This wasn’t supposed to happen. Sure, I was just 13, but I read the New York Post, the New York Times, the Daily News, the Herald Tribune and Sports Illustrated and I watched TV and I listened to the radio and all the experts said Cassius Clay would be crazy even to appear in the same building with Sonny Liston, let alone the same ring. Hell, he’d be crazy to set foot in the same ZIP code, a newfangled thing that had been invented the previous year.
Sonny was a monster. He was big and way too strong and he had a couple of sledgehammers hanging from his shoulders that could kill a skinny, 22-year-old pretty boy. He would hit Clay so hard, the experts said, that his fist would come out the back. Clay would certainly leave the ring on a stretcher. He’d be lucky, the experts said, to still be breathing. Continue reading