdog.

If he hits me, I'm in trouble, like the Sonny Liston fight, but I came back and I shook the world and I got Liston.

Now it's ten years since Sonny Liston.

I'm meeting another big, bad, strong monster, knock-out artist.

He's a bully. He's slow. He has no skill, no footwork.

He's awkward and I have given him a name.

I named Floyd Patterson The Rabbit. I named Sonny Liston The Bear.

And he shall be known officially as The Mummy.

The Mummy. Why? Why The Mummy?

Because he fights, when he's fighting, if you ever watch him in the ring, he, he, he, he drags like that after his opponent.

And how's The Mummy gonna catch me?

When you're fighting The Mummy, you just keep a step ahead of The Mummy.

Yeah, yeah. See?

Yeah, just move on, The Mummy.

"No, Mummy, I'm over here. No, Mummy, I'm over here."

Yeah, no, you're moving too fast. The Mummy don't move that fast.

I remember the day we left Deer Lake.

We were going to Zaire, Africa.

Before we left the camp, and Ali ran in and he called Cus D'Amato.

He said, "Gus, how do I fight this guy?"

Cus said, "He is a bully-type individual."

"Your first punch must be with... with bad intentions, devastating tenacity."

I got on and I said, "Gus, look what George Foreman did to Kenny Norton."

"Look what he did to Joe Frazier." And Cus yelled. He was in New York.

I could have heard him from New York to Deer Lake, Pennsylvania without the phone.

He said, "But they're not Ali!"

We flew Air Zaire. All black people, all black pilots.

And on the way over Ali was saying to them he wanted to meet the pilots.

"How old are you? 23? 27?"

Ali said, "See, if black people get the chance to do it", they could do something in life." He believed it.

And all of a sudden we hit some turbulence and Ali got a little scared.

He said, "I hope those young pilots are as smart as the old pilots."

He talked about fighting George Foreman. "Cus is right, he's a bully."

"I know just what to do. I know how to fight him."

As we were walking off the airplane, Ali turned to me.

He said, "Who don't they like here?"

I said, "I guess they don't like the white people."

"No, no, I can't say George Foreman's white. Who else?"

I say, "The Belgians," and Ali yelled, "George Foreman's a Belgian!"

And everybody started yelling, "Ali, boma y. Ali, boma y!"

And I turned to our interpreter. I said, "What did they say?"

He said, "They say, 'Kill him. Kill him."'

Muhammad Ali!

Muhammad Ali!

When George Foreman arrived with his entourage, his sparring partners, here he has one of his loyal companions, a German Shepherd dog by the name of Diego.

The Belgians used to put the German Shepherds on the black people.

I knew we were home free.

It was a blessing that we fought in Zaire, because no-one could bother us.

We had time for each other. You know, we had our own cook there.

We had our own movies. We had it nice.

Ali loved it when his mom and dad was there, and his brother.

He wanted to make 'em proud of him.

Show 'em what it was to really achieve something in life.

Getting back on George Foreman, why he's not here?

Never mind about getting back on. What you mean, never mind?

Why, he's always ducking. That makes me mad.

Sonny Liston killed the game and Floyd Patterson fighting once a year, and now this man who was at a press conference the other day.

He wouldn't talk.

He sends this bald-headed man over, Dick Sadler, to talk for him.

And then, then, then he didn't show up the other day.

Get off my head.

Listen. I'm gonna float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

George can't hit what his eyes can't see.

Now you see me, now you don't.

You think you will, but I know you won't.

Thank you, Ali. Thank you, Angelo Dundee.

Is that all the time I get? OK.

Thank you, Ben Degabula and Dick Sadler.

Don't do that, champ. Get away, get away.

Mobutu's right-hand man came in.

Said George Foreman cut his eye, the fight may be called off.

I say, "Ali, if he leaves this country, he will never fight you" because you're not showing any fear, you're not showing any respect."

So I told him, "Take the passports so they can't leave."

If he would have left, there would have never been an Ali-Foreman fight.

The other day, messing around the gymnasium, he got cut.

He's doing everything to get out of this fight.

Then he almost had a car accident. I don't know what's gonna happen.

I just wanna see him that day in the arena, because that's one place he won't be able to duck.

The vibrations are against him. The planets are against him.

And already, he's lost the first five rounds.

I'm gonna prove to the world that I'm still the fastest, the prettiest, the most classiest, the most scientific, the greatest fighter of all time.

The African people loved Muhammad Ali.

They thought he was a savior.

Muhammad could have said to the people when we went to the stadium, "I wanna be your president."

Everybody would have followed him. They loved him so much.

It was unbelievable, the power that this man had.

There's a theory in life. It's said that the strong will beat the weak.

But the brains will beat the strong every time.

He said, "He's strong, but he has no stamina."

"He doesn't know what it's like. Round five. Round six."

"Round seven. Round eight. I've got him."

And that famous spin when he was spinning, I told him, I said, "Why didn't you hit him on the way down?"

He said, "He had enough."

If he would have spent as much time in the art, painting and, you know, or an artist, taking after his dad who was in his genes, he might have been a great artist.

If he'd spent as much time on the books, he might have been a great lawyer 'cause he relates to people.

Could you imagine him with a Harvard degree out of law school, going before a jury? Wow. Case dismissed.

Oh, my God, he's won the title back at 32!

The fight with Muhammad Ali was spectacular for me.

It changed my life because I'd never lost as a professional, and I'd intended to win the easiest fight of my career.

I'd get into the ring with the guy. I bluffed him, I'd done everything.

Beat him up, hey, basically for about five or six rounds.

I thought it was easy.

Then about the sixth round he whispered in my ear, after I'd hit him in the side, "That all you got, George?"

And that was about all I had.

It turned into a nightmare then.

Everybody expected me to win that boxing match.

All the oddsmakers had me ahead to win by a knockout, as a matter of fact.

And once I lost that fight, I was devastated.

Look at that face. Look at that face.

A man who can scarcely believe what has happened to him.

I didn't understand losing.

He knew something about that, so he prepared himself.

He reserved his power and his strength.

I had nothing in the back of my mind to shield me or protect me.

So I lie in devastation.

George Foreman, the man who was totally invincible.

Afterl retired from boxing, well, left boxing in the '70s, I became a minister at the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm still doing so. And I realized that, uh...

A reporter asked me, "What happened in Africa, George? Surely something happened?"

And I admitted that I'd lost the boxing match. I said, "I got proof."

From that point on I was able to cope, because I realized not only did I lose the boxing match, but I lost to the greatest man I've ever met.

Somebody who would never give up.

George Foreman, how are you doing?

Your name, as young as you are, in my training camp, me working with you, get your weight down and you're not fighting for money.

God knows this in your heart. You ain't gotta answer the man.

See, man judges man's actions. God judges man's heart.

You go in the ring for God, now you got the whole world shook up.

"George Foreman came back!" Now you go out and you start preaching.

You got thousands of people coming to you.

Don't go out a loser. You go out a winner.

And this is the wild idea I have.

Sometimes people come to me and say, "What do you think?"

"Was Muhammad Ali the greatest boxer?"

And I feel almost insulted, because boxing was just something he did.

I mean, that's no way to define Muhammad Ali.

He was one of the greatest men to ever appear on the scene of the Earth.

Let me ask Laila something. Wait. Y'all be quiet.

Now, this is a microphone.

And when you get to be a big girl, I'm gonna play this back so you can hear it.

Say what I say. Say, "I love my daddy."

- I love my daddy. - I love my poo-poo head daddy.

Hana, OK. Wait, wait, wait. I'm just gonna ask you a question.

- What's your mother's name, Hana? Veronica.

"AU". And, Laila, what's your mother's name?

- Wonica. Whatk her name?

- Wonica. Venvonica?

I first met Muhammad when I was 18 years old and I was off from college for the summer.

I didn't like him.

The only thing I really knew about him was that he was a big mouth.

Um, the boys in high school in chemistry class were taking about the Frazier fight and 'rust...

I heard them talking about the personality, so I made up my mind.

"Oh, I don't like this Muhammad Ali. He's, like, a bragger and a big mouth."

Then we met again in Africa, in Zaire.

I was helping promote the George Foreman-Muhammad Ali fight at the time.

One of his entourage asked if we wanted to go and meet him and visit his training camp, so I went with a few other people and he didn't really pay any attention to me.

However, when it was time to go back, we took a bus back, which was fun, um, but Muhammad decided he was going to ride on the bus back with us and he ended up sitting with me and talking to me the whole time.

My first thought was, "Wow, he's really nice. He's very quiet."

Uh, he later told me it was because he was afraid to say anything.

He didn't know what to say. But, um, I thought, "Oh, he's really nice."

When the fight was postponed and he kept inviting me back and, um, he told me he was getting divorced.

He wasn't living with a wife so I didn't know any better, um, at the time, in the very beginning.

But, um, he would give these lectures on love and friendship and I remember the moment I fell in love with him when he was, uh... gonna make me cry.

It was just very touching.

We actually got married, um, when I was 21.

And, uh, we had been together already since I was 18 years old, even though we did have a wedding ceremony in Zaire, which lots of people don't realize.

Living with Muhammad was never dull.

You never knew what you'd be coming home to any given day.

I heard you breathing and started to talk.

I could hear your big breath breathing and so could that lady.

And don'! You be playing that in front of everybody.

I don't want everyone listening to me talking on the phone.

- It could be history. No!

Why?

I'd rather have something else.

He took control of his destiny by making himself accountable, um, with things like his predictions where he would, you know, say what round.

Then he'd sort of pretty much live into his future and be more, um, pressured, actually or accountable to do what he had said he would do.

And, uh, so he pretty much, I think, mastered life in that way.

- But now Hana's a little girl. - Now Hana's a little girl.

- She's three years old. - She's three years old.

And one day she'll be a big lady.

And one day she'll be a big lady and grow up a pretty lady and she never be a little lady no more.

Right. And be a pretty lady like Momma.

And pretty, and be a pretty lady like Veronica.

Come here, Hana. Come here. Come on.

Each night before you go to bed, my baby.

Each night my... go to bed, my baby.

While I'm far away from you, my baby.

Those were, like, the idyllic, um, fairy-tale days, I think.

We were always there, whereas the other kids were, um, in school and that type of thing and he, um, he spent the most time with both my daughters, um, from the moment they were born on.

We were always there. We went everywhere with him.


He's a really good-hearted person. Very sensitive.

And I guess I'm crying because of his situation now, you know, and I'll always love him.

It's... I mean, not, like, "in love," but, I mean, we've always been friends.

Um, it became hard to live with him because of, you know...

Everyone knows, the whole world knows, he wasn't faithful as a husband.

Uh, there's a story to that, too, I think.

But, um, he's an incredible human being.

He has a beautiful heart and very sensitive.

I mean, he cries a lot. People don't know that.

You know, when something touches him he'll start crying, more than I do.

There are lots of people, actors in movies, playing great parts and that are idolized, but it's all a fantasy and Muhammad was real.

He stood up for what he believed and he was 100% sincere about all of that.

Um, and I think people just feel the love, that genuine love that comes from him.

It emanates from him and people can feel that.

At that time in the '70s you very rarely see the big stars come to Newcastle.

Incredibly, Muhammad Ali turned up. Not only did he come, he had just been married a couple of months before to Veronica Porche and they had their wedding blessed in a local mosque.

Its a far cry from fashionable Beverly Hills.

The mosque comes as a surprise in the industrial heart of South Shields.

The children of the traditional Muslim community here were out in force to greet the champion and his bride, Veronica.

There were so many things to say.

I wanted to tell him I was his greatest fan of all times.

I wanted so many things in me heart and in me head I wanted to tell him.

He's my hero and I've got a poem for him.

My poem goes, "Muhammad, I welcome you here to my town."

"You come here with no furious frown, plus your heavyweight boxing crown."

"Oh, Great One, oh, Great One, enjoy your stay."

So afterwards I used to write to him.

Writing to him in America, writing to his training camp, and saying the things that I wanted to say to him when he was in Newcastle.

And this went on for years.

"Russell, Russell, Russell! It's Muhammad Ali on the phone!"

I thought she was just winding us up because we were just watching him.

We're still watching him on the television.

And I thought... I just ignore her. I was still watching.

She says, "Hurry up! He'll put the phone down. Hurry up."

So, you know, obviously there was something behind it.

I run into the kitchen. "Muhammad, is that you, Muhammad?"

"Yeah, Russ, it's me, Muhammad Ali."

And it was... it was like... you couldn't believe it was happening.

And he says, "I'll give you a date when you can come over."

He says, "Russ, you don't need no hotel. You can..."

"I have a room for you. You can stay in me home."

I was like, uh... You know, I was, like, stuck for words.

I goes, "Muhammad, don't say that if you don't mean it."

He says, "I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it."

It was fabulous.

It was surreal, really, I mean, the house itself.

If you ever watch the Rocky films, in Rocky III, you see Rocky living in a big white mansion.

That was Muhammad Ali's house in 1984.

That was the house that he gave me a room to stay and take us out through the days and going out and meeting the people and meeting the fans.

And to be there with him and see it and be on the inside, it was so special for me. Like, a very special, special time.

The greatest! Muhammad Ali, assalamu alaikum.

You look beautiful. I love you. Bye-bye.

Ali in three. Au revoir, Ali.

It's very hard for when you see people who've been in with Muhammad, who've been so ingrained with Muhammad. It cannot leave them.

I only had a very small piece of being with Muhammad, but it never left me

'cause they were personal times and they were very special.

Did you... Owl Did you spend the night yesterday?

Yeah. Where?

Dad let us stay at your house last night.

Yeah, your daddy let me stay last night.

You slept in her bed? No, he stayed somewhere.

Mine? A big white bed? I don't know whose bed.

I don't know. The room with the big long doors?

I slept on the floor. Get out the way!

Hana, you're mining it. I want this kinda bike.

Daddy?

Daddy?

Hana, this is 1979. November the, uh, 12th and it's about 8:00pm.

Me and Veronica was going out to have dinner.

- NOW? Yeah.

No!

Why you don't want us go and have dinner?

- I want you to eat here. You want me to eat here?

- I'm going to eat with Mommy. I don't want you to.

- You don't want me to. Why? - I don't want you to.

How old are you? How old are you? Say, "I'm three years old. "

HANA". "I'm three years old," like that.

Well, I'm gonna take Momma to have some dinner.

- I don't want you to. Well, you wanna come with?

I don't think that I would, uh, say that my father was very strict.

He had very strong beliefs and values and whatnot, but he wasn't really too strict.

I actually remember when I was young and growing up, knowing that I wasn't allowed to ask my father for something, like, it was ice cream after hours or, you know, Daddy's a "yes" man.

He was the "yes" man. Everything was "yes."

OK. - I want to, Daddy.

- AU". I'll let you go tonight. I want to, Daddy.

OK, you can go tonight. Just stop saying it, OK?

Even from that early age, I realized that his "yes" wasn't enough.

So I say to him, "Are you gonna ask Mommy?"

"I need to hear her tell me too." So I ran into the room.

I ask my mother for permission. When she says "yes," then I know I can go.

Daddy take you. I just can't help it. You...

I want you to ask Mommy, too.

Yeah, I'll let you go. Right.

I would not say there was a difference between my father publicly and privately, because he's always very charismatic.

Always looking to entertain, make you smile, make you laugh.

It's not something he really turned on.

But at the same time he would turn it up a notch, I think, for the crowd.

But he is always Muhammad Ali, even at home, you know?

He was always joking.

I'd come home from school and he'd be sitting behind his office desk and sometimes he'd have a little wire, um, arrow going through his head, just with a little bit of red blood, pretending that he was dead.

And we'd come home and find him and we're so used to him, we just say, "Oh, Daddy," and jump in his lap anyway, and just didn't even acknowledge it, you know.

When I meet Joe Frazier, this will be like a good amateur fighting a real professional.

This will be like a kid out of the Olympics meeting the fastest heavyweight champion that ever lived.

This will be no contest.

What do you say, Joe? What do you say to that?

I say he's nothing but a bunch of noise, that's all.

This is the day, man. You understand? I just want you to...

You're not fighting Quarry, you're not fighting Oscar Bonavena, you're not fighting Sonny Liston. You're fighting Joe Frazier.

Everybody knows that.

They had a big rivalry, um, back in the '70s, early '70s.

It was a pretty heavy thing, you know. Um, you know, it was rough.

It was rough.

Well, I think that Ali is probably clowning, but there is no question in my mind that Joe Frazier is not clowning.

They threw off their respective earpieces, microphones.

Joe Fraziefs watch came off.

There was a wrestling bout on the floor and we're really very sorry this happened.

And there's no question about it. Joe Frazier is leaving the studio now and he is deeply upset about Ali calling him ignorant.

I'm sorry, Joe.

I'm getting sick and tired of all this mess.

Joe Frazier, the heavyweight champion of the world, clumsy, ugly, flat-footed Joe Frazier.

I'll show you what a real champion is.

Said that he was an Uncle Tom. Said he was ugly.

Said he was a gorilla, you know, and Pop just said, "Well, I'm going to do what you say I do."

"You say I'm a gorilla, I'm gonna be a gorilla on you."

As a man, Pop was a... he was like a little puppy dog, man.

He was a calm, gentle, kind...

He was the kind of person that, uh, everybody would want to be their best friend, you know.

Mom didn't say too much. She was always calm.

She was always collected and she'd, like, "Oh, don't worry about it, son. It'll be all right."

And I said, "That's not fight, Mom, what they're saying about Daddy," you know.

"It's not right what they're saying. They call him this, they call him that."

"Don't worry about it, honey. The Good Lord will work it out."

I met Mr Ali in New York, man.

He was like, "Oh, you're Joe's son. How are you doing, son? How are you doing?"

"You're looking all right there."

But, you know, Pop on the other side, he was like, "I'm coming to get you."

The heavyweight champion of the world, Joe Frazier!

He was more like a fireball because of the things that, uh, Mr Ali was saying to him.

It really, you know, got down into his heart because here was a guy that help another brother.

To help him when everybody was against him because of not going to the war, you know what I mean?

And then he was the one to help him get his license back, and then for him to say the things that he said to him was kinda hard for my dad. He couldn't understand it.

Hundreds of millions are seeing this bout around the world.

A packed house at Madison Square Garden.

And I believe in that, uh, first fight, uh, that my dad, he wanted, you know, he wanted to get him. He wanted to get him.

Why do you think he beat you, Muhammad?

Well, the reason that he got the decision, if you looked at my face and his face after the fight, both eyes were closed.

His nose is blood, his lips was cut, his head was swollen and he spent one month in the hospital. And did you all hear it?

Yeah, surely.

He spent 30 days in intensive care. No phone calls, no visitors.

Now that's a terrible beating when you have to stay resting for 30 days.

But he got the decision. But I'm not complaining. Next time I'll get him.

I remember, um, being at an autograph signing and a lot of the, you know, different sports figures would be there signing autographs, and Joe Frazier was there at one.

And my father and him were passing each other in the hallway and I remember my father was so excited to just see Joe Frazier.

He started jumping up and down and say, "Come on, Joe, let's play for... let's show off for the cameras."

And Joe Frazier just sort of put his hand up, looked at him and kept on walking.

And I remember thinking, "Why did he just do that to Daddy?"

So that's when I learned, you know, of the pain or the, you know, the hostility or the anger that he still felt.

That he had not let go of or forgiven my father for yet.

My father was told, actually, uh, about Joe Frazier and everything that he went through and he read about how his children would come home from school crying and my fatherjust put his head down silently and started to cry himself.

It really upset... it hurt him to know that.

And I think also a part of him admired Joe Frazier. He was a great athlete.

At the time in which Joe Frazier came into the picture, there was a lot of probably different emotions my father was dealing with in taking the stands that he took.

Then Joe Frazier sort of, in his mind, became representative of what he would say, you know, was going on in the world and what was being done wrong to blacks at that time.

So when he got in that position, the new champion, and my father never actually lost that title in the ring.

Unfortunately for Joe Frazier, he just sort of became this fixture that just represented all that.

Oh, he definitely had respect for my father, we know that.

I know that and I really realized it, uh, like, 'cause after the fight in Manila, he came to me and he said, "You know, hey, all the things I said about, uh," about the family and your dad, please, you know, "tell your father, you know, I apologize about that."

But Pop wanted to hear it from him for himself, that's all.

In the end, uh, before, uh, my father passed away, he and Ali came together in love and unity and oneness of the spirit.

And, uh, man, I was so happy to see that.

They hugged, embraced and, uh, it was something cool, you know.

That was fantastic.

Yeah?

Uh, there's a story in today's "Post" that you're gonna go up to Deer Lake and start training again.

There is?

Yeah, so what they're saying is you're gonna come back.

- That'll shock 'em, won't it? - Yeah.

- That'll shock 'em! - Listen...

I'll come back for the fourth time. I'll take my crown for the fourth time.

I hope it's not true, between you and me.

Well...

Because, uh, you've conquered all the worlds you could conquer.

Can you imagine? Can you imagine four-time champion?

Ah, but what do you need with it, Muhammad?

- Don't need it. - What do you need with it?

Just talking. I'm just talking.

Nobody is ever gonna be a three-time champion again.

- I know. - Nobody. Not in our lifetime.

- I'm just talking. Yeah, yeah.

Many people wanna know why am I doing this.

Champion, why? I say, "Why? Because it is there."

Why did we go to the moon? Because it's there.

We're not satisfied. Now we're mapping out a plan to go to Mars.

Why? Why Mars? Ain't the moon far enough?

Mars, because it's there and there's the possibility and a chance of us reaching it.

Why am I coming back? Because it's there.

All right, here it is. A comeback by Muhammad Ali.

Drama of the Bahamas is now about to begin.

Drama in the Bahamas.

They say, "No." We close the doors, you're finished.

But if the guy they said "No" to is Muhammad Ali, they said "No" to the greatest of all time.

I can remember my father's last fight with Trevor Berbick.

We were at Deer Lake, his training camp. He called it Fighter's Heaven.

And, um, Daddy would run up the hill. He called it Agony Hill.

And I would follow behind him and behind that would be a car that would be there for when he got tired.

And, um, just riding, riding alongside with him, jogging up the hill.

I was probably five, I would think. Four or five.

They say I'm old. Do I look old to you?

I don't know. I'm pretty.

He did used to say that it was hard to get up and have to train and do those things.

You know, put your body through that when you're already comfortable in life.

You have a big house, you have the money you need.

But when you're trying to make it and you have this hunger and this need to prove to yourself and to the world how great and wonderful you are, it's a lot easier.

So at that time in his life he was, what, 38 years old.

He already had Parkinson's, although it was undiagnosed.

People saw, you know, you could hear it in his voice.

The slurred speech and the, you know, the discoordination in his movement.

Um, but no-one really knew what it was, so...

There it is. It's all over. What a fight.

A tremendous fight. Avery good fight.

Ali in much better condition than they thought he would be.

Everybody here feels now that Ali really won the fight.

Berbick is walking around.

He's been holding his hands up in the air as though he did win the fight.

However, there is a look of gloom in his eyes, as though he may have figured that he did lose it by a decision.

My father is one of those people that would have spent the rest of his life trying to make a comeback.

He actually joked about it probably up till age, I would say, 65.

"Wouldn't it be something to shake up, shock the world?"

"We'll shake up the world. Come back, take that title back."

Judge Jay Edson votes 99-94. Unanimous decision for Trevor Berbick!

Well, there you have it.

Trevor Berbick has the unanimous decision.

He's always defied impossible odds, doing the seemingly impossible, you know, and proving to the world, and himself, that he can accomplish it.

And I think that's part of what my father needed, and it's part of what made him who he is.

Had he not done it, he wouldn't be the three-time heavyweight champion of the world.

So he couldn't say goodbye to boxing, so obviously, you know, ultimately boxing had to say goodbye for him.

Boxing will always continue without me.

The Concorde, I understand, is not too economical and they're talking about grounding it.

Well, if they do, jet planes will still fly, but you just won't have a Concorde.

So, I was the Concorde of boxing and the other fighters are jets.

I was at a higher altitude than the rest, moving faster than the rest, but you'll just have to get used to riding on jets again.

You can't ride Concorde anymore.


We're on our way to meet Mike Tyson, one of the most unique people on planet Earth.

One time Muhammad Ali and I were in New York City and we got a call about a reform school.

No celebrities or athletes ever visit those kids, and they're good kids.

And we went out to this reform school and then three months later I got a call from Cus D'Amato and he said, "Gene, lightning struck twice."

He said, "I got a young kid here" who's gonna be the heavyweight champ of the world some day."

"He knows you." I said,"He knows me? How does he know me, Cus?"

When I saw Muhammad Ali I was at a reformatory in the Bronx, New York, named Spofford.

And, um, Muhammad Ali came one day out of the blue and someone say, "We have a surprise."

We saw the movie The Greatest and then after that Muhammad Ali came in and that was just a really, um, interesting moment in my life.

I said, "Wow, that's awesome." You know, "How can I be like that?"

Got involved with boxing and, um, I met Cus and Gus was very, um, acquainted with, uh, A“ and, um, he would talk to him on the phone.

You know, he'd call him up, talk to him.

Him and Gene'd be talking, and Gene'd put Ali on the phone.

And, uh, sometimes I'd go over to the phone and listen to 'em talk, sneak another phone, put it... listen to what they're talking about.

And, um, he just... it was just in my environment.

Everything was fighting and war, and the other concept of war and fighting and war.

You know, it's just the whole thing.

Who would have won if you fought this man in your prime?

Him?

Ali, Ali!

Ali! Ali!

Wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait.

I was so fast. Uh-huh.

But if he hit me...

That's if you catch me. Yeah. What would you say, Mike?

I... by no means... I'm vain.

I know I'm great, but can I tell you something?

Uh-huh.

In this situation every head must bow, every tongue must confess.

This is the greatest of all time.

You can't really explain, um, what Muhammad Ali is.

You know, there's no word really to explain it as far as achievements are concerned.

And, um, emotional and psychological achievements and, you know, inspiration that, that, um, had came from Muhammad Ali.

Um, you just can't imagine that in the word "great."

There has to be another word created.

My father has a lot of sides, and some sides are focused on and some sides aren't.

And you hear about the fights.

You hear about, you know, he's a good person to people, but you don't hear about family that much or what that meant to him.

You know, he used to always say, "When you guys grow up, I want us all to live on a hill and everyone has a house on the same street."

I admire him because I have half-sisters and he had children out of wedlock and he would make sure we all converged in LA to be with him and get to get to know each other.

He wasn't a perfect person, but I admired how he was with his kids and what he wanted for us.

When you all get to be grown ladies and get married, and we look back when you were coming up

"you can say, "I didn't live with all my sisters and brothers, but Daddy let me see 'em, and we knew 'em."

"Daddy let us play together."


Back in the days when Muhammad and I was young kids, he would say, "Rudy, I can see it in the stars. God is talking to me."

He would tell me his destiny, how great he would be.

He said, "And I want you to be with me. I love you, my brother."

He's a sweet, sweet, sweet person.

God blessed him with having insight to predict the future.

"I'm gonna be the world's greatest boxer. I'm gonna be a great man."

He wanted to become famous to help people.

He's a wonderful, wonderful...

I can remember feeling very proud of my father and just an overwhelming sense of pride. I guess it's a euphoric feeling.

You know, when I was... From an early age, anywhere we'd go together, because not just him getting attention, but the way that people would react to him and sometimes they'd be in tears.

And I know my mother hadn't seen my dad, maybe, I would say, three or four years after the marriage.

You know, he would come around and three years might have gone by where she hadn't seen him and when he came to the house, we lived in the Venice Canals, she was remarried and she looked at him and she hugged him.

Then she started to cry and she left the room.

My father looked at me and he says, "Why is she crying?"

So I had to ask her. She said, "Well, I looked into his eyes and I saw God."

So, you know, and I said, "Oh."

"I know what you mean," you know?

He has this twinkle in his eye and he has this spirit within him that's so profound that people sometimes are moved to just silence when they see him.

It just makes you more, I think, cognizant of just the spiritual side of fame and celebrity.

Not just famous for being famous, but it makes you wanna know why.

Why he was famous, why people love him, the stands that he took, the controversy.

Everything that he went through, it's all part of his story of getting to where he is now.

You know, the ups and the downs that all makes him who he is.

I'm with him in his training camp at Deer Lake.

Cold. Freezing cold.

Um, you know, ten degrees outside and maybe 20 degrees below zero, wind chill.

And he'd say, "Hey, George, let's go for a walk."

I said, "What, are you crazy?" "Hey, George, let's go for a walk!"

I said, "What..." "Hey, George, let's go for a walk!"

I figure he's got something he's gotta tell me.

And we go out in the snow and we're...

Walking in the snow.

We walk about 30, 40 feet and then he said, "Hey, George."

I figure, here it comes.

"You know I got the fastest left hand in the history of boxing."

And I...

I said, "Yeah, for... fastest left hand for a heavyweight."

"No, no, no, every weight class." I said, "No, no, whoa, whoa, whoa."

Willie Pep, lightweight, middleweight. Sugar Ray Robinson... No, no, no.

"You got the fastest left hand in the history of boxing heavyweight."

He said, "Every weight class."

"You wanna... you wanna see it?" I said, "Yeah."

"You wanna see it again?"

I think he's one of the greatest men of the twentieth century.

One of the great heroes of all time. Not our time, all time.

The most famous American ever.

To this day. Ever. Yeah. Worldwide.

I mean, who doesn't know who Muhammad Ali is?

I remember the second Joe Frazier fight, Madison Square Garden in New York City. Ali beat Joe Frazier very easily.

The next day they have a press conference, so we walk from the Essex House, Central Park East, all the way down to Madison Square Garden.

He looked good and he knew he looked good.

He could look in the mirror.

He'd never seen a mirror he didn't like. Look in there.

By the time we got to Madison Square Garden, there must have been 1,000 people behind us.

As I looked around, I realized Muhammad Ali was no mere fighter.

He was more than just a fighter. He was King of the World.

Just another ordinary day.

Seven years, same old way.

Dying is hard.

I can'! Bear to stay.

Just another ordinary day.

Seven years, life rots away.

And dying is hard.

I can'! Bear to stay.

Just another ordinary.

Just another ordinary day.

Morning comes and then it takes you away.

I had a dream last night. You and I were together. We're old men.

But we're sitting and we're talking. "We had some fun. "

And you said, "Gene, you remember? You remember, Gene?"

Muhammad Ali!

I wish that I had tapes of myself from when I was this small.

I'm sure most people do, but many people never think about these things.

Well, thank the Almighty God Allah that I appreciate life and I realize how great life is once we get old and you remember being back at this age again.

Uh, I know it's nice to have a record of all these things.

It's history conscience. I'm always thinking about history.

If anyone wondered why me, Muhammad Ali, is making these tapes, it's because history is so beautiful.

At the time we're living life, we don't realize.

We found our love.

On Blueberry Hill.

On Blueberry Hill.

She was mine.

She was mine.

Once upon a time.

Once upon a time.

This is December 6th, 1979, about 11:00pm.

Signing off. Goodbye, y'all.

Ooh.

I get a feeling.

People all around trying to throw me down.

Ooh.

I need a re-do.

So I took a swing and spun you around.

What do you say, stewardess? You mean the plane is gonna crash?

Say a prayer? Recite a Bible verse.

Well, I don't know no Bible verse.

Just do something religious? Mm, I'll take up a collection.

Son.

We got it realty going on.

You'd better run.

Run like the breeze.

Ooh.

I gotta move.

People all around getting in my way.

Ooh.

I get naked.

I got something to give Something to say.

Son.

We got it going on.

You'd better run like the breeze.

Son.

We got it realty going on.

You'd better run.

Run like the breeze.


Oh.

You'd better run, you'd better run.

Oh.

You'd better run.

Oh.

You'd better run, you'd better run.

Oh, you'd better run.

Oh.

You'd better run, you'd better run.

Oh.

You'd better run.

Oh.

You'd better run, you'd better run.

Oh, you'd better run