GOTR 1: Prologue – Scene 5


Enter the Spirit of America & her angels

The Spirit of America shall speak

Sing, Muse, of the unfetter’d Liberty
Forepromis’d of the Founding Brotherhood
When all made equal, equal all shall be
Sing on a banjo string of golden twine
The miracle & mystery of tales
By poets sung, great lives mythologis’d
Sing me a story that could e’er transcend
The lightest seasons of convincive art,
As here, as erst upon an antique stage,
Thro’ intimacies of imitancy
Adorning this gymnic Conchordia,
Rare souls yet rouse Humanity to ken
Fair prospers capabilities within
Each, all of us, to be a living God
Admir’d & worship’d widely ‘cross the world
My golden theme such giants of the globe,
Melded ankle-deep, brutal gang of foes,
As much excitement as a night can bear
As much commotion as a land can stand
Its theatre, single squares of canvas
Enbounded by flexible ropery,
Where hang the golden balances that show
The fates of uncommon, contending men –
With equal weights are tested destinies
One will sink low if heavy with defeat
Or high ascend if bless’d with victory
As greatest eras tell the greatest tales
I’ll show my spirit in its purest light,
Thro legends of Ali, Frazier, Foreman
What wars they fought & in what cauldron brew’d
The heady mix we call America
All fully cook’d & flavour’d, Civil Rights
& Vietnam, Electric Ladyland
& my prime hero, Muhammad Ali,
Admire him as model American,
Who work’d hard, kept his faith, led the planet
& as he goes fed, cloth’d his family,
With honest toil, made charitable acts
The supplementive business of his life
& so, to tell his story, let us sing

Welcome, yes welcome, ye Gods of the Ring


When God put a fist on the hand of Sonny Liston
Form’d a fright (FRIGHT)-ful lethality
When Cassius Clay blew that Big Bear away
It was the flight (FLIGHT) of immortality

We don’t believe what we’re seeing
Got no right to call them human beings
As they fight their way thro mortal ceilings
As the angels sing

Welcome ye Gods of the Ring

When Smoking Joe Frazier met Muhammad Ali
It was the Fight (FIGHT) of the Century
When Foreman floor’d Frazier the talk of all Jamaica
Was the height (HEIGHT) of brutality

We don’t believe what we’re seeing
Got no right to call them human beings
As they fight their way thro mortal ceilings
As the angels sing

Welcome ye Gods of the Ring

When Foreman took a tumble the Rumble in the Jungle
Was a night (For) all Humanity
& man what a killer the Thrilla in Manilla
Saw the might (MIGHT) of humanity

We don’t believe what we’re seeing
Got no right to call them human beings
As they fight their way thro mortal ceilings
As the angels sing

Welcome ye Gods of the Ring


Rome, 1960: The Light Heavyweight Championship final

Well, that’s the bell for the end of round two
For those of you back home just tuning in
Cassius Clay of the United States
Fights Poland’s Zigzy Pietrzykowski
In the grand final of the Olympic
Light Heavyweight Championship in Rome
Where everybody has predicted,
Ringside, a tough battle, & so its prov’d
Tho’ Cassius Clay, I would say’s, winning
There’s the bell, & our fighters both come out
For the third & final round, Cassius
Clay of the United States in the light trunks
Pietrzykowski of Poland in dark
Both fighters weighed in at 178pounds
Pietrzykowski is starting to press
Told by his quarter he must score more points
Cassius won the last round easily
Has proven to be the class of these games
Coupling blinding hand-speed with brilliant
Footwork, in winning clear-cut decisions
In previous bouts, & confident looks
Knowing the only thing that bars his way
To the Olympic Gold stands before him
But corner’d on the ropes, Cassius piles
Pressure on, fair points accumulating,
Tho’ Clay a vernal sprigling of eighteen
He has already fought one-thirty fights
& only lost just one, to the rugged
Tony Madigan of Australia
But, two days back, in the semi-final,
Cassius Clay was granted his revenge
Upon that very foe, unanimous,
But now Pietrzykowski comes on strong
He knows that he’s behind on points, & Clay,
Careful must be with this cagey south paw
But Zigzy’s missing badly, lets tribute
This to the lightning speed of Cassius
Whose counter-punches like rapiers flick
That now into an avalanche have swarm’d
Clay is way ahead on points & knows it
Confident he’s only moments away
From winning gold, there’s his famous shuffle
& it’s all over, the end of the fight
Both fighters gave their all, three gruelling rounds
Of torrid fighting, now Cassius Clay
A very weary fighter is indeed
In a few moments the judge’s votes
Will tallied be, the victor will receive
Amateur Boxing’s loftiest award
The golden medal of the golden games
& the decision goes to… we’re waiting…
Cassius Clay of the United States
As Pietrzykowski graciously
Congratulates the masterful display
Of boxing just exhibited by Clay
The podium is carried to the ring
On which the fighters receive rewards
For fair combat at the supreme summit
Where Cassius Clay takes the highest step
In this same place where Sulla mov’d the Games
First, from its ancient sanctuary in Greece,
During the Mithridatic Wars, today
It sees the golden medal nobly hung
Around the neck of our young champion
Zigzy Pietrzykowski wins silver
& now the bronze awarded to those men
Who lost their semi-finals, Anthony
Madigan, & Giulio Saraudi
& now, the national anthem of
The United Stated of America

The anthem is play’d – Ali steps off the podium & addresses the crowd

Muhammad Ali
To make America the greatest is my goal,
So, I beat the Russians, and I beat the Pole,
& for the USA won this medal of gold,
The Italians said: “You’re Greater than the Cassius of old´´.
We like your name & we like your game,
Make Rome your home if you will.
I said, I appreciate your kind hospitality,
But the US of A is my country still,
Where I’m due a glorious welcome
When I’m back in Louisville.

Scene 2

A diner in Louisville – enter Cassius Clay in his Olympic jacket wearing the gold medal round his neck

Hey, man, a cheeseburger, shake & fries please

{after pausing}
We don’t serve negroes

I beg your pardon

We don’t serve negroes

Well, I don’t eat them either, just give me
A milkshake, a cheeseburger & some fries

Diner 1
Your kind aint welcome in here, boy

My kind – you mean the American kind
For whom I’ve just won the Olympic Gold
Look upon my jacket, what does it say
Let me spell it for you U,S of A,
I fought for this country, won this medal
& now, being hungry, I’m gonna eat

Diner 2
We don’t serve niggers

Ah man

You heard him
It’s time to leave

You’re really doing this

Diner 1
A negro prize-fighter’s still a negro

Enter Diner manager who talks to the waitress

Prize-fighter! Have you seen the prize I won
I am the light heavyweight champ
Of all the world, made Louisville famous
They’ll praise it as the home of Cassius Clay
My family has lived here centuries

Diner 1
As slaves, boy, don’t you ever forget it

Slave, you still think I’m a slave, after this
{showing the gold medal}
No slave would ever have travel’d to Rome
A free man, then to return in triumph
The national anthem singing in his ears

Diner Manager
Look Cassius, you’re gonna have to go
You’re causing a scene, call the police, Kelsey
But things might happen before they arrive
Whose consequences, well, let’s say, might hurt

You threat’ning me

Diner Manager
We are stating a fact
Segregation’s the law – you cannot eat
Downtown, you know that – you should go, go now

Diner 2
This wont be no Greensboro lunch counter
Nor wade in at the all white beaches
Why don’t just fuck your as off nigger

Cassius Clay
I see your sorry faces full of fear
Grimacing at solitary thought
Of the concession of a single inch
Of segregated ground, that
Separate but Equal stuff is nonsense
They tried to yank a seat from Rosa Parks
But she said no, soon all Montgomery
Would ride busses of pure integration,
Then Lizzie Eckford march’d thro Little Rock
In defiance of volcanoes of hate
Spewing hurl’d spittle, garbage & fruit
Reprisals, recriminations, hardships,
To realize a great society
Which drove our forefathers idealised
Philosophies of fair democracy
The doctrine of equality is just
The leaven wedg’d in American thought
Endowd with unalienable rights

Diner Manager
{picking up a gun}
You had better get out of here, now, boy

Cassius Clay storms out

Diner 2
Olympic Champion, hah

Diner 1
Coffee, please

Diner Manager
Coming right up

You finish’d with that, Hank

Diner 2 nods, then carries on nonchalantly

Scene 3

Louiseville – a bridge over the Ohio River – enter Cassius Clay

Cassius Clay
What is this metal with enchantress guile
Seducing men to battle for her glint
I train’d so hard to press her to my chest
& kiss her as Star Spangl’d banner chim’d
& all for what, where other nations laud
Their champions, my own land cannot stand
Their champions to not be spotless white
When any backwards bipod of the woods
Can claim superiority oer me!
If that’s the case, then, what is this trinklet
This pointless tryst, this shambles of action,
This medal of gold – the home of the brave?
Yes, but land of the free, how laughable
I am still a slave in the white man’s eyes
This medal changes nothing, let it fall
Into this sunken river-bed, there stay
Forever in the dirt of my disgust

Clay throws his gold medal into the Ohio River / Enter Ishmael Sabakhan

Ishmael Sabakhan
Hello Brother as salam alaykum

Cassius Clay
A salam alaykum

Ishmael Sabakhan
Its Arabic, means Peace Be Upon You,
A greeting made by Muslims on meeting

Cassius Clay

Ishmael Sabakhan
Yes, I am a Muslim brother
A member of the Nation of Islam

Cassius Clay
The Nation of what?

Ishmael Sabakhan

Cassius Clay
Who are they

Ishmael Sabakhan
We are believers in mighty Allah
The one true god, & being worshipful
Within this white man’s prison, we insist
Of being only black, the Christians
Ignore the tenets of their own prophet
Dismiss the dictates of their holy book
Becoming robbers, murderers, rapists
Enslavers of their fellow Human Race
We in the Nation of Islam reject
The apparatus of their torrid schemes
Have built our own schools, universities
Cafes & kitchens, all built by the great
Elijah Muhammad, you heard of him

Cassius Clay
No, I aint

Ishmael Sabakhan
The Messenger’s an honourable man
Before he came to us on pinions
Of sacred prophethood, blacks had no banks
Or stores, the fabric of society, but today
We are lifted from the gutter, dress’d well
No longer look like prostitutes & pimps
No drugs, no pork, no alcohol consume
& lead a better life, here man take this
{passing newspaper}

Cassius Clay
Muhammad Speaks

Ishmael Sabakhan
Elijah Muhammad
Great leader of the Nation of Islam
Nam’d after the first prophet of the faith
Have a read, see what you think

Cassius Clay
I will, thanks

Ishmael Sabakhan
So, what, you throw in the river, your face
Was full of anger, fury even, man

Cassius Clay
It was my golden medal, won in Rome

Ishmael Sabakhan
From the Olympics

Cassius Clay

Ishmael Sabakhan
Wait a minute
You’re Cassius Clay

Cassius Clay
I am he

Ishmael Sabakhan
Well, well
Nice to meet you son, but wherefore why throw
A thing hard won I the eyes of the world
Irreverent, into this obscure stream

Cassius Clay
I’d have whupp’d the world for America.
Thought I’d invented something with my gold
Thought I’m the champion of the whole world
& now can eat downtown, & so today
I went downtown with my big gold medal
Went in a restaurant, order’d some food
Then rejected out of hand – nothing’s chang’d

Ishmael Sabakhan
No, something has chang’d, your inner spirit
Lies, no longer beneath the White Man’s foot
My name is Ishmael, & ever since
I saw God had sent me a messenger
The hon’rable Elijah Muhammad,
I’ve held my head up proudly in the midst
Of all our deplorable enslavers
Despite our lowly station in their eyes
Countrymen only by geography
Just muse a moment on the world negro
It’s the white man’s name for stripping away
Our true Identity – a chinaman
Comes down this street, you know he’s from China,
A Cuban comes, you know he’s from Cuba
But what country’s ever been call’d negro
There is a nation, now, that dwells within
America, lip servicing its laws
But not its pathetic integrations,
We are not fearful of skull-cracking cops
Nor feel asham’d at segregation’s sin
We just don’t go those places

Cassius Clay
You speak good
I’ve seen it all my life, how they mistreat
My parents with a disrespecting howl
To them both, the fear of the retribution
Is greater than their fear of God

Ishmael Sabakhan
I know
& that can be explain’d, their God is false
& their Jesus never was a White man
The Church usurp’d the earth by fear & fraud
By bogus numbers of hypnotic songs
Compelling acolytes, in Jesus name,
Committance of all manner of evils
Too many of our black people worship
The god the White Man taught us, sing their songs
& when the songs are sung, they still beat us
& kill us, burn our homes, White Men are evil

Cassius Clay
Wait a minute – what about a baby
Tho’ white-born, its innocence is godlike

Ishmael Sabakhan

No brother, think of a pregnant lion
She’ll only sire a lion, not a lamb
That baby’s prejudice must come with time
As does a lion’s fangs & kill-sharp claws
No, white ones are devils, whose darkling souls
Will never cross the threshfold of the doors
Which keep our temples unpolluted, no
We are the Nation, & this is My Church


I’m seeking strength
I’m seeking beauty
I’m seeking the light of the lord
So, I can be a better man
Go out & be the best I can
So, I can light up the world with the love of a holy man

This is my church
What ya gonna do about it
This is my church
Why don’t you come on in

Christ, Confucius
Zeus, Medusas
Heed the Scriptures
Read the witches scars

I’m seeking truth
I’m seeking courage
I’m seeking the light of the world
So, I can feel all the ways of love
Go & see if im good enough
To go & light up the world with the love of a holy man

This is my church
What ya gonna do about it
This is my church
Why don’t you come on in

Saints & avatars
Mohammed, Mercury & Mars

Where is our love
where is our charity
Where is the mercy of god
Well the answer is in your heart
Better find it before it gets dark
So. you can light up the world with the love of a holy man

This is my church
What ya gonna do about it
This is my church
Why don’t you come on in

Asvaghosha, Nostradamus
Guru Nanak & Dalai Lamas all

This is my church
What ya gonna do about it
This is my church
Why dont you come on in

Cassius Clay
I like the way you sing, the things you say
There is a sweet enticement in your song

Ishmael Sabakhan
Hey, man, you still hungry

Cassius Clay
Yeah, I’m starving

Ishmael Sabakhan
Let me buy you lunch

Cassius Clay
I would like that

Ishmael Sabakhan

Cassius Clay
They begin to exit

Ishmael Sabakhan
So, you are a boxer

Cassius Clay
That is right, sir,
& I’m going to be the Heavyweight
Champion of the World

Ishmael Sabakhan
I’m sure you will

Scene 4

Miami / Fifth Street gym / Angelo Dundee is watching two boxers, Bobby & Larry, spar / Cassius Clay enters

Angelo Dundee
Larry, Larry, you are punching too low…
Bobby, what was that? don’t stand bollard still
Keep moving, boy, that’s it

Cassius Clay
Angelo, hey
Angelo Dundee, is that you

Angelo Dundee
That’s me
That was a lovely left hook, Larry, boy
The way you turn’d your shoulder was sublime

Cassius Clay
Hello, I’m Cassius Marcellus Clay,
Junior – & I am going to be
The Heavyweight Champion of the World

Angelo Dundee
Sure you are kid

Cassius Clay
No, sir, I am, I’ve won the Golden Gloves
Of Louisville Kentucky, & have won
The Panamerican Games, & have won
Olympic Gold in Rome, only the sky
Can limit my potential & my dreams
Which manifest themselves upon the belts
That mark the greatest fighter in the world

Angelo Dundee
Yeah, I know you now, seen you on TV
So, whaddaya want from me, Cassius

Cassius Clay
Turning pro, I’m gonna need a trainer
I just been out in California
At Archie Moore’s Salt Mine in Ramona
But it didn’t feel right

Angelo Dundee
Archie Moore

Cassius Clay

Angelo Dundee
That man is one helluva smart boxer
Why did ya leave, you get kick’d off the team

Cassius Clay
No, sir, we just didn’t, well, gel

Angelo Dundee
Why not

Cassius Clay
I mean, I was there to box, but I was
Made to brush floors, wash dishes,, stuff like that,
Always saying ‘respect your instructor
& fall in line with my learning process’
I’m not cut out for other men’s regimes
Dick Sadler heard my plaints, suggested you
As someone who could handle me, & said
You were a decent man, & knows the game,
That it’s all about the boxing with you
Who aint a bossy one, who’ll help
Channel a man’s natural energy
& even have some fun along a way
Of innovation, excellence, & art

Angelo Dundee
Is that right, sweet praise from Dickie Sandler
Indeed, & so, what do you want from me

Cassius Clay
Well, I want you to be my trainer, sir

Angelo Dundee
Is that right

Cassius Clay
Yes, sir, I’d like us to blend
As Minneapolis & St Pauls merge
With only Mississippi coil’d between

Angelo Dundee
Tell you what, boy, got your gear in that bag

Cassius Clay
I do

Angelo Dundee
Well, get chang’d, let’s see what you got

Cassius Clay
{shaking hands}
Ah, thank-you Angelo, thank you so much

Angelo Dundee
Haven’t done anything yet, go get chang’d
Then spar a couple of rounds with Bobby

Cassius Clay
Hey guys, I’m Cassius Clay

Angelo Dundee
The changing rooms are thro’ that door… hey boys
Larry, take a break, Bobby, that boy there
I want you to box with him a little

Sure, where he from

Angelo Dundee
Kentucky way

I recognise his face

Angelo Dundee
That’s Cassius Clay

Who won Olympic gold

Angelo Dundee
Yeah, that’s him

What’s he doing here

Angelo Dundee
Wants me to train him

Is that right

Angelo Dundee
Apparently so, we’ll see
What this kids got, but go easy on him
From amateur to pro’s a massive leap

Cassius Clay returns in his gym gear

Cassius Clay
Hey Angelo

Angelo Dundee
That was quick

Cassius Clay
Wait until
You see me in the ring, man, I am fast

Angelo Dundee
Alright, in you get

Cassius Clay
Thank you, sir

Angelo Dundee
This is Cassius Clay, & Cassius
This is Bobby Davis, touch fists & box

Cassius Clay & Bobby begin to box – Cassius Clay completely outboxes Bobby – Angelo & Larry watch on in awe / the boxers break

Scene 5

The Sands Hotel, Las Vegas – Gorgeous George the wrestler is in his changing rooms – there is a knock on the door

Gorgeous George
Enter if you love me

Cassius Clay
Hey, Gorgeous George

Gorgeous George
Yes, that’s me, & you are

Cassius Clay
Cassius Clay

Gorgeous George
Ah yes, the boxer, right here in Vegas
Fighting that big ol’ bear, Duke Sabedong
Let me take a look at you, ah, as fresh
As some young poet from Montmartre’s heights
So, what do you want

Cassius Clay
I hope you don’t mind,
But, I’m here in Las Vegas for a fight
& as a fellow ringsman thought I’d catch
Your bout of wrestling, woah, that was so good
Your arrogance is…

Gorgeous George
It’s not arrogance, boy, its showbusiness

Cassius Clay

Gorgeous George
Yeah, man, all that’s just an act

Cassius Clay
An act, whaddaymean

Gorgeous George
Listen closely
What I will tell you now will change your life
Forever, if you engrave these edicts
On your soul, & let them drive your patter

Cassius Clay
What’s meant by that

Gorgeous George
Have you heard me promote
My bouts

Cassius Clay
I have

Gorgeous George
& have you heard me say
I predict it will be an easy fight
I am the greatest wrestler in the world
He knows it, I know it, you all know it
& just look at my face, I’m so handsome
Just look at me – I even smell pretty

Cassius Clay
I have

Gorgeous George
Well, most of the folks in a crowd
Have paid to see somebody shut me up

Cassius Clay
Is that right

Gorgeous George
Yeah, I mean, listen to me
If I were you I would begin my fights
Along these lines… I am Cassius Clay
The greatest boxer that the world has seen
& anybody wanting to beat me
Is gonna have to be greater than great
One of these days they’re liable to make
The house where I grew up a national shrine
I got the reach, height, weight, speed & physique
Courage & natural ability
& so, I cannot possibly be beat

Cassius Clay
Ha-ha-ha – that’s some entertaining banter

Gorgeous George
Hey – you wanna beer

Cassius Clay
I do not drink, sir

Gorgeous George
Suit yourself, but, hey, call me Gorgeous George
Or just plain Gorgeous

Cassius Clay
George will be fine, sir
I loved that stuff about killing the bum
& tearing off his arm, & if, somehow,
You lost, you would cut off all of your hair
& crawl across the canvas on your knees
Hands held in homage, servile, to thy foe

Gorgeous George
& lots of folks will pay to see just that
Nobody likes to see a bigmouth win
Especially if there’s the promise too
Of gross humiliation if I’d lose,
All this sassy braggin’ & trash-talkin’
Was founded by me, patented by me,
& now I am its outrageous master

Cassius Clay
So, it’s all just a gimmick, all this talk

Gorgeous George
You’ve got to have a gimmick in this life
If, in this life your life, is meant to shine
& don’t be humble, no, humble don’t sell
Tickets; but flair, flamboyance, well-control’d
Sure does, & brings in bucketloads of dough,
So, go on out there, invade this harsh world
Where, opening the armoury of life,
Treat bragging as an art form, command it,
Utilise it, extend its boundaries,
& be the man that’s there inside your core,
Awaiting, wild, wild, tiger, to be free.

Cassius Clay
Fascinating sensei wisdom, brother,
This day’s a day I shall never forget

Gorgeous George
Good, good, I sense a surge of Gorgeous George
Into the wide world on thy pinions
Made from marble sculptur’d pectorials
Good luck, don’t be afraid to be absurd

Cassius Clay
Man, that’s some good advice, firm embedded
So, George, wanna come to my fight tonight

Gorgeous George
Yeah, why not, I’d be happy to, young man

Cassius Clay
Great, I’ll leave you three at the desk

Gorgeous George

Cassius Clay
Well, it’s been wonderful to meet you, sir

Gorgeous George
& you, young man, now go & change the world
{exit Cassius Clay – Gorgeous George looks at the mirror}
I really am the most beautiful thing
I’d marry myself if that was allow’d!

GOTR 1: Scenes 6-11

Scene 6

Comiskey Park, Chicago – Floyd Patterson is defending his World Heavyweight title against Charles ‘Sonny’ Liston

Chris Schenkel
Welcome to Comiskey Park, Chicago
This is Chris Schenkel, your night’s sportscaster
At the site of the most lucrative fight
In the entire history of boxing –
Twenty-seven-year old, Floyd Patterson
Defends the Heavyweight Championship
Of the World against twenty-eight year old
Sonny Liston… he is the favourite
Of those who make the odds, as in the rings
He sweeps his massive frame, he’s the winner
Of thirty-three of his thirty four fights
Of these, twenty-three have been by knock-out
He’s the most formidable challenger
The champion has ever met, who now
Enters the ring most calm, sentimental
Favourite, Floyd Patterson, the winner
Of thirty-eight of his forty pro fights,
Twenty-nine by knock-out, the youngest man
To ever win the title, only man
To win that title twice, the place is pack’d;
More than six hundred sportscasters are here
To see if Patterson’s speed can offset
Liston’s power, as by the ringside sit
Those who to obtain the answer have all paid
One hundred dollars each, a mighty price
Unheard of in the annals of our age

It’s fifteen rounds for the World Heavyweight
Boxing title – weighing in two fourteen
Pounds, & wearing the white & yellow trunks,
From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sonny Liston
{boos from the crowd}
& weighing one-eight-nine
Pounds, wearing black & white trunks, from Yonkers
New York, the world Heavyweight Champion
Floyd Patterson – & the referee
Frank Sikora will now give instructions

Frank Sikora
Now, both you boys received your instructions
Offa the Illinois State Athletic
Commission – I am here to enforce them
I wanna clean break at all times, & want
No rabbit punching or kidney punching,
Be careful of your low blows they may cost
You a round, & in the case of knock-downs
I want you to go to your first corner
& stay there ‘til I tell you to come out
Fighting – also, in case of a knock-down
You must take an eight-count, that understood
Any questions… shake hands… come out fighting
& the best of luck to the both of you

Chris Schenkel
The massive challenger’s twenty-five pounds
Heavier than the champion, & has
A thirteen-inch advantage at the reach
The champion’s restless in his corner
& the challenger’s as placid as peace…
Sonny Liston moves out to face the big
Chance of the twenty-eight years of a life
Most turbulent, Patterson’s plan must be
To get inside the challenger’s long jab
& work upon the body… now Liston’s
Heavy jabs are bothering Patterson

Frank Sikora
Alright, alright, break it up boys, step out

Chris Schenkel
Patterson’s bob-bobbing & weaving makes
Liston miss often, negating the blows

Frank Sikora
Alright, alright break it up boys, come on

Chris Schenkel
That Liston hook to the head was the first
Good punch of the fight, as the challenger
Is moving in, the champion must shake
Away the effects from that deft left hook…
A left, a grazing right & a solid left
To the cheekbone have dropp’d the champion

Frank Sikora
{waves the fight over}
That’s it

Chris Schenkel
Sonny Liston’s not a notably swift
Nor flash hitter, but that final left hook,
Crash’d into Patterson’s cheek like a rig
Of diesel going downhill, with no brakes
There are no fighters extant, & precious
Few mammals of any variety,
That could have ever beaten that ten count –
& the miracle is that Patterson
Was ever able to get to his knees!

Liston comes & hugs Patterson / Willie Radish & Jack Nylon enter the ring

Chris Schenkel
So, the fight is over, after only
Two minutes & sixteen seconds, Liston
Is now the new Heavyweight Champion
Of the World, his trainer, Willie Radish,
& manager, Jack Nylon celebrate
With their new champion
{Liston is given the belt}
Around Sonny
Liston, now, the twenty-first Heavyweight
Champion of the World, jubilation
For the ex-champion, consolation

Cassius Clay appears at the ring causing a kerfuffle

Cassius Clay
Hey, Liston, you big ugly bear, Liston
You aint no champ, I’m the real champion
I’ll fight you right now, let me in that ring

The Police stop Cassius Clay getting in the ring – Liston walks over with his belt & points to it

Sonny Liston
Cassius, this something that you aint
Ever gone get, you won’t last as long
As Patterson, your ass I’m gonna beat
Just like I was your daddy

Cassius Clay
Let me go
I wanna beat up this Big Ugly Bear
Right now – you ain’t great, I’ll beat you in eight

Somebody get that big mouth outta here

Cassius Clay
{being led away}
Don’t you see, he’s a fraud, I’m the greatest
He’s got my title, he’s not the real champ

Liston shakes his head & holds his belt up to a mixture of cheers & boos

Scene 7

Enter Malcolm X & Herbert Muhammad

Herbert Muhammad
That was a speech of deep erudition
& consummate insight, my father shall hear
Of how thy words engorge our cause with flame

Malcolm X
Thank-you, my brother – I feel your father
With me as I speak, my words are his words

There is a knock on the door – a guard opens it / enter Ishmael Sabakhan with Cassius Clay

Ishmael Sabakhan
Salaim alakum

Malcolm X & Herbert Muhammad
Salaim alakum

Ishmael Sabakhan
Brothers, this is Brother Cassius

Cassius Clay

Malcolm X

Cassius Clay
It’s good to be here, your speech was

Herbert Muhammad
Full of truth

Cassius Clay
Yeah, inspiring

Malcolm X
So, young man
What are you doing here in Chicago

Cassius Clay
I was at the Liston, Patterson fight

Malcolm X
Ah boxing

Herbert Muhammad
My father does not approve
Of such competitive brutality

Ishmael Sabakhan
Brother Cassius, this man is Jabir
Herbert Muhammad, son of Elijah
Muhammad, the leader of our Nation

Cassius Clay
It is an honour, sir, I feel at peace
With the brotherhood, these are early days
I have got a lot to learn, but want to,
My thoughts are submarines that dive too deep
& cannot see the waters where they move
I need a clearer window to the soul
Want to learn all I can about Islam
I want to be Moslem, I hear the call
Especially in such a precious context
As that which gives a Black Man back his rights
In this racist nation of enslavement

Malcolm X
Thou art an eloquent elemental
Who speaks with wisdom learn’d before thy years
You heard my speech

Cassius Clay
I did

Cassius Clay
What resonates

Cassius Clay
Well, when you said there was the good nigger,
& then there was the bad nigger, but now
A third, well, negro has truly arriv’d
From the negro reservation ghettos
The Nation of Islam has broken free
Beaming its big black pride, how such progress
From holy Elijah Muhhamad comes
For he is truth, & how is followers
Are cleantest, healthiest americans
Who pray each day to God, eat wholesome meals
Don’t sin or drink or fornicate
In this land of out-dated oppression
The one who is proud to be black

Herbert Muhammad
& you
Are you proud to be black, brother

Cassius Clay
I am

Herbert Muhammad
Good, we will need such confidence
When deconstructing the constitutions
Erected by the White Man in this world
Where Mary’s little lamb had a white fleece
Where Tarzan’s the white king of the jungle
Where the President lives in the White House
Where Miss America is always white
Where Christian supremacist notions
Rage rampant, Santa & Jesus are white

Malcolm X
Jesus is, really olive skinn’d Jew
But is portray’d like an Anglo-Saxon
That’s brainwashing – & after Santa Claus –
The biggest lie ever told children

Ishmael Sabakhan
Even Father Christmas is a white man
& all the angels in Heaven are white –
But, we are black, we brothers & sisters
Of the Nation of Islam, who don’t run
In fear of our colour, collated by
This special religion for the black man
Within whose world you’d very welcome be

Cassius Clay
I feel a strong & familial bond
With thee, as if I’d always known I was
A follower of Islam

Malcolm X
I’ll give you a gift, Brother Cassius –
This is the Qu’ran, contains the wisdom
Reveal’d some thirteen centuries ago
To the Prophet Muhammad, by Allah

Herbert Muhammad
Sithen, the truth has emanated far,
One billion upon the Planet Earth
Press this book’s sacred scriptures to their souls

Cassius Clay
Thank-you, I will nurture myself, nourish
My spirit, & mould my better being

Malcolm X
You must believe in yourself, good brother
Stand squarely on both feet, raise shoulders back
Don’t let anyone exploit your talents
& in this organisation you will find
Direction, & support from family
Who’ll love you with a loyalty untold.

Cassius Clay
This is, this is, this is, I cannot say
What all this is, rebirth profound, perhaps,
Yes, I do sense, I am different now

Malcolm X
Come, brother, let us all embrace as one


Herbert, Malcom X, Ishmael & Cassius Clay embrace

Scene 8

Miami / Cassius Clay is in the park, running thro some aerobics

Bundini Brown
Sweet-sweet tomato, hot-hot potato
Cassius, Cassius, Cassius Clay
Is that you

Cassius Clay
Whaddaya want

Bundini Brown
It is you
Man, you’ve been hard to track down

Cassius Clay
What’s up

Bundini Brown
Well, I would like to introduce myself
Some call me Fast Black & some Daddy Slack
But mostly I’m Brown, Drew Bundini Brown
& you’re gonna need me in your corner

Cassius Clay
Say what?

Bundini Brown
I want to be your motivator
Your inspiration, your court’s own jester
I will be like Dumbo’s good luck feather
I’m a poet of the streets, I’m a source
Of energy on which you can fibres fee
Imagine your entourage is a cake
With flour made, & eggs & sugar too
I’ll be that little bit of brown sugar
To give it that extra taste & I’ll give you
What nobody else will

Cassius Clay
& what is that

Bundini Brown
The truth – all the others
Are gonna try to please you just to keep
Their jobs, if you’ve got your laces undone
They’ll say man it’s cool you don’t tie your shoes
While I’ll say, man you are an idiot
Tie your shoes or you’ll trip & break your head

Cassius Clay
My-my-my – aint you the confident one
Credentials, you got any

Bundini Brown
I sure do
I’ve been in the corners of Archie Moore
Sonny Banks & Sugar Ray Robinson
& now I’ll work for you, I shall illume
Thee with all my locust hungry energy
Every punch you throw, I will throw that punch
Every hit you take – I will take that hit
I’m gonna know what ya are gonna do
Before even you know what ya gon’ do
I’m Drew Bundini African genie
{hiding behind a pillar}
& sometimes I will simply disappear
Then reappear before your very eyes

Cassius Clay
A sorcerer, then, huh

Bundini Brown
Yep, sir, that’s me
Just watch these fingers hypnotise your mind
You are gonna float like a butterfly
Sting like a bee, rumble, young man, rumble


I’m the one true, Drew Bundini,
Magical as Egyptian genie
Conj’ring girls in their blue bikinis
Or red if you like the colour

As into the ring you’ve put your fist in
Punching like a pneumatic piston
Next up’s big bad Sonny Liston
You’re gonna need my help boy

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Rumble, young man, rumble
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Rumble, young man, rumble

Yes, I’m the one true Daddy Slack
My destiny made tracks on a blow back
Deadlier than a diamondback
We’ll tag them like a viper

Let’s curl those babies into bunches
Jabs & hooks & sucker crunches
Into batter’d bones go punches
Pin-point as a sniper

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Rumble, young man, rumble

Cassius Clay
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Where dya get that from

Bundini Brown
My mind, right in there

Cassius Clay
Hey, you know I’m not fighting Liston next

Bundini Brown

Cassius Clay
No, it’s gonna be Henry Cooper

Bundini Brown
The Englishman

Cassius Clay
Yeah, that’s right

Bundini Brown
Where’s the fight

Cassius Clay
No, London

Bundini Brown
London, jeesh

Cassius Clay
Hey, have you got a passport

Bundini Brown
What, do I?

Cassius Clay

Bundini Brown

Cassius Clay
Well, you’re gonna need one

Bundini Brown
Whatcha mean

Cassius Clay
You’re coming to London with me

Bundini Brown
I am

Cassius Clay
Yeah, welcome to my team

Bundini Brown
Ah, Cassius,
You aint gonna regret this, I promise

Cassius Clay
I’d better not, say, what ya doing now

Bundini Brown
Nothing much

Cassius Clay
Well, let’s go down to the gym

Bundini Brown

Cassius Clay
You’re gonna have to meet Angelo

Bundini Brown
Angelo Dundee

Cassius Clay
Yep, he’s my trainer

Bundini Brown
He’s a damn good one, too

Cassius Clay
I know he is
So, let’s go, where are you from anyway
{they begin to exit}

Bundini Brown
Not too far away, I’s rais’d in Sanford

Cassius Clay
I love Florida, you were lucky
I’m Kentucky born & bred, them winters
Sure are cold

Bundini Brown
We all need sun in our lives
So, Cassius, all this bragging business
Jibbering your jaw like that, why do it

Cassius Clay
It’s not bragging if you can back it up

Exit Cassius Clay & Bundini Brown laughing

Scene 9

London – Sheekey’s Fish restaurant – Henry Cooper & the Kray twins are eating a meal

Reggie Kray
Nice bit o’ tucker this Henry, nice one

Ronnie Kray
It is that
These oysters are lovely mate

Reggie Kray
I’m loving the bubbly, n’all,

Ronnie Kray
Me too

Reggie Kray
What is it

Henry Cooper
Its call’d Krug, from Reims in France

Reggie Kray
Tasty, very, very tasty, cheers boys

They toast

Ronnie Kray
So, Henry, how’d ya know about this place

Henry Cooper
Me & the missus come here once a week
At least

Ronnie Kray
She Italian

Henry Cooper
She is, yeah

Ronnie Kray
How did you meet her then

Henry Cooper
At her work
Her fam’ly set up a restaurant
There’s not a lot o’ work out where she’s from
So, she came to London when she were sixteen
I used to go in & eat there, one day
I ask’d her out, she thought I was kidding
But I weren’t, & I soon won her over

Reggie Kray
What’s her name, then

Henry Cooper

Reggie Kray
Ah, lovely

Ronnie Kray
So, Henry, ‘ow yer feelin’ ‘bout the fight
This Cassius Clay geezer, what’s he like

Reggie Kray
Well, from what I’ve seen, he can’t keep still

Henry Cooper
The man’s continuously on the move
He’s also tall, owns the game’s longest reach
But if I can him in a corner
I’ll trap him, then jab him, jerk back his head
Then bring him down with a lovely left hook
Just gotta catch him early in the round
To make sure, if he stands, he’ll be groggy

Ronnie Kray
That’s all well & good, Henry, but for me
All you’ll need to do is land one good punch
Aint no man alive who could withstand that

Henry Cooper
I’m gonna call it the lip-buttoner
Shut the kid up – I mean, he can’t half talk

Reggie Kray
Looking forward to, half Bethnal Green
‘ll be at Wembley, quite the occasion

Ronnie Kray
Fifty-five thousand punters for one fight
Its more than you would get down Upton Park

Reggie Kray
Well, the ‘ammers aint exactly shaking
The Football League to its boots, eh, Ronnie

Ronnie Kray
You know what I mean, Reggie – don’t blame ‘em
What an exciting prospect, best boxer
England has produced for years, against, well
A very interesting young geezer

Reggie Kray
Henry, you worried about his talking
Don’t half rattle on, like, cocky with it
He thinks he’s gonna have ya

Henry Cooper
Not at all
Let him talk, I’m on the gate, the tickets
Are flying out the kiosks, I’ll do well
Out of this, I can tell, legal n’all

Ronnie Kray
Making legal money aint much fun, tho
Aint that right Reggie?

Reggie Kray
It sure is Ronnie
Tell me samfink you’ve seen Henry four times

Ronnie Kray
I have, yeah

Reggie Kray
I’ve only seen him the once
Yeah, it was a German fella, I think
Schoeppner, that was it, yeah, Eric, Schoeppner
Bit flashy, but he look’d pretty useful

Henry Cooper
I remember the fight very clearly
By the fourth & fifth he was getting tired
& I came on in a proper bundle
In the 6th I’m rally belting him nah
Spark’d him clean out with a massive left hook

Ronnie Kray
Was he not carried out on a stretcher

Henry Cooper
He was, mate, in hospital for five weeks
Poor lad

Reggie Kray
What about that Sonny Liston
Fancy a crack at ‘im

Henry Cooper
Well, the winner
Of Saturday’s contest will take him on
I was offer’d the guy in fifty -eight
Floyd Patterson was the champ at the time
Liston was ninth contender, I was fifth
Jim Norris of the WBA
Says to me if I was offer’d Liston, turn him down
The guy’s an animal, & so it prov’d

Reggie Kray
What about if you had to fight ‘im nah

Henry Cooper
I think I’m the better fighter than him
Technically, anyway, it would be tight

Reggie Kray
I’ll tell you why I likes brash Cassius,
The way he calls the rounds, that’s funny shit
Whazzit – if that man jive he’ll fall in five
If, if, he… jives some more he’ll fall in four

I like a bit of poetry
The sign of a sophisticated man
I mean, on top of my Arnold & Keats
I likes a bit of classical Callas
& the biography of Genghiz Khan
I can quote in my kip, read it tons

Henry Cooper
It’s gonna be quite a clash of styles, this lads,
Y’know, the American boxing style
Versus, well, the British;

Reggie Kray
Tell us, Henry,
Is there such a thing, British Boxing style

Henry Cooper
Yeah, I’d say so, most British boxers box
Rather than punch, punchers are like poets
They’re born, not made – you can’t develop them
You might improve what they had at the start
Sharpen the reflexes, nail the timing,
But punchers are punchers, no matter what
& all the good ones have a distinct knack
Of meeting men incoming, then doubling
Lethal Impact, like a head-on car crash
{marking out nine inches with his fingers}
A good punch will not travel more than this
Nine inches, with the body behind it

Ronnie Kray
We are talking ‘bout Boxing, Henry, right

Henry Cooper
Yeah, of course, here’s an interesting fact
The acceleration of a quick fist
Is sixty times the force of gravity

Reggie Kray
Bloody ‘ell

Ronnie Kray
I’ll tell ya what’s quicker, tho

Henry Cooper
What’s that then

Ronnie Kray
{getting gun out}
A fucking shooter, mate, of instant demise

Reggie Kray
Put that away, Ronnie, fucks sake

Ronnie Kray

Scene 10

Hyde Park Corner – a few press are gather’d around Cassius Clay, who stands on a box to speak

Cassius Clay
Good Morning London, Good Morning England
My name is Cassius Clay, I am here
Stood under stars not mine, on stranger soil
Of a lovely country, to fight its champ
Apparently not as pretty as me,
But then again, who is – hey, where am I

Journalist 1

Cassius Clay
Right here now, what is this place

Journalist 1
Hyde Park

Journalist 2
Yes, Cassius, its call’d Hyde Park Corner

Cassius Clay
Well, I was told this was the place to come
To make a capital proclamation
& so, I have a couplet for you all
About my fight forthcoming with Cooper
A big & ugly bum by all accounts
If he gives me five, I’ll stop him in five
If he gives me more, I’ll stop him in four

Journalist 3
Did you not say three, originally

Cassius Clay
I did, yeah

Journalist 3
So why the change

Cassius Clay
I wanted
All of you English gentlemanly chaps
From the gabl’d lodges of Windy Break
Bussock Bottom & Tussock Wood, to gain
Good value for your pounds, no need to rush

Journalist 1
So, you’re sure you will win

Cassius Clay
Of course I am
I got superior height, weight, balance,
Reach, speed, youth & strength – I’m going to point
Exactly to the spot where he will fall
As I come out for the fifth, be read
To watch me drop him on that very spot
Well, that would be history wouldn’t it

Journalist 1
Can you tell us about your catchphrase, please

Cassius Clay
What’s that?

Journalist 1
Your, ehm, float like a butterfly,
Sting like a bee… where, where does that come from

Cassius Clay
Well, all the greatest fighters have nick-names
Joe Louis was the Brown Bomber, the Rock,
That was Rocky Marciano, Sugar,
That one was prefix’d to Ray Robinson
My man, Bundini Brown, was asking God
What I should be call’d, before he knew me
& so it came to him one gorgeous day
Upon a beach-drift, glaz’d by ocean spray
That I, Cassius Clay, a butterfly
Am like in my movement, but then my punch
Is like the brutal stinger of a bee
Such beautiful words too, as do befit
Such a fine, fine specimen as myself

Journalist 2
Cassius, in a recent interview
You declar’d with invigorated pomp
You were the noblest Roman of them old
Why is that

Cassius Clay
Well, my name is Cassius
& my daddy’s name was Cassius too
It sounds so grand & dignified, like me

Journalist 1
Your father’s something of an artist, right

Cassius Clay
Well, kind of, he makes signs round Louisville

Journalist 3
You have artistic tendencies yourself

Cassius Clay
Well, I can draw a little, but mostly
I’ll be concentrating on my fighting
Busying knocking out all of these bums

Journalist 1
You are a bit of an actor as well
Mister Clay

Cassius Clay
Well, eh, a lot of people
Think I’m acting, but if they’re assemble
At Wembley Stadium, June the Eighteenth
They’ll see I mean every word I say

Journalist 3
So, what are your protoscene impressions
Of this little island country of ours

Cassisu Clay
Great Britain is a real lovely place, but
I’m American, & not used to it
The cars are too small, the streets too narrow
I like open spaces & haven’t seen
As many pretty girls as seen back home

Journalist 1
Are you terribly homesick, Cassius

Cassius Clay
I cannot wait to get out, to be told
There are lots of grown men making remarks
& that is just gonna make it harder
On Henry Cooper,

Journlist 2
You really think so

Cassius Clay
I do, & so my rhapsody is done,
& I’ll be now returning to my run
Thank you all for coming

Journalist 3
Hey Cassius

Cassius Clay
Sorry, man, I got hard training to do

Exit Cassius Clay

Journalist 1
I can’t believe that, out of bed at four
First tube in the morning for five minutes
Of drudging diatribe & vanity

Journalist 2
I might not even bother writing mine up
I’m just gonna go home & back to bed

Journalist 3
Lucky you – gotta have mine in by noon

Journalist 2
See you all at Wembley, then

Journalist 1
You too Rick
It should be an interesting night

Journalist 2

Exit journalists

On this day: Henry Cooper almost destroys Muhammad Ali legend before it  begins - The Ring

Scene 11

Wembley stadium, Henry Cooper vs Cassius Clay

Harry Carpenter
Fair welcome to the star-lac’d open air
Of Wembley Stadium, heart of the land
In grand & sporting context, the night skies
Darkening with rapid alacrity
Impressive backdrop of menacing clouds
The rain beginning to ease… here he comes
Cassius Clay, & he’s wearing a crown
Cassius Clay, gimmick man to the last
Comes into the ring with this monster crown
On his head, all the way down to the ringside
Thro’ rows of people who are throwing things
Trying to knock that crown right off his head
& despite looking quite ridiculous
Mister Clay is the best thing to happen
To the fight game in a very long time
The Greatest according to the legend
Swath’d across his crimson silk dressing gown
& now a cheer goes up – no doubt about
Whose side the crowd is on – Henry Cooper
The British champion’s making his way
Into the ring, while Cassius warms up
Gassius Cassius, Louisville Lip,
There’ll be no gimmicks for Henry Cooper
The man has maintained a most dignified
Silence all thro’ the prefight ballyhoo
The left hook specialist, the quiet man
From Bellingham, since nineteen fifty-nine
The British Champion, Henry Cooper
Twenty-nine years old, tonight he will face
His biggest test, in the unbeaten Clay
From America, MC Johnny Best
In the middle, its Cooper versus Clay

Johnny Best
Hello ladies & gentleman, the main
Event, tonight’s, the international
Heavyweight contest, ten rounds, three minutes
Each round – presenting, first, from Bellingham
Heavyweight Champion of Great Britain,
Henry Cooper, from Louisville, Kentucky,
Cassius Clay – Cooper weighs thirteen stone
Three & a half pounds, Clay weighs fourteen stone
Eleven pounds, the officials tonight
The referee, Mister Tommy Little
& the timekeeper, Mister Stan Courtney

Harry Carpenter
Well, there’s a solid unexpectation
Cooper has enter’d the ring most light
Full stone & a half he will yield to Clay

Tommy Little
Lads, remember everything I’ve told you
Shake hands, & when the battle-bell doth ring
Come out boxing, & may the best man win

Harry Carpenter
So, we are here, for the fight of the year
Clay from the right-hand corner & Cooper
Of Britain, Clay said he’d triumph in five
We’ll see, a lot of people thing Cooper’s
Only chance is to trample in early
With his left hook & nail Clay to the floor
Clay six foot two & a half, & Cooper
Six foot one & a half, Clay is a fine
Figure of a man… Cooper’s moving quick
To pick up the left hook, he’s going in
He’s hurt Clay, looks like Clay is hanging on
He is thinking & frowning in the first
Thirty seconds, & Clay’s nose is bleeding
In the first minute, from Cooper’s left hook
& that will be the first blood to Cooper
Now Clay’s arguing with the referee
That Henry Cooper’s trying to hold him
& he is getting angry – well, well, well
What a sensational start to this fight
For Clay’s gone fighting mad, & there is blood
On Cooper’s shoulder, the blow to Clay’s nose
& there’s another one, Cooper’s scoring
Heavily, the American is hurt
Cooper’s right on top, & there is the bell

That hypersolid round has done wonders
For Great Britain’s professional boxing
At ringside there are people on their feet
Cheering Henry Cooper’s fantastic start
Clay was hurt in his first minute, since then
Was troubl’d by Cooper’s left hooks & jabs
The great Cassius Clay out of his stride
The man who has bever been beat & now
The crowds starting up a fantastic roar
For Cooper – this is the greatest fight night
E’er witness’d by this long embattl’d realm
The first three minutes have been, well, simply

& here’s round two
Can Cooper beat Clay, put British boxing
On the summit of the Heavyweight world
But one slightly disturbing thought is this
Cooper hit Cassius several times
With his fierce left hook, but never dropp’d him
Nor did Cassius Clay show any signs
Of going down – the man can take a punch
& Clay is now working on Cooper’s face
His right jab’s beginning to get to work
But Henry is bulging with confidence
Cooper’s left hook gainst the left jab of Clay
There is no way of telling, at this stage,
Which punch is going to come out on top
& now Cooper seems to be grazed slightly
Underneath the left eye, it doesn’t look
Anything serious, but Clay’s left jab
Is beginning to accurately strike
His steady punches into Cooper’s face


As the bell ends the second, Cooper’s cut
Under his left eye’s worsen’d a little
Cooper always cuts easily, but it’s
Underneath the eye, not over, which is
Not nearly as serious as might be
& here is the handsome Cassius Clay
Who’s promis’d a fight with Sonny Liston
If he wins tonight, stood ready to go
For round three, after the shock of hi slife
In the first round


Well, the rain has now stopp’d
& the excitement has really risen
Among the crowd here who have seen Cooper
Take the fight to Clay, the fifty thousand
In Wembley are firmly on Cooper’s side
His left eye’s got patch’d up, but now appears
Another, but this time over the orb
That looks like a very bad cut to me
It’s a tragedy for Henry Copper
He’s going to have a serious job
Getting thro’ the bout with that bleeding eye
The referee’s having a look at it
& Cooper’s now fighting desperately
He knows, for sure, his time is running short
See him apprehensively feeling for
The cut with his left glove, he has no choice
There is no telling how long Cooper’s got
With that eye – Clay’s acting contemptuous
His arms are hanging downwards by his hips
Threatening, teasing, make Cooper look small
Only footwork keeps the Briton at bay
This is complete cheek on the part of Clay
Who feels that he has got it in the bag
Because of that eye, every Cooper punch
Has bounc’d off Clay, & look at that left eye
It is, indeed, a very sorry sight
A cut above, a cut below, & blood


& as the bell concludes that frantic round
Danny Holland will have to work so hard
To try & staunch the gushing flow of blood
From that eye – it really is a bad one
Cooper must try finish it if he can
But staring back at him in defiance
The face of the American negro
Handsomeness retains, completely unmarked


After the greatest round of his career
Henry Cooper’s severely handicapp’d
& now, as he comes out into the ring,
To fight round four against Cassius Clay
Completely unmark’d, set for victory
And Cooper’s eye is already bleeding
Above & below, two thick streams of blood
Cooper keeps putting his left glove up there
To his left eye, as if he can hardly
Believe his bad luck

Cassius Clay
Hit me – here I am
Hey, Henry, why do you keep missing me

Angelo Dundee
Hey Cassius, stop the funny business

Harry Carpenter
We’re looking for a sign of the left hook
From Cooper, which can really hurt this man
But apart from the opening minute
He hasn’t seem’d to hurt Clay very much
Who now is jabbing quite casually
& dancing around, seems to be half here
His mind seems half away, off somewhere else
Treating Cooper almost as a plaything
But that’s the sort of chance a man can take
Once too often, & if Henry nails him
Anything might happen – Clay is over
Clay is over – what a punch –


Clay is up
He was struck two minutes before the bell
& still knows not, it seems, just where he is
He’s still half out, his team works furious
Hoping smelling salts will spring him to life
Angelo Dundee’s down there, Clay’s trainer,
Is really giving him a talking to
Yes, Cooper’s left hook has finally scor’d
Something extraordinary’s happen’d
Because the referee, Tommy Little
Has gone over to talk to Clay’s corner
& it seems that perhaps his glove is split
Look, there’s the horsehair, new gloves have been found,
I’m sure Clay will love these extra seconds
Recuperation surely they’ll bestow
But will they be enough, or will Cooper
Knock him down again –


Well, it’s seconds out
& here they both come for round number five
The very round Clay claim’d he’d beat Cooper
But now this Wembley crowd begins to bay
For Cooper’s victory, they’re sensing blood
Clay, on the floor at the end of the fourth,
Fights to preserve his professional life
Here, in England, against Henry Cooper
But – ooo – Cooper’s left is really in
A shocking state, his blood is outpouring
His gum shield outflying, he’s dripping blood
Bathing ringside in showers of crimson
Tommy Little will have to stop this soon
Because Henry Cooper’s eye is in an
Absolutely appalling state, the worse
Cut eye I’ve seen in a very long time
I do not see how he can let this go
Much further now

The Crows
Stop the fight! Stop the fight!

Harry Carpenter
& now he’s stepping in – I think that it
The towel comes in from Cooper’s corner
& Tommy Little’s had to stop the fight
& he was left with no alternative

Angelo Dundee & Bundini Brown
{going round the ring to boos, holding up palms}
We told you five, we told you five

Harry Carpenter
& so,
It’s all over in round five, just as Clay
Said it would, & he’s getting bombarded
With programmes from furious ringsiders
& Cooper, despite being well beaten
With a deep cut eye is far from disgraced

Clay & Cooper hug then say a few words, before Clay goes round the ring in triumph

GOTR 1: Scenes 12-17

The Truth About Muhammad Ali and the Draft - WSJ

Scene 12

Tulsa / a public rally of the Nation of Islam / Elijah Muhammad steps up to speak

Elijah Muhammad
As-salamu Alaykum, my people
My brothers, my sisters, my family
Our Nation of Islam is now thriving
Allah is all powerful, praise Allah
& praise, too, Muhammad, his apostle
Whatever did the white Christian god
Give the blacks in this heathen-haunted land
The enormity of the slaver’s trade
When a hundred million Africans
Were murder’d, so that fifteen million
Could be dragg’d across the ocean in the hulks
Lost are the names of the Tribe of Shabazz
Blown unto the west by the White Man’s winds
O, I wish that it would be possible
For me to show you all the sea-bottom
In those days; the black bodies & the blood
& bones bash’d & broken by boots & clubs
Those pregnant black women haul’d overboard
If they were sick, into the shivers of sharks
Who’d learnt these ships held frequent easy & prey
Was the way to get fat on our flesh, ours!
& on those very ships began the crimes
Of white man taking the sacred lily
Of the feminine body sensual
Never caring if she was menstrual
Twas just more blood congealing in the pools
No, my brothers, my sisters, what happen’d
In those dire & desperate centuries
When an orgy of greed, lust & murder
Created what we call America
The Land of the Free – what hypocrisy
From the cotton fields of Carolina
To the ghettos of Houston & New York,
For the black man, the American dream
Is a nightmare, but one from which they won’t
Allow us to wake up from, we’re still slaves
They say, in secret ministering rooms –
Brother’s & sisters, I’m here to tell you
I charge the white man… I charge the white man
For being the greatest mur’drer on Earth,
Being the greatest kidnapper on earth
There is no place the white man can go to
Saying ‘here I created harmony’
Saying, ‘here I brought you peace,’ – everywhere
He goes he wreaks havoc & destruction
Life’s vile, kleptomaniac enslaver,
He’s the planet’s biggest eater of pork
It’s biggest drunkard & it’s biggest curse
But now there is consciousness awaking
The black man has transcended to a state
Up in the noble overdome, we’ve seen
How the white man poisons this perfect world
& now we say we need to be better
Be no more hamper’d by his sewer’d brain
& build a life of reverence to God
For in his love we’ll mold our better souls
Be a nation of blacks in a nation
Of sins, in this we’ll show this flailing land
How, Allah, most merciful, flows thro man
& when he does perfection can be found
I call upon the negroes of the world
To form a solid front against the wall
These rough white devils built against the truth
That is the black man’s destiny to be
The most noble of all his creations
All thoughtful white men know this as the truth
Hide feelings of inferiority
Anyone who has studied genetics
Knows that white is considered recessive
While black is the colour of dominance.
Yet, in this land a negative is shown,
As if it were proper photograph
Inverting into White Supremacy
Preserving chronic phantasies thro’ schools
Perpetuating lies, validating crimes
The white man is the devil in this land
Violence, lying & brutality
Are the three intrinsic hate-seed fibres
Of these racist embarrassments to God,
Who have always hated & oppress’d us
But, now I can reveal his deeper ways
Allah has allow’d all this to happen
So that our race of Blacks would realise
Humanity’s innermost potential
For evil, then to discover the ways
Of how we can defeat it, enabling
Our true capacity to realize
Divinity; brothers, sisters, listen
In the Nation of Islam we shall thrive
In the Nation of Islam we’ll know truth
In the Nation of Islam we shall be
Proud to be black, when we shall never say
The white man is our brother, no he’s not,
A brother would cry of our condition
& a brother would not lynch a brother,
Cut off his privates, put them in his mouth
Tie his limbs to horses, pull him apart
& burn him up, a brother would not kill
Your pregnant wife before their babes were born
But now there is a babe that has been born
The new & mighty black man of this land
Who, united by Islam, knows new names
& loves one another, there’ll be no more
Drunken cutting of the flesh in nightclubs
When brothers kill each other over girls
& no more drugs, nor thefts to fuel the craze
& most of all there’ll be no more licking
The boots of old slave-masters, begging rights
Our natural liberty should command
Brothers & Sisters, praise be to Allah,
The greatest handicap of the black man
Is that the love of self has been batter’d
To cankers attach’d to our spirit-roots
From which has grown disunity, fighting,
Quarrels & killing; how can you be loved
If you have no love for self – love yourself
& love your kind – know your black skin is best
& let us fine a separate heaven
For integration means self-destruction
Across the Earth, black people are seeking
A happy independence of their own
Not with the enemy amalgaming,
Nor listening to the propaganda
By White Man long-design’d us to divide
But recognizing that he is the foe
He can no longer use his trickery,
His promises, lies & hypocrisy,
& evil to keep you deaf, dumb, blinded!
No longer can he fill our thoughts with fear
& cowardice & laziness, no more!
When you have recogniz’d your enemy,
No longer can they pull deceitful wool
Over our brainwash’d eyes, so we won’t see
We are living in a pure Hell on Earth,
Our aim is to establish, on our own,
A territory separate from whites
Either on this continent or elsewhere
We of the Nation of Islam believe
That our former slave-masters are oblig’d
To provide us with such lands, them fertile
& minerally rich, four hundred years
Of blood & sweat we gave them, just reward
Is due, our contribution acknowledg’d
Of how this land was builded by us, too,
& all the suffering forced upon us
Justifies our separatist demands,
Brothers & Sisters, Allah has reveal’d
The message of our destiny to me
Our future is a glory, let us pray.

Scene 13

The same rally / after the speech, Elijah Muhammad is in a room with his son, Herbert, & other members of the NOI / they are eating a small buffet /

This one is so good, father

What is it

This is pomegranate stew with chicken
Its call’d Khoresh Fesenjan in the tongue
Some Syrian-style bread to mop it up

Delicious… this

Indian mustard fish

Excellent, excellent, send compliments
To the chef

I shall father

{to all around}
Help yourselves

Enter Malcolm X with Cassius Clay

Malcom, as-salamu alaykum, welcome
& this man here is your young boxer, yes

Malcolm X
It is… Brother Cassius, this is the
Honourable Elijah Muhammad

{shaking hands}
You are most welcome, I’ve heard many things
About your faith, I’ve even watch’d you fight
From afar, we will not condone bloodsport,
The fight racket is the red light district
Of sports, corruption is its driving force
But you, perhaps, are something different,
As tho’ your gifts were given straight from God
To purify the sport with thy greatness
I hear the voice of Allah in your words
I see the speed of Allah in your feet
& now… Allah I feel within these fists
{they break hands}

Cassius Clay
This is the greatest moment of my days
Thou art a living temple facing God
& all I’ll be & can achieve is yours

Good – would you like some food

Cassius Clay
Yes, I would, sir

Help yourself… so why are you in Tulsa

Cassius Clay
I came to hear you speak, & could not miss
A rally of this size, & then the chance
To meet thy sacred self

You’ve met my son

Cassius Clay
I have… Brother Herbert

Welcome, Brother Cassius
Your next fight
It is important, yes

Cassius Clay
It’s the big one
I’m fighting for the Heavyweight title


Sonny Liston, father

His is a daemonic reputation

It certainly is
But as it is said in the eighth surah
Of the holy Qu’ran, when a thousand
Meccans on Medina march’d, taking rest
Upon the Day of the Criterion
In the valley of Badr, among the dunes,
But happily beside the gurgling stream,
Outnumbering the Moslems three to one,
Who being far from water, on the sand
Did fret about the battle that next day
Despite their prophet being with Allah,
Who then sweet rain provided thro the night
Turning the sand to clay for to support
The dash of arms, the sandy ground made firm
& highest were the stakes upon that day
But animated by the holy zeal
& with the prophet praying in their midst
His little band was sav’d from peris hment
& won the day, a triumph that preserv’d
Islam for the world, yes, praise Allah

You certainly know your scriptures, young man

Cassius Clay
Every day I study the Qu’ran

Excellent, when comes the coming conflict
Let ev’ry doubt be banish’d from your mind
& let the space be fill’d by thoughts from God

Cassius Clay
I shall

So, tell me of your name, young man

Cassius Clay
My name?


Cassius Clay
Cassius Marcellus Clay

& what do you think of this name

Cassius Clay
It’s good
It sounds like a Roman gladiator

It sounds like you are still a slave

Cassius Clay
A what

You never were descended from a Clay
I mean, the very name still sounds like dirt,
Whose lineage once held yours in bondage
& made them work until their usefulness
Was all worn out, thoroughly in the fields
Then blood & flesh dispos’d of like refuse

Cassius Clay
I’d never thought of my name in that way

I have a name for you now, something new
Muhammad means one who’s worthy of praise
& Ali was the name of a cousin
Of the Prophet Mohammad, he was great
In war, a mighty general at arms
Who’d command, one day, the third Caliphate,
& now your name is Muhammad Ali
Praise be to Allah

Glory to his name

& now, I need to rest, Herbert, my son,
Will take care of your needs while you are here
Malcolm, well done, he is a fine, fine, soul
The Nation of Welcome is with you now

Cassius Clay
& I am with the Nation of Islam

After you have enriched your soul
To the highest point,
With books, thought, suffering,
The understanding of many personalities,
The power to interpret glances, silences,
The pauses in momentous transformations,
The genius of divination and prophecy;
So that you feel able at times to hold the world
In the hollow of your hand;
Then, if, by the crowding of so many powers
Into the compass of your soul,
Your soul takes fire,
And in the conflagration of your soul
The evil of the world is lighted up and made clear—
Be thankful if in that hour of supreme vision
Life does not fiddle.
Each man fated to answer for himself:
Which of the faiths and illusions of mankind
Must I choose for my own sustaining light
To bring me beyond the present wilderness?
be eloquent in ideaology
An omnivorous student of islam
aving a ready insight into and understanding of things.

Exit Elijah Muhammad

Cassius Clay
Phew – he is, something else

Malcolm X
He’s a prophet
& leads his people as in days of old
When heathens saw the light of divine love
Was shining to them from a mortal lamp

Cassius Clay
& I have seen the light

Malcolm X
Praise to Allah

Brother Cassius, eat

Cassius Clay
Thank-you, this food
Who makes it

Well, we have our own kitchens
In the Nation of Islam, our own schools
Our own doctors, our own, well, everything

Cassius Clay
I am glad to be a part of it all

So, Sonny Liston, how will you beat him

Cassius Clay
With Allah’s help, he came to me last night
& told me I most agitate the mind
Of my greatest foe, make him furious
Make him obsessive for killing me
Before he fights me, so he’ll lose focus,
Control, those key components of boxing,
I’m on my way to see him

You are what

Cassius Clay
I’m heading out to prod that big, bad bear
Once we have departed Oklahoma
We’ll pass thro Kansas, up thro Wichita
& west along interstate seventy
To Denver, Colorado, where he lives
& spread a mayhem salad on his lawn

That plan comes from no ordinary source
The blessings of Allah descend on thee
Go easy, Brother Cassius, stay sure
& all shall from thine instincts safe transpire

Cassius Clay
Brother, I’ve got this

Hah – I’m sure you have

Scene 14

Denver, outside Sonny Liston’s house / Cassius Clay pulls up in his motorhome blaring his horn / he is with Bundini Brown

Cassius Clay
Let’s go get the big bear

Bundini Brown
That’s why we’re here

Cassius Clay
You knock on his door

Bundini Brown
I aint doing that
I will do anything that you ask me to
But I aint waking up no angry bear

Cassius Clay
Alright, I’ll do it, but you stay right there

Bundini Brown
I aint going anywhere, Cassius

Cassius Clay
Well, I’m going bear-hunting, right, here goes

Cassius Clay
{knocking on Sonny Liston’s door}
Come on out, I want you right here, right now
I’m gonna whup that big & ugly bear
Listen, Liston, you aint no champ, I am,
Let’s settle it tonight upon this lawn

Sonny Liston
{opening the door in his bath-robe}
Silly mother fucker, whatcha doing
Here, in Denver

Cassius Clay
I’ve come to take what’s mine

Sonny Liston
Get your goddamn ass off my property

Cassius Clay
Even your house is ugly, when I’m champ
I’m gonna build me a house just as big
As a nest of Bald Eagles, swimming pool
& cadillacs on the lawn

Sonny Liston
Look, you schmuck

Cassius Clay
Sonny Liston aint nothing, to fight me
You will need to take up boxing lessons
But you’re also gonna need falling lessons,
Cos I’m wanting me nice, new, bearskin rug
To look good on my floor

Sonny Liston
Hey, blabbermouth
You fuckin’ nigger faggot – I’ll drag
That tongue from your mouth, stick it up your ass
& if you don’t get off of my property
I’m gonna shoot you dead, as is my right

Cassius Clay
Man, that’s the only way you’d defeat me
I’m by far the superior fighter
I aint joking

Bundini Brown
He aint

Cassius Clay
I’m serious

Bundini Brown
He’s as serious as a heart attack

Cassius Clay
I am the greatest, tell me what I am

Bundini Brown
You are the greatest

Sonny Liston
Fuck this

Sonny Liston re-enters his house

Bundini Brown
Where’s he off

Cassius Clay
Hey, why you running, Liston, come & fight

Sonny Liston returns with a gun

Bundini Brown
He’s got a gun

Cassius Clay
Quickly, back to the truck

As Cassius Clay & Bundini Brown flee, Sonny Liston fires his gun

Cassius Clay
I’ll see you in Miami, where you’ll fall
In eight, to prove I’m great

Sonny Liston
Get out of here

Sonny Liston fires another shot / Cassius Clay & Bundini Brown drive off laughing / Sonny Liston’s wife, Geraldine, comes to the door

Geraldine Liston
Baby, what’s going on, yo gone scared me

Sonny Liston
That was Cassius Clay

Geraldine Liston
Cassius Clay
What the hell is he doing in Denver

Sonny Liston
I do not know, but I do know one thing
That’s one crazy cat, oh, my fucking god!

Geraldine Liston
Don’t let him get to you baby

Sonny Liston
I won’t
My only worry is how I’ll get my fist
Outta his mouth, it’ll be ramm’d so far
Down his throat, it’ll take me a whole week
To pull it out again – he’ll hurt so bad
He’ll never want to step inside a ring
Again, for evermore, that boy is mine.

Geraldine Liston
Come on, babycakes, let’s go back inside

Geraldine leads Sonny Liston in their house – the door closes behind them

Scene 15

Cassius Clay & Malcolm X are enter a diner

Good morning, boys, what ya’ll wanting today

Malcolm X
I’ll have coffee & waffles


Malcolm X

Cassius Clay
I’ll have an order of veal, green salad
A bowl of chilli & some wholewheat toast
Two t-bone steaks & a baked potato
& orange juice.. & coffee, & some waffles

Alright, so veal, salad, chilli, toast, steaks
Baked potato, juice, waffles & coffee
Is that right

Cassius Clay

Comin right up

Malcom X

Cassius Clay
Always – I’ll have five dips of ice cream too
{An awkward silence}
Y’know that I adore you, Malcolm, right
But this aint good, there’s serpents in the grass

Malcolm X
I know, I know

Cassius Clay
How did it come about

Malcolm X
It began when the President was slain
In Denver, the dubious back-story
Of some single assassin in the news
Firing some sort of a magic bullet
Masking the covert, fungal CIA’s
Disgusting hands all over this vile deed –

Cassius Clay
It’s got Klu Klux Klan stamp’d all over it
& Denver, a temple to their vices

Malcolm X
Whatever are the details, my response
Preaching up at Temple Number Seven
It seems, was an ill-inform’d comment

Cassius Clay
What did you say

Malcolm X
I said that the chickens
Were coming home to roost, as a farm boy
Chickens coming home never made me sad,
They’ve always made me glad, a folly phrase
In hindsight, but all of us are human
& make our caustic comments in the heat
Of powerful emotions mixt with life

Cassius Clay
For that you have been banish’d from the tribe

Malcolm X
So says the honourable Elijah

Cassius Clay
This is a most extreme response

Malcolm X
There’s more
For in this world a minor fault in one
Becomes th’excusic scapegoat for to mask
A major fault one holds oer the other

Cassius Clay
So, what, there’s more to this than fills my ears

Malcolm X
There is, alas, a barrel know of things
About our leader… he…

Cassius Clay
Spit it out, man

Malcolm X
He’s not the moral paragon you think
Less upstanding & more the hypocrit
He reels in extramarital affairs,
Serial womaniser who’s father’d
Numerous children with his secretaries
Denying, each time, his paternity
Then barring the women from the Nation
For sexual conduct premarital
But they’d done it with him – it’s disgraceful
I’d made my first tentative inquiries
Into these godless infidelities
Which have, I now believe, forcefully led
To this expulsive blast from the Nation
A ninety-day suspension, as I’m told

Cassius Clay
Oh man, this is a mess, what can I do

Malcolm X
He knows our closeness, Cassius, let’s say
On beating Sonny Liston in the ring
If you command the title & the crown
Your value to the Nation will erupt
& thro’ our friendship, & deep promises
Of loyalty & fealty from me
Unto the sacred Messenger on earth,
Let reconciliation sooth the storms

Enter waitress with coffee

I got your coffees boys

Malcolm X
Thank you for that

Exit waitress

Cassius Clay
I love you brother, & I cannot bare
To see such sorry schisming, I swear
I’ll try & do my best on both accounts –
To beat the bear then help you make amends
With Elijah Muhammad, I promise

Malcolm X
Thank-you, my brother

Cassius Clay
So, how was Mecca

Malcolm X
A revelation, an extra layer,
I expect, to the rift, I saw such things,
Relay’d them to Elijah Muhammad,
To stony-surfac’d silence

Cassius Clay
What were they

Malcolm X
The Nation says the White Men are devils,
But not in Mecca, the core of our faith,
I saw in brotherhood, the world entire,
Throngs of people, all races, all colours
Hugging, embracing warmth & friendliness
There was a feeling that really struck me
It was like I’d just stepp’d out of prison
To liberty & uncomplexive peace
Where equal all in the eyes of Allah
In Mecca, his marvellous miracle!
Humanity’s haven, Heaven on Earth!

Cassius Clay
What are you saying, man

Malcolm X
I believe, now
The nation’s taking a dangerous path
The White Man’s not all bad, integration,
If perfected, can lead to paradise

Cassius Clay
Woah, woah, woah, I ain’t listening to that
You cannot convince me to go against
The Messenger, his teachings are divine

Malcolm X
This, once, I would have easily agreed
Sweeping indictments of the White Man prais’d,
No more shall I be guilty of such spite
I no know some White people are sincere
Are truly capable of brotherhood
With me & you, I mean, there’s Angelo,
Your trainer, he’s white

Cassius Clay
That is different

Malcolm X
How, how is that different

Cassius Clay
It just is
I cannot go against the Messenger
As you once told me you did play the pimp
Some junkie hustle slurping scum from streets
Elijah found you, saw your potential
Clean’d you up, taught you how to love yourself
& then all others with a sable skin
All of your noble essence comes from him
He is the wisest man on Planet Earth
& all you vocal powers emanate
From him, the source of all your powers, man

Malcolm X
But, Cassius…

Cassius Clay
I’m Muhammad Ali
Now, you know that,

Malcolm X

Cassius Clay
I have to say
You’ve sewn the seeds of your own destruction
Remember when you’ve oftenly declar’d
If someone ever dares to stand against
The Messenger, for them death is too good,
That you would act to burn their rotting bones
In the painful pits of a triple hell
Persisting in this spirit can’t be good
You might be squandering away thy life

Malcolm X
We’ll see, my friend, but I now see the truth
He uses Islam as a galleon
With scare a hint of knowledge how to sail
The prayer ritual he does not know
The Nation seems to me a private cult

Cassius Clay
A cult, what are you talking about, man

Malcolm X
Sorry, sorry, I got carried away
Forgive me, please, breathe deep & free your thoughts
From all of this, let’s focus on your fight
How feel you now

Cassius Clay
In truth, I’m terrified

Malcolm X
But fear is what engenders our defeats
If to thought we allow its attachments
Our spirit shall be fragmentized, our soul
Conflicted then shall be, our source of strength
Constricted, from a state of fear we’ll fall,
But when the human mind is free of fear
When to its guiles obedience has gone,
There’s nothing unachievable, you’ll win
This fight, if you believe you will, my friend

Cassius Clay
I had an inkling before, but now I’m sure
As ever I shall be, I’ll win this fight

Malcolm X
It is hard to discern any merit
In Liston, the country don’t want him
As champion – a sinister creature
Full of hatred for himself & the world
The man is America’s worst nightmare
Revil’d, admonish’d & disrespected
The stage is set for some brave knight of arms
To charge right in & save the maiden fair

But I’ll be riding a black stallion

Enter Waitress with the food

Here are your waffles & everything else

Cassius Clay
Thank-you… I’m so hungry

Malcolm X
Bon appetit

Scene 16

Las Vegas – Sonny Liston is training – medicine balls are being thrown against his chest / enter journalist with a cameraman

Well, here I stand within the training camp
Of Charles ‘Sonny’ Liston, the heavyweight
Champion of the world & reputed
To be the division’s hardest hitter
At least since the Brown Bomber, Joe Louis
Was around, so, Sonny, ehm, do you mind
If we ask a few questions

Sonny Liston
Go ahead

I’ve watch’d you work out for about an hour
You look like you’re ready to fight giants
How do you feel

Sonny Liston
I’m feeling very good

How much, eh, roadwork have you been doing

Sonny Liston
I’ve been doing six miles

Six miles a day

Sonny Liston

You think that’s enough

Sonny Liston
Well – I only
Wanna catch him, not set an track record

I see – well, some of the things Cassius
Clay has been saying – well, for example
Yesterday he said when Sonny Liston
Fights Cassius the Great, everyone will
Complement him for dropping you in 8
Do you have anything to say on that

Sonny Liston
The only thing I’ll say is do not get
Your tickets later, because if you come
Later than the first you might miss the fight
Unleashing Saratoga’s on the boy
You can bet your life it won’t get to four

I’d like to get your opinion, Sonny
What dya feel Cassius Clay possesses
In the field of boxing ability
How does he compare, let’s say, to Cleveland

Sonny Liston
Well, I can’t compare them yet
I’d have to fight Clay, but upon that day
{pointing to fists}
Let’s just say it’s these who’ll do the talking

Enter Joe Louis

Hello Joe Louis, how are you

Joe Louis
I’m good

Sonny Liston
Nice to see ya Joe

Joe Louis
You too Sonny


Ladies & gentlemen, this is Joe
Louis, former heavyweight champion
Of the world, reputed to be among
The finest fighters in the history
Of the division – so Joe, have yo seen
Cassius Clay fight

Joe Louis
Yes I’ve seen him box
Once in California, once in New York

& you’ve seen Sonny Liston fight

Joe Louis
I have seen him box also

May I get
Your opinion on what might just happen
On the night of this upcoming contest

Joe Louis
Well, I think it should be a real good fight
Clay’s a good boxer, Sonny punches good
& likes to stop his man all of the time
I think it will be an excellent fight

Do you think Clay will employ the tactics
He’s used on other fighters, when he stabs
& runs & stands & runs & waits & strikes

Joe Louis
I think we’ll see that type of fight from Clay

Sonny Liston
He can run all he likes, but he can’t hide

Do you think he will be running a lot

Sonny Liston
I look for him to run

Well, thank you both
On behalf of all our viewers out there
We look forward to a fabulous fight

Sonny Liston
I’ll do my best, see you all in Vegas

Scene 17

Philadelphia/ Yank Durham & Eddie Futch are in their gym, sat round a table / a Beatles song is playing on the radio

Ladies & gentlemen that was Twist & Shout
By the Beatles – who will be coming soon
To American shores, in the new year –
& now, folks, here is ‘Surfin USA’
By the Beach Boys

Yank Durham
{turning down radio}
Catchy stuff that Beatles

Eddie Futch
Who the hell are the Beatles

Yank Durham
A pop group
They are from Liverpool apparently

Eddie Futch
Liverpool, New York

Yank Durham
Liverpool, England

Eddie Futch
England – they’re making music over there, now
Sounds just like recycl’d rockabilly
Eddie Cochran vibes, y’know, nothin new

Yank Durham
I like it

Eddie Futch
Watcha say this guy was call’d

Yank Durham
His name’s Joe Frazier

Eddie Futch
What makes him special

Yank Durham
Possessing awesome precociousness
There’s something unstoppable about him
This battling pitbull, this threshing machine
That scatters chaff in pieces on the floor

Eddie Futch
Well, I can have a look, for an old friend
It’s the least I can do

Yank Durham
Thank you Eddie

Eddie Futch
Hey, how’s your legs, still getting trouble

Yank Durham
I’ll get a little gyp from time to time
But nothing I can’t live with

Eddie Futch
Man, when I heard
About the day a jeep ran oer your legs
& broke them both in England, in the war
I was genuinely devastated
You could have been a world class contender

Joe Frazier enters

I might have, I might not, but I now know
I’d like to maybe train a man at least
To be the champ, & speak of the Devil
Hey Joe, come take a seat, good to see ya

Joe Frazier
Good to be here

Yank Durham
So, Joe, this is Eddie
Eddie Futch

Joe Frazier
Hey, nice to meet ya

Eddie Futch
You too
Yank, here’s, been telling me you box a bit

Joe Frazier
I like to think so

Eddie Futch
So, where are you from

Joe Frazier
South Carolina, but I live here now

Eddie Futch
Whatcha daddy do

Joe Frazier
He’s a sharecropper
Deep down in ramshackle Jim Crow country
Eking cotton & melons from white dirt

Eddie Futch
Right… & you

Joe Frazier
I work in a slaughterhouse

Yank Durham
The way he bashes cattle cadavers
As if them frozen punching bags is neat

Eddie Futch
You do that

Joe Frazier
Yeah sometimes

Eddie Futch
What trigger’d you
What made you in the first place want to box

Joe Frazier
In the early fifties my daddy bought
A black-and-white TV, a focal point
For gatherings of the community
Fuel’d by his beautiful home-brew moonshine
My momma selling drinks for a quarter
We used to worship the greatest contests
Of sequentially contiguous titles
Keenly witnessing each transmissive bout
As when Amyntor made his famous helm
Casqued with leather braces, white boar’s teeth bound,
From him twas won by Autolychus, who
Gave the spoil unto Amphydyamas
Then Molus & then Merion possess’d
The prize, before twas to the temple press’d
Of Odysseus, we watch’d the belt pass’d
Willie Pep to Sugar Ray Robinson,
Rocky Marciano… Graziano…
One fateful night, my uncle Israel
Pointed at me, remarking to the room,
One day I’d be another Joe Louis
Well, on the morning after the comment
No blacks allow’d to train in Beaufort’s gyms
I fill’d an old burlap sack with rags
Corncobs, a brick, and spongey Spanish moss,
For the next six years, damn near every day
I’d wrap my hands with my dad’s necktie
Or sister’s stockings, & just get to it
Whacking that heavy bag for a full hour

Joe Frazier
This boy can work out, Eddie, he is fit

Joe Frazier
I like to keep in shape, yeah

Eddie Futch
So, Philly
Why here, why now?

Joe Frazier
Well, I saw no future down in Beaufort
Outside of drudging nothings in the fields
&, after a local altercation
With white folks, mamma said I’d best be off –
So I climb’d on a Dog’s back, left that night
I was fifteen, fresh-faced, & full of verve
& completely on my own, Manhattan
Call’d me like so many chasing vagrants
But, finding not New York to my liking
I came to Pennsylvania instead
& settl’d better, they’re more my people

Eddie Futch
That’s quite a nifty biopic young man

Yank Durham
Hey, Eddie, wait til you see this guy fight
I’d say he owns the fastest & hardest
Left swing I ever seen, & then the way
He just sticks relentlessly to his prey,
To watch is both thrilling & exhausting

Eddie Futch
You’re sure you wanna be a heavyweight

Joe Frazier
Yes, sir, that’s me, I want that world title

Eddie Futch
By the time you are ready I’ll expect
That Cassius Clay will be in your way

Yank Durham
Joe Frazier
You think he gonna get past Liston

Eddie Futch
I firmly do believe his blabbermouth
Has overshadowed his ability
Clay’s style man – unorthodox, rococo,
Hands held low, prancing around opponents,
Picking them off with sharp, rapier jabs
His major occupation’s to avoid
Wearing a blemish on his pretty face
I aint seen nothing like that boy before
But what I have seen are his weaknesses
& we’ver waited for someone to train up
In order to exploit them

Joe Frazier
Well, that’s me
There’s life’s best spirit beating in my chest
& thirsty fury in my flying fists

Eddie Futch
Good man, I’m sure we’re gonna get on fine
As when, at Pittsburgh, the Allegheny
Monongahela meets, & merging forms
The mighty river they’ve call’d Ohio
We’ll work together better for enjoin’d

Yank Durham
I do not consider Clay’s decision
To fight Sonny Liston was very smart
With polish’d skills & power in each punch
Where Liston is an awesome warrior
A deadly, indestructible machine
Whose fists malefic elephants could stun
Clay is only an affable novice
Who has only master’d those ballyhoo
Spittling phrenzies of grandiosity
Skittering like pebbles over water,
I can’t see his punches penetrating
Liston’s armour, he can’t dance forever
With a de-acceleration of speed
Ensur’d in later rounds, Clay cannot win
Nobody will beat Sonny but old age

Eddie Futch
Well, let’s see shall we, hey Joe, I’ve tickets
For Vegas, wanna come down for the ride
Get to know each other, give you a taste
Of what a mighty title night entails

Joe Frazier
That, sounds swell, thank-you very much, really
I’d be honour’d

Eddie Futch
No problem

Joe Frazier
Right then guys
I had better get my ass back to work
It was really nice to meet you

Eddie Futch
You too

Joe Frazier
I’ll see you at the gym tonight, then, Yank
Work harder than the lower Merrimack

Yank Durham
I’ll be there, hey, Joe, you eaten today

Joe Frazier
No – I haven’t had the time

Yank Durham
{handing Frazier money}
Here, take this
Get something in the street

Joe Frazier
Hey thanks brother

Exit Frazier

Yank Durham
So, what do you think

Eddie Futch
He’s special
Tho’ rough, now, like Fort Dearborn’s log stockade
A long, long time before the great World Fair
But, I can see what you have seen in him
As if his life already written out
Tho’ must be play’d out slowly as a film –
What dramas await us with Joe Frazier
Joe… Frazier… that’s a name for the ages!

GOTR 1: Scenes 18-23

On this Day: Muhammad Ali shakes up the world, upsets Sonny Liston - Bad  Left Hook

Scene 18

Las Vegas – Sonny Liston is training – medicine balls are being thrown against his chest / enter journalist with a cameraman

Well, here I stand within the training camp
Of Charles ‘Sonny’ Liston, the heavyweight
Champion of the world & reputed
To be the division’s hardest hitter
At least since the Brown Bomber, Joe Louis
Was around, so, Sonny, ehm, do you mind
If we ask a few questions

Sonny Liston
Go ahead

I’ve watch’d you work out for about an hour
You look like you’re ready to fight giants
How do you feel

Sonny Liston
I’m feeling very good

How much, eh, roadwork have you been doing

Sonny Liston
I’ve been doing six miles

Six miles a day

Sonny Liston

You think that’s enough

Sonny Liston
Well – I only
Wanna catch him, not set an track record

I see – well, some of the things Cassius
Clay has been saying – well, for example
Yesterday he said when Sonny Liston
Fights Cassius the Great, everyone will
Complement him for dropping you in 8
Do you have anything to say on that

Sonny Liston
The only thing I’ll say is do not get
Your tickets later, because if you come
Later than the first you might miss the fight
Unleashing Saratoga’s on the boy
You can bet your life it won’t get to four

I’d like to get your opinion, Sonny
What dya feel Cassius Clay possesses
In the field of boxing ability
How does he compare, let’s say, to Cleveland

Sonny Liston
Well, I can’t compare them yet
I’d have to fight Clay, but upon that day
{pointing to fists}
Let’s just say it’s these who’ll do the talking

Enter Joe Louis

Hello Joe Louis, how are you

Joe Louis
I’m good

Sonny Liston
Nice to see ya Joe

Joe Louis
You too Sonny


Ladies & gentlemen, this is Joe
Louis, former heavyweight champion
Of the world, reputed to be among
The finest fighters in the history
Of the division – so Joe, have yo seen
Cassius Clay fight

Joe Louis
Yes I’ve seen him box
Once in California, once in New York

& you’ve seen Sonny Liston fight

Joe Louis
I have seen him box also

May I get
Your opinion on what might just happen
On the night of this upcoming contest

Joe Louis
Well, I think it should be a real good fight
Clay’s a good boxer, Sonny punches good
& likes to stop his man all of the time
I think it will be an excellent fight

Do you think Clay will employ the tactics
He’s used on other fighters, when he stabs
& runs & stands & runs & waits & strikes

Joe Louis
I think we’ll see that type of fight from Clay

Sonny Liston
He can run all he likes, but he can’t hide

Do you think he will be running a lot

Sonny Liston
I look for him to run

Well, thank you both
On behalf of all our viewers out there
We look forward to a fabulous fight

Sonny Liston
I’ll do my best, see you in Miami

Scene 19

New York / the Ed Sullivan Show / Sonny Liston & Dick Sadler are in the audience

Ralf Paul
Good evening, ladies & gentlemen all,
Tonight, & live, from the Deauville Hotel,
Miami Beach, the Ed Sullivan Show
Brought to you from Anacin, the headache
Remedy, whose special combination
Of ingredients will relieve your pain
Relax tensions & irritations sooth
& that’s Anacin… & now here he is,
The King of Sunday night television,
Ed Sullivan

Enter Ed Sullivan

Ed Sullivan
Thank you very, very
Much, ladies & gentlemen, thank you Ralf Paul
So, here we are at the Deauville Hotel,
Miami Beach, & what a show tonight
We’ve Gordon Macrae from California
We have the marvelous Mitzi Gaynor
& two comedians from the Deauville
Don Rickles & Myron Cohen, but first
We are very excited to begin tonight
With four of the nicest, swellest young kids
We’ve ever had on our stage – The Beatles
Last weekend, seventy-three million
Americans watch’d their TV debut
& we are delighted to have them back
Let’s bring the boys back on

Paul McCartney

Girls in the audience yell and bounce in their seats for the entire song. Upon its completion, the crowd screamed even louder and wildly applauded as the group bow in unison. They go to shake hands with Ed Sullivan to the cheers

Ed Sullivan
So, boys, the buzz is Beatlemania
Has struck an entire nation, you’ve become
Part of the fabric of our consciousness
I Want to Hold Your Hand’s sold millions
How are you finding your massive success

George Harrison
Its marvellous

Ringo Starr
We’re loving it really

Paul McCartney
& it’s nice to be here, its great

John Lennon
Hey Ed
Eh, Mr Sullivan, sorry, you’re great too

Ed Sullivan
Well, thank you very, very much – but boys
There is one question that I’ve been ask’d to ask
When will you boys be having a haircut

George Harrison
I had one yesterday

Paul McCartney
He’s not lying

Ringo Starr
You should have seen the state of it before

Ed Sullivan
Well it looks good now – ladies & gentlemen
The Beatles

Exit the Beatles – in the crowd Sonny Liston is with Dick Sadler

Sonny Liston
Man are these the same four motherfuckers
That all the people are screaming about
I do not see the blusterfuss at all
They’re just a bunch o’ bugs outta Britain
My dog can play better drums than that guy

Dick Sadler
Man, everyone’s in love with the Beatles
& they really want to meet ya, brother

Sonny Liston
I’m not gonna do it, I’m pulling out
There’ll be no photos of me with sissies

Dick Sadler
But Sonny, it’s all been arranged

Sonny Liston
I’m out
Look, let’s get out of here, I’ve seen enough

Dick Sadler
Alright, man, whatever you wanna do

Exit Sonny Liston & Dick Sadler

Scene 20

Miami Beach’s 5th Street Gym – the Beatles in the ring

George Harrisson
Where is he

Bundini Brown
He’ll be here, boys, he’ll be here

Ringo Starr
We’ve been meeting twenty minutes now, mate

Paul McCartney
Look lads, lets just go, first Sonny Liston
Then Cassius Clay, we’re better than this

John Lennon
I reckon we should just go back to the pool
Get us cozzies on, enjoy the sunshine
While we can

George Harrisson
That’s a top idea, John

John Lennon
It’ll be better than meeting a loudmouth
One could certify was going to lose

He’s here

Ringo Starr

Cassius Clay is coming

Paul McCartney
About time too

Enter Cassius Clay

Cassius Clay
Well, hello there, Beatles!
We oughta do some road shows together.
We’ll get rich!

Ringo Starr
Cassius, nice to meet you

Cassius Clay
You too, eh, what’s your names

Ringo Starr
Well, I’m Ringo.

George Harrisson
I’m George

John Lennon

Paul McCartney
I’m Paul

Cassius Clay
You boys sound funny

John Lennon
Hey, that’s fighting talk in Liverpool, mate

They start comedy scrapping

Cassius Clay
Who wants it first, huh,

Cassius Clay picks up Ringo, then the scrap calms down

Cassius Clay
I heard that Liston refused to see you

George Harrisson
He did, yeah

Cassius Clay
I always knew he was a fool
You guys are cool – when Liston reads about
You boys visiting me, he’ll get so mad
I’ll knock him out in three!

So, boys, listen
We’re gonna take some photographs, OK?

Paul McCartney
Sure thing

John Lennon
How do you want us

Cassius Clay
I’ve got it
Line up in a row, as if you were set
To topple like dominoes to canvas
That’s right, you go there, what’s your name again

George Harrisson
I’m George

Cassius Clay
Well, George, you guys are the greatest
& just like me you’re shaking up the world
This time, why don’t you all lie on the floor

Paul McCartney
Alright mate

Cassius Clay
Hey, you’re Paul, right

Paul McCartney
That’s me yeah

Cassius Clay
You are definitely the prettiest
But you’ll never be as pretty as me
I have had nineteen professional fights
& look, my face ne’er took a single mark
Right, is everybody set

Ringo Starr
I think so

Cassius Clay
Good – alright, squirm, you worms – worms, I said squirm

After the photo the Beatles stand up

Cassius Clay
So, what do you think is gonna happen
When I fight that big ugly bear, Liston

Ringo Starr
I’ve got my money on you

Cassius Clay
Hey Ringo
You aint as dumb as you look

John Lennon
But you are

Following a brief awkward silence, the whole group erupted in laughter.

Cassius Clay
You’re funny
How are ya finding Miami

John Lennon
Its great
Everyone’s been lending us yachts & boats

Paul McCartney
We’ve already prang’d this woman’s speedboat
But she said it was OK

Ringo StarrAlright lads,
Shall we do one, then, & go swimming

George, John, PaulYeah

John Lennon
It was well sound to meet you Cassius
If you’re ever fighting Cooper again
Over there in England, give us a call
We would love to show you around Liverpool

Cassius Clay
Henry Cooper, Henry Cooper, ah yeah
I tripp’d up over his left hook, that time
No, I’ll be honest, that guy hit me so hard
My relations felt it in Africa

George Harrison
Good luck mate

Cassius Clay
You too boys

Ringo Starr
See you later

George Harrison#
Bye, bye everybody

Cassius Clay
Bye bye Beatles
{Exit the Beatles}
So, those are the pretty little sissies
Who are storming America right now
Those four little nerds in terrycloth suits

They are, man, I think that was the first time
Anybody swung a bossy sceptre
About their presence since they first set foot

Cassius Clay
Well how can they compare
With someone who really is the greatest

You really are the greatest, Cassius

Cassius Clay
& all you suckers gonna know it soon
Be honest, who here’s got Liston

Journalist 2
I have

Journalist 3

Journalist 1
Me too

Cassius Clay
Well, on the day of the fight
Miss breakfast, lunch & dinner, for that night
You, you & you will be eating your words

Journalist 4
I’ve got you down to win Cassius

Cassius Clay
Somebody give him a certificate
To prove he’s wiser than everyone else
& hey, the inspiration came to me
Last night, mu muse came on a tingling wing
Wanna hear what she said

Journalist 2
Yeah, tell us man

Cassius Clay
Clay comes out to meet Liston
and Liston starts to retreat,
if Liston goes back an inch farther
he’ll end up in a ringside seat.
Clay swings with his left,
Clay swings with his right,
Look at young Cassius
carry the fight
Liston keeps backing, but there’s not enough room,
It’s a matter of time till Clay lowers the boom.
Now Clay lands with a right,
What a beautiful swing,
and the punch raises the Bear
clean out of the ring.
Liston is still rising and the ref wears a frown,
For he can’t start counting
till Sonny goes down.
Now Liston is disappearing from view,
The crowd is going frantic,
But radar stations have picked him up,
Somewhere over the Atlantic.
Who would have thought
when they came to the fight?
That they’d witness the launching
of a human satellite.
Yes the crowd did not dream,
when they put up the money,
That they would see
a total eclipse of the Sonny.
I am the greatest !
Right, that’s enough, I am off to get chang’d
& I’ll be back in twenty-five minutes
If you cats wanna cach me train

Journalist 3
We’ll wait

Exit Cassius Clay

Journalist 2
Don’t think the Beatles liked that very much

Journalist 1
Maybe not, but this fight, & last night’s show
& the one up in New York last Sunday,
For me shall mark the start of the sixties

Journalist 4
Bring it on, so far it’s a lot of fun

Scene 21

Miami – the weigh in – Liston is about to be weigh’d – Joe Louis is near him enter Bundini Brown with Cassius Clay, who is wearing a denim jacket saying ‘bear hunting’ inscribed in red on the back, banging a walking stick & screaming

Cassius Clay
I’m the champ, I’m the real champ, where’s he at
I am the biggest thing in history
Are we gonna dance tonight

Bundini Brown
Let’s dance champ

Cassius Clay
I’m the king, I’m the greatest thing ever
Even The Beatles want my autograph
Where is he, where’s that great big ugly bear
With his beat-up-behind-a-dumpster face
Hey Liston, you aint no champ, you’re a chump
You got all these fool’d

Bundini Brown
He’s the champ of what

Cassius Clay
He’s the champ of being ugly, that’s what
He’s so ugly, that when his sweat comes out
It takes one look then runs back in his head

Sonny Liston
Keep talking kid, I’m gonna fuck you up

Cassius Clay
You’re just jealous, everybody can see
I’m tall & handsome as the Sunset Kid
& by far the better boxer, it’s clear
The only thing Sonny Liston can box
Is oranges & grapefruits, even then
He ruins all the fruit, hey Joe Louis
What’s Joe Louis doing in your corner
He was flat-footed like you, Joe Louis
Slow Louis, Liston won’t defeat me, I’m fast
I’m gonna dance

Bundini Brown
He’s gonna dance

Cassius Clay
That’s right,
I’ll be jumping & sticking & moving
Then I’ll clobber with everything I got
I’ll punish the body, bring on a pain
So bad his tears will burn welts in his eyes
Wait a minute, is that Howard Cossel
Is that you, Howard, yeah it is! you’re next
As soon as I’m done with Sonny Liston
I’m gonna be fighting Howard Cossel

Morris Klein
Cassius Clay’s fined five thousand dollars
By the Miami Boxing Commission
For contemptualizing this weigh-in

Cassius Clay
But first things first, I’m gonna get my belt

Bundini Brown
Go in there, brother, & what’s yours retrieve

Cassius Clay
Hey chump, you shouldn’t have show’d up today
Tonight will be your hour of reckoning
There aint no-one on Earth faster than me
You made a mistake you shouldn’t have come
I’m gonna beat you like a dog, like a slave

Sonny Liston weighs two hundred eighteen pounds

Cassius Clay
That’s two hundred & eighteen pounds of dog crap

Doctor, please, take this boxer’s blood pressure
See if he’s in fit condition to fight

Sonny Liston
I’ll need two rounds, the first one to catch him
& another round to finish him off

Cassius Clay
Hey fool, why ya doing the predicting
I’m the only one who does predicting

It says two hundred over a hundred

Sonny holds up two fingers

Cassius Clay
Sonny, you aint nuthin, I’m gonna dance

If, by fight time, his blood pressure’s the same
There’ll be no fight… two hundred & ten pounds
Cassius Clay weighs two hundred pounds

Bundini Brown & Cassius Clay
Let’s float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Rumble, young man, rumble aahhh

Cassius Clay
I’m the king
I’m the greatest – no-one can defeat me
Tonight, I’m in the glare of destiny
Showing the way to what is rightful mine
I am the champ

Bundini Brown
The true champ

Cassius Clay
I’m the champ

Bundini Brown
Rumble young man rumble – aahhh

Exit Cassius Clay & Bundini Brown

Robert Lipsyte
Oh my god
He is out of his cotton-picking mind

Teddy Brenner
That’s not madness, that’s fear, he’s scar’d to death

Robert Lipsyte
I don’t know, I’m sure he gave me a wink
He’s a PJ Barnum in boxing trunks

Journalist 3
What are you talking about, he aint got
A Chinaman’s chance – so, I’m heading out
On a scouting mission, I’m off to find
The fastest way to reach the hospital
So as not to waste any deadline time
In transit, when, thunderstruck, Clay’s knock’d out

Robert Lipsyte
See you later, Larry

Teddy Brenner
I need a drink

Robert Lipsyte
I’m coming

Howard Cossel
If that was just the weigh-in
Tonight is gonna be some plain of Troy
With Hector & Achilles face to face

Aint that the truth

Howard Cossel
God bless America!

Scene 22

Convention Hall, Miami, the Clay-Liston fight

Howard Cossel
Well, good evening, ladies & gentleman
Another boxing milestone is at hand
In just a few moments a young boxer
From Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius
Marcellus Clay, who’s down, now, in the ring
Here in Convention Hall, Miami Beach
Miami, where he is going to face
The target of his consistent needling
To run head-on into the full punches
Of the heavyweight champ, Sonny Liston
The awesomest ring executioner
Who has dispos’d of his opposition
In the very first round, the last three times
He he has answer’d the bell – & here he is
Sonny Liston now heads down to the ring
With that hooded white robe, carving his way
Thro the golden circle, hundred dollar seats
One hundred & fifty, then finally
The two hundred dollar seats at ringside
The heavyweight champion pounces in
Calm, cool, collected – both fighters are in
Challenger Cassius Marcellus Clay
Twenty-two years old, an unbeaten pro
Nineteen straight victories
& doing the commentary with me

For Theatre Network Television
Probably the most beloved boxer
Of all time, the Brown Bomber, Joe Louis

Joe Louis
Thank-you, Howard, it’s lovely to be here

Ring Announcer
This bout is going to be fifteen rounds
Fighting for the heavyweight championship
Of the world – from Louisville, Kentucky
Wearing white trunks with red stripes, & weighing
Two hundred & ten pounds – Cassius Clay
& from Denver Colorado, weighing
Two hundred & eighteen pounds, & wearing
The black trunks with white trim, the heavyweight
Champion of the world, Sonny Liston

Howard Cossel
Tonight’s referee is Barney Felix

Barney Felix
I want a clean bout, men, in the event
Of knock downs, a man that is down must take
An eight-count, the man that is standing up
Will go to neutral corner, while I
Start the count, & do not resume boxing
‘Til I tell you to do so – now I want
A clean bout – when I order you to break
Stop punching & step back – good luck, shake hands

Angelo Dundee
You’ve got the speed to offset Liston’s jab
& his jab is the key to everything
Surround it, side to side, with agile skill
He makes intimidation a science
Sonny makes a science of intimidation
So, when you step in the ring with this guy
Stand up tall, let him see you’re just as big


Howard Cossel
Cassius Clay’s on the move as we see
Hoping to get Sonny Liston to lunge
Carries his left hand dangerously low
The Champion is the aggressive man
A good heavy shot dug under the heart
Sonny has to set the pace, that’s the way
It looks at the outset, but there’s a good
Long left lead from Cassius that just might
Keep the champion a bit off balance
Sonny’s trying to slip those left leads in
But cannot do it too successfully
As the challenger’s jabbing all over
& gives the best punch of the fight so far
& now we’re down to the closing seconds
Of this first round, & the difference is
I think, the long left lead of Mister Clay


& so, Joe Louis, tell us what you think
at the end of one

Joe Louis
Well, Howard, I think that’s the greatest round
Of any fight we’ve seen in a long time
Because Clay, I think’s, competed with class
Completely outplay’d Liston with his speed
Awkward style & natural ability

Howard Cossel
Do you think that Cassius can keep it up

Joe Louis
Well I hope Clay don’t get too confident
Erewise he might just get himself knock’d out

Angelo Dundee
Keep that jab in his face, & stuff it in
So hard it comes out the back of his head


Howard Cossel
Joe just referr’d to overconfidence
This can happen – & it seems that Sonny
Is not actually head hunting now
He’s content to rip towards the body
Trying to bring the guard down & then go,
Upstairs, but this youngster has his own style
& its confusing for the champion
To fathom out at this stage of the fight

Joe Louis
If you watch it closely, the champion
Is plumbing away, is pumping that jab
To set up other punches, but resisted
By the challenger moving him away


Howard Cossel
It looks like Liston’s getting frustrated
His salvos are bouncimng off the armour
Of Liston’s battleship, so, Joe Louis
What are they saying in Liston’s corner
Of how he’ll have to battle in round three

Joe Louis
Well, I’m sure Dick Sadler’s telling Sonny,
To totally forget about Clay’s head
Because, you know, he’s pulling back too much
& is much too fast for that, so I think
Liston should work on the body a while
There is the old saying, ‘kill the body
& the head will die

Howard Cossel
You’re close to Sonny
Liston was looking tense in that last round
Why was that

Joe Louis
Well I think that in the last round
Sonny might have look’d a little bit tense
Because, in the first round, Clay really show’d
A lot of moving, you know & Liston
Didn’t like it


Howard Cossel
Well, here we are round three
Another jarring right hand folks, & there’s
Another one – wobbles, Sonny wobbles
Cassius has him hurt – & now Sonny
Has a big dark mark below his left eye
& a little bit bleeding from the nose
Yes, he has a cut below the left eye
& he’s getting hit with all the punches
In the book, but hold the phone, Cassius
Is now a bit hurt, Sonny’s durable


Howard Cossel
don’t know if you can see, Joe, but they’re
Working on the cut below the left eye
As Joe Pellino’s working on the cut
What do you think Sonny’s condition is
Right now

Joe Louis
Well that round looked bad for Sonny
Especially putting all them flurries
In on Sonny, but towards the round’s end
Sonny was looking pretty good himself


Howard Cossel
The champion’s being out-manoeuvred
At most points by Clay’s style, awkward & fast
Of going side-to-side, now Sonny has
Some puffiness below his right eye now
That was a good solid hook from Liston
There’s just a few seconds more in round four


Cassius Clay
I cannot see, I cannot see, my eyes
Cut off my gloves, guys, we are going home

Ferdy Pacheo
Forget that, man, this is the championship
Give me a towel, I’m gonna clean your eyes

Cassius Clay
It burns, it burns

Enter Barmey Felix

Barney Felix
What’s the problem

Cassius Clay
I cannot see

It’s fine
I’m dealing with it, looks like linament
Got in his eyes

Angelo Dundee
It’s the big one, daddy
Stay away from him & run the whole round
Giving your eyes the time to wash away
Their blinding invader – you got this champ
beethoven wrote best symphonies when deaf
So you can fight your greatest when made blind

Howard Cossel
Now we’ve had four fab rounds – what do you think
Being twelve full minutes into the fight
Is going thro’ this youngster’s mind right now

Joe Louis
Well he’s talking a lot right now, he looks
Agitated, like he is arguing
With his trainers, I think he’s been getting
More comfy as the fight has gone along
But now he’s arguing with Angelo
& why I do not know, but it looks like
Something’s gone wrong with his eyes or something

Howard Cossel
I see that Joe, he is blinking badly


Howard Cossel
Cassius still has problems with his eyes
He is blinking & he is bouncing away
Continually, Liston’s still aiming
Towards the body with the big punches
Sonny has just fired his best left hook so far
But Cassius is still bouncing away
Blocking them, he’s just pushing his left fist
Firm into the face of Sonny Liston

Harry Carpenter
What a privilege it is to be here
In Miami, this fifth round, reporting
On this great boxing bout for Britannia
Liston has a scowl strain’d across his face
His lips are twisted


Harry Carpenter
The bell ends the fifth
Now that was the most fantastic of rounds
Clay come out complaining he couldn’t see
There was something alien in his eyes
Then, as the round develop’d, he began
To play about & play the fool & make
Sonny Liston look to us quite silly
This is the most extraordinary
& sensational heavyweight match-up
Since before the war


Harry Carpenter
& on to round six
It’s all Clay again, & as it’s all Clay
His corner are jubilant as he makes
The champion appear a sparring partner
Liston’s now looking completely at sea
& doesn’t know just what its all about
Like the rest of us, totally amazed

Bundini Brown
Throw the left & throw the right, end the show
Dance, champ, dance

Harry Carpenter
Cassius Clay is simply
Brushing all Liston’s best punches aside
Now Clay is coming forward, got Liston
On the retreat


Harry Carpenter
That’s six rounds completed
& the Convention Hall is wide ringing
Not for the champ, but for the challenger,
sonny Liston has stopp’d Zora Folley
& Nino Valdez & Cleveland Williams
But as its going now he cannot stop
& doesn’t look like stopping Cassius
Marcellus Clay, the man who has boasted
Since winning the olympics he’d become
The Heavyweight Champion of the World
& what’s happened – Clay has won, Clay has won
Something has happen’d in Liston’s corner
I do not know just what is going on
Apart from Clay has won after six rounds
The ex champion sits despondently
In his corner, while Cassius goes wild
A sensation among all sensations
It’s all over at the end of the sixth
& Cassius Clay’s the new champion
It is the first time since nineteen nineteen
When Jack Dempsey demolish’d Jess Willard
That a world heavyweight champion fail’d
To leave his stool, why Liston has retired
We do not know, but what fantastic scenes
The police are in the ring to halt the mob
Of folk trying to absorb the moment
We’re now going to get Howard Cossel
Who’s in the ring right now talking to Clay

Cassius Clay
I shook up the world, I shook up the world
I’m the greatest, I’m the king of the world
I’ve upset the world, so give me justice
I said if he wanted to reach heaven
I’d get him in seven, I am the king

Howard Cossel
What made him so easy for you

Cassius Clay
I’m fast
Too fast – & he was scared, boy was he scar’d

Howard Cossel
Absolute bedlam is busting out here
Who gave you your plan, Angelo Dundee

Cassius Clay
No, myself

Howard Cossel
So, was there a single point
Where you knew you had him

Cassius Clay
There was, Howard
I knew I had him in the very first
& the almighty god was with me
I want everybody to bear witness
I am the greatest – I shook up the world –
I am greatest thing that ever lived
& I don’t have a mark upon my face
& I have just upset Sonny Liston
& I have just turn’d twenty two years old
I must be the greatest – I show’d the world
Each day I talk to God – I show’d you all world
I shook, up the world – I shook up the world
You must listen to me – I’m the greatest
I cannot be beat – I am the greatest

Howard Cossel
Cassius, wait a minute Cassius
You told me that you could do it in eight
Well you did it on the cusp of seven

Cassius Clay
I was ready to take him in the eighth
As you could see, but the man has stopp’d it
Just to keep from making me look so great
It was no match – I want the world to know
In the fifth round, I couldn’t see a thing
My face was burning, but still I whupp’d him
He couldn’t hurt me – I’m the prettiest
Thing that ever lived – I shook up the world
Never make me an underdog again
Aint nobody ever gonna stop me
There is not a heavyweight in the world
Fast enough to stop me, look at Liston
He’s one of the most powerful fighters
In the world, but he look’d like a baby
& his face was swollen, chopp’d up & chew’d
I whupp’d him so bad – I AM the greatest

Cassius Clay goes to the corner & throws kisses to everyone

Scene 23

Miami / outside Cassius Clay’s hotel the press are gather’d / enter Cassius Clay with Macolm X

Cassius Clay
Good morning, & thank you all for coming
At such short notice

You are the champ now
Just click your fingers & we’ll come running

Cassius Clay
Well, yesterday, last night, you all saw God
Was with me in the ring, an active light
Of life & love inspiring ev’ry blow
For as the Honourable Elijah
Muhammad is the messenger of God,
So, last night, also, show’d I bear the grace
Of Allah & the Nation of Islam
In whose campaign for noble betterment
Among the blacks, long time oppress’d by those
Proclaiming all are equal, while in truth
They’d lynch me segregation to ensure,
& so, henceforth, from today, hear me now
As Chinaman looks strange nam’d Robert Smith,
I shall be known as a Clay no longer
For that name on my ancestors was forc’d
Lacking scrupulous legitimacy
Tagg’d as the property of their masters
By slavery made deaf & dumb & blind
& ignorant to all our traditions
But this is so-call’d nineteen sixty-four
The Age of Progress, men have been in space
& will be on the moon before too long
So, let me tell you all, from this fine morn
The first since I assum’d my rightful place
As Heavyweight Champion of the World,
That all who saw could tell no lucky fluke,
But triumph was by God predetermin’d,
I will be call’d by the fair name given
By the great Honourable Elijah
Muhammed, taught the truth that will free us
By Allah, whom we call God, I’ll share the name
Of both his prophets, my first, Muhammad,
My second is Ali, set together
My full name form’d is Muhammad Ali
How trippingly it tingles on the tongue
While sacred ruminations swell the tone
& in its saying, liberated, feel
This the frank epitome of joy
I was baptized when I was twelve, but then
I was too young, & didn’t know the truth,
But I don’t have to be a Christian
& I’m not a Christian anymore
Don’t have to be a well behav’d solider
Of your American democracy
Some vague-soul’d athlete prince like Joe Louis
I will not be what you want me to be
I am free to be whoever I want
In this, the wide-proclaim’d Land of the Free,
The right to worships deepest vein ingrain’d
& as I love Allah, to show that love
Whenever anybody says my name
They’ll give Allah a moment of their time
& as they’ll first envision my being,
Thro’ me they’ll come to God’s infinite love
& Islam is the truest faith, which means
Peace, I’m now the heavyweight champion,
But in the America of this day
There’s neighbourhoods I cannot make my home
But I’ll never be a troublemaker,
I don’t believe in forced integration
A man has got to know where he belongs
I belong with the Nation of Islam

Malcolm X
Right brother

Cassius Clay
People brand us a hate group
Say we want to take over the country
That we are communists – that is not true –
Allah’s followers are the world’s sweetest
They don’t carry knives, pray five times a day
Women wear dresses that flow to the floor
They don’t want to stir up any trouble
& nor do I, I want to live in peace
A member of the Nation of Islam
So, thank-you very much, & remember
Cassius Clay is now gone forever
Some fungal symptom of our Human greed
I’ve left the village & mounted the steep
I want to lead a life more benedight
& so, in me, lives Muhammad Ali

But I am America.
I am the part you won’t recognize.
But get used to me:
Black, confident, cocky.
My name, not yours.
My religion, not yours.
My goals, my own.
Get used to me.
& I will see you all very soon

Journalist 2
Hey Cassius, I mean, ehm, Muhammad
What do you say about Liston’s shoulder’s
Bursitis aggravated by a swing

Malcolm X
That will be enough for today, thank-you

Journalist 3
Can you tell us about the divisions
In the Nation of Islam, Malcom, please

Exit Muhammad Ali & Malcolm X

Journalist 1
What did he just say

Journalist 2
He has chang’d his name
Some A-rab sounding Muslim mess of words

Journalist 3
Boxing’s been irrevocably revers’d
From simple gladiatorial combat
To soap-box preaching in a single night
When the planets’s heavyweight champion
Has become a religious crusader
Fanatic of an etraneous force
Which no place has in the sports arena

Journalist 2
What the fuck! Muhammad Ali! Bullshit!

GOTR 1: Scenes 24-28

Sonji Roi: Everything You Need To Know About Muhammad Ali's First Ex-wife -  Nairobi Wire

Scene 24

Chicago / Herbert Muhammad’s photography studio / Herbert is working / there is a knock on the door

Come in

Brother Herbert

Ah, Muhammad
As-salamu alaykum, God bless you

As-salamu alaykum to you too
{They embrace}
So, here you are in Chicago, welcome

Glad to be here, is this your studio

Yeah, I do a bit of photography,
Y’know, helps pay the bills

Wow, these are really good

Thank-you, brother
So… you have spoken to my father, right

Yeah, we spoke on the phone the other day

He told you of his plans for you & I

He did, I love & respect your father
He wishes you to be my spirit’s guide
Upon this path of battles that I tread

& I shall walk beside thee every step
Observe thy business dealings, making sure
No wolves, or vultures, succour on the flesh
Make sure the White Man never dare defraud
A dollar of thy worth

Thank-you brother
Can I ask you something, well, delicate

Fire away

It’s about Malcolm

Malcom, you’re meaning the ex-dope addict
A jailbird who had no education
Couldn’t read or write, then met my father
Who took him off the streets, who clean’d him up Who educated him, Brother Ali
We need not speak about him anymore
He’s been suspended indefinitely
The Messenger knew of the influence
He had upon you, & has thus transferr’d
The wisdom of the Nation unto me
& I shall by thy guide, that mantle mine



Hey, who is this girl, she is beautiful

Let me see, O, that’s Sonja

She’s stunning

Her figure’s lovely & her face is fair
She’s graceful, two cents slick, & exquisite
Such a strikingly sensuous woman
Whenever she cuts strutting thro’ the room
It gushes blossoms of Camellia
As enigmatic as the magenta
Peonies of central Siberia
With a scent of Sicilian Sweet Pea
She in Chicago dwells, not far from here
Her pretty voice telemarkets sometimes
Over the phone for Muhammad Speaks

Is that right – any chance I could meet her

Sure… what, now

Yeah, why not, I’m not here long

Alright, I’ll give her a call… let me see
{dials the number}
Sonja, hi, it’s Herbert… I’m doing good,
So, I’m with Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali, that’s Cassius Clay
The boxer, right – well, he wants to meet you
What are you doing today… this evening?
Good, why don’t you two kids go grab some fun,
Wonderful, I’ll pick you up at seven
& drop you off wherever you think best
Would facilitate an easy night out…
OK, bye Sonja, & thank-you so much
{hangs up},
Looks like you’ve got yourself a date brother


Yep… she says there’s a great band on
Some club downtown, you got your dancing shoes

Eh, no, & nothing nice to wear, really

OK, then, let’s go shopping my brother
& get you looking dagger-sharp for love


Love, lust, or just looking good, whatever
When Sonja sees you she will lose her mind
You got any money

No, not on me

Don’t worry about it, I’m paying


{opening door}
After you, champ,

Thank-you brother Herbert

Exit Herbert & Muhammad Ali

Scene 25

A nightclub in Chicago / a band is playing / enter MA & Sonja dressed for a night out / they are showed to a table by a waitress

Here you go, nice view of the band

Thank-you very much

Whaddyawanna drink

Just a water for me

Just a water

They say waters for winners, & besides
The Nation of Islam’s bann’d alcohol

Well, I’m having a martini dry, please

Sure thing, martini dry & a water
Coming right up – any bar snacks with that

Yeah, bring the lot

Will do

Thanks… man, you’re short
I mean, you are beautiful, but you’re short

I’m not that short, I’m five foot three, & see
I’m perfectly form’d

You certainly are

& you’ve got big feet

Huh – looks like I do

Do they make you clumsy on the dance floor

Clumsy? Me? No way! Have you seen me fight?
The way I dance around my opponents
I’m like a ballerina in a ring

No ballerina gonna beat Liston

Damn straight – but yeah, I can dance

You & I
Could have a little boogie in a while

Yeah, I’d love to, so Sonji, who are you
What do you do

Well, nothing too special
I’m a cocktail waitress, I’m a model

Who do you model for

Tan magazine

Ah, that’s respectable
What’s your father do

My daddy

Yeah girl

He was shot when I was a little girl
I was two years old, he was playing cards


I was brought up by my godparents


My mom died when I was eleven

Man, I’m…

You’re nothing, your life’s not mine

It didn’t used to be

What do you mean

Are you not feeling what I am feeling

What you feeling?

Well, I’m feeling something

Come on, we’ve only just met

It’s nice tho
More than nice, I’m feeling wonderful

Some kind of biorhythms going on
Blending, molding, forming, conjoining souls
You’re quite the attractive, intelligent
& spirited woman

Enter waitress

Here are your drinks

Thank you


Hey Sonji


You know I’m the heavyweight champion


Have you seen me on TV

I have

How do I, well, come across, whaddya see

Jeesh, it’s more what I hear than anything
The Louisville lip in all his glory
All that shouting & all that hollering
But what a difference, the real man
Demure as any teenage debutante

Without my shouting & my hollering
Without making the public take notice
I’d be poor & I’d probably be stuck
In my dumb ol’ hometown washing windows
Or running an elevator, saying
Yes sir & no sir & knowing my place,
Instead I am one of the highest paid
Athletes in the whole world – think about that
A southern colour’d boy has gone & made
One million dollars

A million

Not yet, but I will do soon

That’s something

I’m gonna need someone to spend it on

Hah – so what was it like

What wawa what like

Liston – fighting the Big Bad Bear

I tell you what that man can fight like hell

Were you scar’d

When Liston gave me that scare
I will not lie, girl, I was terrified
One of the greatest fighters of all time
Wanted to hurt me & hurt me real bad
It frighten’d me knowing how hard he hit

Well, you beat him all the same

I sure did

So, Heavyweight Champion of the World
You’ve no security, do you feel safe

I do not need no bodyguard, nor guns
For Allah watches over me always
If I go strutting thro’ a stadium
With a hundred thousand people in it
Nobody could e’er prevent somebody
Putting a bullet in my bones & brains
But I cannot be worrying about
Such things like that, a man driven by fear
Will never love this precious life, enjoy
It’s better sweetmeats, or its plainest joys
So I trust in God to look after me
For Allah fixes the time for us all
When we shall join him in his paradise

Enter the Fan

Cassius Clay, is that you Cassius

Eh – my name is Muhammad Ali now

Oh I’m sorry, about that

No problem

I wanted to say, I’m from Mexico
You’ve made a lot of friends in our country
& you are a terrific champion

Thank you

Could I please have your autograph


Thank you so, so much

Tell Mexico
I love them too

I will, of course, thank you
Sorry to disturb

Exit the Fan

Money AND fame, huh

I’m starting to get used to it

Tell me
All of this business predicting the rounds
Are you some kind of, like necromancer
You know, vers’d in voodoo & all of that

Perhaps I’m a smidgeon oraculous
But I’m sure that one thing’s gonna happen

Yeah, what’s that

You gon’ fall in love with me

Is that right? well, why don’t we surf the swing
Let’s see if you can dance with a woman

Why, certainly, this band can really play

MA & Sonji start dancing

Band Leader
Well, well, well, eh, ladies & gentlemen
Looks like we have one of our favourite
Singers in tonight, I’m certainly sure
She’ll want to join for the next number
Hey Sonji, wanna come & sing a song

Oh no, brother, I’m busy

Band Leader
Just one song

You can sing

A little

Well, go do it
I wanna see



Alright then

Band Leader
She’s coming up – ladies & gentlemen
Miss Sonji Roi

What’s the song

Band Leader
Stand By Me

Sonji sings Stand by Me / MA joins in half way thro /at the end of the song she rejoins MA & they kiss

Baby I wanna marry you

You what

Will you be my wife

We’ve only just met

So… your gaze invites me to risk my faith
It burns with an intoxical madness
I know already, you’re already mine
Soul mates forever, two deep hearts entwin’d,
I am completely encraz’d by your style
& in the radiant depths of thine eyes
Being beguil’d by the allure of you
All time is forgotten, into my arms
Come slither thyself, let me kiss those lips

They kiss

You’re not so bad yourself, y’know, baby,
You’re like a mountain under thrilling stars

Your pearls to me are celestial spheres
Your mascara make your eyes like portals
Unto the universe, your scarlet lips
Your slampadato skin, your primrose scent
Your pert & pointed Memphisean peaks
Your cresset breath’s mulciber symphony
Send signals to my secret secret soul
To share a permanent understanding
To interlace our sighs, & shed the tears
Of love, such substance as the angels weep
Back when there was no us there was no light
But now I am bedazzl’d by the truth
I’m totally in love & lust with you
& set my pulse connecting all the dots
My girl, with pure-hearted peroration
Come Claim this heart, it’s yours, & be my wife

Hah – why don’t we get to know each other
A little better first, come on, let’s go

But to – I have no leonera near

My place is close by

Alright, let’s go there…
You know you’ll have to become a Muslim

What, you’re gonna shazam me just like that

I think I just have, right

You’re outrageous

But let’s get out of here

I cannot wait

Sonji leads MA out of the nightclub

Scene 26

Gary, Indiana / an Islamic wedding / MA & Sonji are exchanging vows in front of an imam / in the background is Herbert Muhammad, Bundini Brown & members of the Nation of Islam

Do you accept

Qubool, qubool, qubool

Do you accept

Qubool, qubool, qubool

Now under the sacred gaze of Allah
The wedding contract shall be sign’d Sonji…
& now your husband, Muhammad Ali
& now the two male witnesses will sign

Bundini Brown & Herbert Muhammad sign the contract

When we enstudy the Holy Qu’ran
It declares the happiness of spouses
Wearing each other’s finely spun garment,
Is a precious blessing, fairly receiv’d
From Allah himself; comfort, compassion,
Mercy, love – perfect traits to help us grow,
In our faith and love as well for Allah,
In whose dictates descry’d to the Prophet
We learn that every soul will have its match,
& hear, “it is He who created you
From one soul and created from it its mate
That they both might dwell in security
& so, as man & wife, as now you are
Respect the honour of these sacred bands
Twyx man & woman that have been proscribed
By Allah since the start of humankind
&, therefore, treat marriage as faithful act
Of worship, and treat the relationship
With our spouses with the utmost respect
Peace be upon you both, with the mercy
& blessings of Allah, as man & wife

MA & Sonji kiss

27: Malcom X Assasinated

Harlem / the Audubon Ballroom / Peter Goldman is on the podium speaking / Malcolm X is stood behind him

Peter Goldman
As when a captain gets a sudden urge
To swing his ship astern & elsewhere steer
For finer waters & more fertile lands
So has brave Malcolm, I give you a man
That would give his up life for his people
I’ll pass you over & in earnest pray
That you will listen & might understand
& so, tell me, how do you feel

Fine sir

Peter Goldman
& who do you wanna hear

Malcolm X

Peter Goldman
Let’s bring on our minister, Malcolm X
Let’s bring him on with a round of applause

Malcolm X, with a dark suit and a new beard, takes to the podium

Malcolm X
As-Salamu Alaikum Brothers, sisters, family members, friends,
I want to speak of the glorious time
When I unto the Middle East did go
On pilgrimage, accomplishing the Hajj,
In Mecca, where, epiphanizing true,
I discover’d an authentic Islam
Of universal brotherhood, respect,
Circumambulating the huge Ka’aba
Seven times, a crowd of chanting pilgrims;
Both sexes, every size, shape & color,
All ages blended in one happy knot,
No more will I paint white people evil
Tho evil is among them, not them all,
I have seen the pure possibility
Of integration, Islam holds the key
& not the sectish sliver that I’ve preach’d
Under the auspices of Elijah
Muhammad, no! the Whites are not devils
Some are among the planet’s most sincere;
In my thirty-nine years upon this earth,
Stood in the Holy City of Mecca,
Was the first time I’d ever truly been
Before the Omniscient Creator
& felt a human being drawn complete
& now have understood how true Islam
Is the one religion that erases
The racial problem from society
It is America that is evil
& not the Whites responding to its ways
Which have evolv’d in dross deformities

There is a disturbance in the crowd, two men began to tussle, one shouting, “get your hands out of my pocket – near the back, a man strikes a match, lights a strip of photographic film protruding from a rolled-up sock, and heaved it underhand. The mock smoke bomb fizzled to the floor, releasing noxious smoke, and a woman screams. Two security men moved toward the disturbance, leaving their posts in front of the stage.

Malcolm X
Now, now, brothers break it up, please, brothers,
Hold it, hold it, hold it,

William Bradley charges the stage in a slight crouch from the fourth row

Peter Goldman
He’s got a gun

Malcolm X is blasted by a sawn-off shotgun, lifting him backward off his feet and over a pair of wooden chairs. / bedlam erupts / Malcolm’s wife dives beneath some chairs, shielding her children and shouting, “my husband, they are killing my husband”/ Thomas Hayer, a twenty-two-year-old member of the Newark Mosque, fired insurance rounds at the prostrate Malcolm, hitting him in his left ankle. Leon Davis, another young member, shot two 9-mm rounds, hitting his thighs / more chaos / Bradley, the shotgun man, dropped his warm weapon, wrapped in a green suit jacket, on the stage. Davis also dropped his weapon, to avoid being recognized. Hayer, the least experienced assassin, held onto his pistol, giving away his role in the plot. The shooters maintained a military crouch and headed for the rear exit, two hundred feet away Goodman rushes to Malcolm, the hand of whose twisted right arm grasped at his belt in a defiant street pose / Malcolm’s mouth was like he was slightly gasping / he rips open Malcolm’s shirt and finds the holes in his chest / Malcolm still has a pulse, though it was weak and rapid

Peter Goldman
There’s a pulse, he’s alive, he’s still alive

Bystander 1
But he’s not breathing,

Bystander 2
He needs oxygen
Else he’ll die

Peter Goldman
I’ll do it give me some space
Oh my god, Malcolm come on brother, breathe

Goodman begins giving Malcolm mouth-to-mouth / Tiny air bubbles of blood begin to rise and fall over the shotgun holes in Malcolm’s chest / a gurgling sound starts deep in Malcolm’s throat, then a violent rush of air came from his lips: “uuuuuUhhh . . . AAAAAhhhhh ! & dies / Goodman shakes his head

28: Foreman

Houston / a man is hidden in the darkness – enter George Foreman in a rush, wearing body revealing clothes – he hides / enter police looking for him / they give up & move on – Foreman slips out again cover’d in mud & slop – he is approach’d by Jack

Hey kid… I said hey kid

George Foreman
Whaddaya want

Why are you running away from the cops

George Foreman
That’s none of your business

You in trouble

George Foreman
I might have been if they’d gone & caught me

This is no way to carry on, young man,
The future shines brighter life for thee
For you’ve got something of the cormorant;
Tall, conspicuous, thine aura deep-hued
Reveals a most meaningful destiny

George Foreman
Well, I’d certainly like to know it’s course,
I would love to make something of my life
But, then, I don’t know what I’m gonna do
Life’s hard in Houston, & I’m not so smart

You like sports?

George Foreman
Yeah, I love football, Jim Brown
He’s my hero

You ever tried boxing

George Foreman


George Foreman
Can’t say I’ve thought about it

I think you have got the perfect physique
You could be good I think, no, you’d be great
Listen kid, I’ve a friend call’d Dick Sadler
He runs a gym out in California

George Foreman

Place call’d Pleasington
He counsels for Lyndon Johnson’s Jobs Corps
You know, educates disadvantag’d kids,
But also coaches boxing

George Foreman
What of it

Well, if you get yourself on the program
You can learn carpentry, & stuff like that
But also beef up on your boxing skills

George Foreman

Yes, brother, trust me, you’ve got it
There’s something of the Herakles in thee
A warrior, fluidity & light,
Able not to feel both pain & hunger
It’s time to embrace the fighter within
Change long internaliz’d paths of routine
Convince yourself that something better waits
When far-fetch’d schemes, attainable, now spring
Swelling with invulnerable intent
Extraordinary facets of ourselves
Surface from being heavily guarded
Releas’d from the totality of themselves
Out of stupendous hardships power stor’d
To claw from spirit & in fights employ
Where truth reveals itself intensified
The average will seek adoration
Then certainty & appreciation
In the judgemental eyes of onlookers
The warrior seeks the impeccable
In his own eyes & calls that humbleness
The average hook’d to the average
The warrior’s hook’d to infinity
& so, if you’ll become a warrior,
Into this new life you can never bring
Your old & ugly ways, & call your goal
Perfection, now, & your guide it’s desire
To overcome the near invincible
Laxness of the Human Condition, now,
A paragon of discipline ye’ll be
Shedding all luxurious compulsions
Ridding oneself of dwelling on oneself
Deaf & blind to everything but battle
& for that battle training, knowledge comes
Like specks of gold dust sticking to our wings
Acquiring such knowledge is like taking
A shower of gold dust, when presences
Unknown once reveal’d unto our actions
Therefore, young man, are you a warrior?

George Foreman
I might be, sounds good, yeah, let’s do it, man

Well come on, then, lets meet your parents
Where do they live

George Foreman
well, I don’t see my daddy anymore
It’s just my mom, she’s raising four of us
We’re living out there in the tough Fifth Ward
The Evergreen Negro Cemetery
Goes crumbling below my bedroom window
In which are buried the brave brown bones
Of Buffalo Soldiers, mighty hearted
Fighting for America in its wars
After the great release of freedom won
By the shaking the Confederacy free
& let the slaves fall out like figs & fruits
Since eighteen sixty six, Fort Leavenworth,
The Ninth & Tenth Cavalry; Twenty-Fourth,
Twenty-Fifth & Thirty-Eighth Infantry
Have fought for Uncle Sam, the Stars & Stripes,
& for us all who live in this proud land
I’d like to be like them, I guess, sometimes
I trace their names in stone & wonder how
They died in battle, sometimes

Well, let’s make
The best Buffalo Soldier out of you
But once a man embarks upon the path
That treads the warrior, he must embrace
The ordinary life he used to lead
Forever must be left behind, ya dig?

George Foreman
I dig

& are you willing

George Foreman
I am

Come on, let’s go & talk with your mama

Exit Jack & George Foreman

GOTR 1: Scenes 29-33

Recalling Muhammad Ali's Vietnam War Resistance in the Age of Trump | The  New Yorker

Scene 29

Sonja is getting ready for a night out singing her song ‘Here I am Here I Stay,’ enter Muhammad Ali & Herbert Muhammad

What are up to, girl

I’m going out

Looking like that

But you are my wife
A Moslem wife, you look like a tramp

Say what

Your pearls are looking like bags of white puss
Mascara’d eyes like pits of the abyss
Your lipstick’d mouth looks like it’s just bleeding
Your perfume’s got the stench of common whores

I can’t believe you’re saying this, baby

The Nation of Islam does not approve
Of such a flamboyant prostitution

I’m not married to the Nation, am I
I’m married to my husband

Herbert’s right
Go get chang’d

No, my sister’s married soon
& tonight’s her bachelorette party
I can’t miss that

You can still go, but dress’d

What, the boring garb
You make me wear to mosque, I’ve sacrific’d
So much for you, my love, but not my soul
I like to sometimes make myself pretty
For shining outside makes me shine inside

You shine the white man’s light in that attire

Herbert Muhammad, I have told you once
Imperious pleasance does not please me
Please do not interfere in my marriage
In the same & foul fashion that you feast
Oon my husband’s finances, you’re nothing
But a craze-ass’d, radical splinter group
Preaching segregation, just when the blacks
Are winning integration

Enough! Stop!
Never address the Messenger’s Son
In such unruly fashion, hold your tongue
& listen to your husband, you will not
Go out, dressing like that, dress’d like a tart

Hell no – I’m off to my sister’s party
& I aint no bird in a gilded cage
I’m spreading wings & flying out tonight
& my head-dress & veil aint won’t drag my tail
There aint nothing you can do about it
I aint afraid of the Messenger’s Son
Or what you did to Malcolm X, not me
I’m going out, & I’ll be back by twelve
& babe, I’ll wake you up when I return

Exit Sonji

There is something you can do about it
In the face of a woman’s defiance
Donning adultery-seeking fashions
A husband, with the blessing of Allah,
Might divorce his wife

What, divorce Sonji

It might be for the best

But I love her

Mortal love is nothing next to the love
A Muslim should give Allah, nor is she
A Muslim either, what she is is this
An embarrassment to you in all ways
To us & to the Nation, doesn’t fit
& despite being fully inducted
Into our tenets & beliefs, she fails
To follow them, a fraudulence which proves
Your marriage is a sham, then let it be
Anull’d, my friend, with noble conscience firm

{breathing deeply}
So be it

Good, you will not regret it

MA is left deep in thought / enter Bundini Brown

Bundini Brown
Hey, man, why the long face

Oh it’s nothing

Bundini Brown
Well, whatever it is, compar’d to this
Things have just got a heap of crap worse

Why, what does it say

Bundini Brown
You’ve been drafted


Bundini Brown

Say what

Bundini Brown
It’s the army
You’ve been call’d up to fight out in Asia

Lemme see that… no way, aint doing it

So many black men are dying in pain
For nothing but a White Man’s conquerings

The phone starts ringing – Bundini answers

How can they do this to me, my career
Is zipping to its zenith, I can’t go
To Asia, I am the world’s champion
The pinnacle of my sports existence

Bundini Brown
Hey, Muhammad, it’s Channel 4 news
They wanna ask you something

Give it here
Yeah… I just receiv’d it… what do I think
I don’t know nothing about Vietnam
War Hawk or Peace Dove, none of that matters
I got no quarrel with the Vietcong
No Vietcong ever call’d me nigger
{hangs up}

Bundini Brown
What did you just say

What my heart dictates

You’ve just gone & set a spark to something

Better some social explosion in the States
Than frag grenade in some dark paddy field

Bundini Brown
Brother, please, remember Elvis Presley
A spot in army did him no harm
You could entertain the troops or something
Boxing exhibitions at the bases

But Elvis was not Muslim, war to whom
Is a savage attack upon godhead
I’ll not be murdering another man
& cannot support anyone who kills
Innocent folk napalming villages
This hypocritic nation makes me sick
Like World War Two, just twenty years ago,
Fighting a racist enemy abroad
While segregating its own brave soldiers
No, no, I want to serve Humanity
Not slay a single sharer of the smile
Which marks us out as Humans

Bundini Brown
Alright, man

Phone rings again

Yeah – this is he, me, yeah I’ve heard the news…
Why should me & other so-called negros
Travel ten thousand miles to shoot bullets
& drop bombs on other brown-skinn’d people
Who have done nothing at all against us
It is an unjust & unholy war…
Keep on asking me, no matter how long
On the Vietnam War I’ll sing my song
I aint got no quarrel with the Vietcong
{Hangs up}
Let’s get out of here, don’t wanna answer
The phone every minute
{phone rings}
See what I mean

Let’s get to the office, it’s more secure
I think there’s gonna be a jackal pack
Of shrieking reportage on this story

Yes brother, lets go

Alright my brother

Bundini Brown
Let’s get out of here

Exit Herbert, Bundini & MA

Scene 30

Louisville / a news crew is interviewing white people

Cassandra Kelly
Hello, this is Cassandra Kelly
For KY News, Louisville, Kentucky
It seems that our Heavyweight Champion
Cassius Clay, is set to dodge the draft
So we thought we’d head down to Mo’s Diner
In the heart of the city, get the gist
Of what the good people of Kentucky
Think about his stance, so Mo, hi


Cassandra Kelly
Can you tell us what you’re thinking

Well, ehm
Cassius Clay, if you can hear me now,
You’re naught but a cowardly, turncoat rat
& if I’d a bomb I’d blow you to hell

Cassandra Kelly
Alright then, now this is Peter Sumner
What are your thoughts upon Cassius Clay

Peter Sumner
Cassius Clay aint better than my son
Who’s out there fighting now with my blessing
& fighting for America, I’m proud
To say he’s mine, some of his friends
Want to come talk to you, for thine own good
Discrediting all good Kentuckians
Has not sat well in Louisville, no way

Cassandra Kelly
Thank you Peter – & Russel Smith, right

Russel Smith

Cassandra Kelly
Your reaction

Russel Smith
He’s just a fanatic
Someone should stiff a fist in his big mouth
Curtailing all the bullcrap from his cult
The whole thing’s as sorry a spectacle
As those unwash’d punks who demonstrate
Against the war, all that crap he’s saying
About being Moslem, he shouldn’t fight,
Because of his religion is nonsense
When America’s honour is at stake
The First Amendment should never be used
They should force him in the army today
& once sign’d up just line him by a wall
& shoot him on the spot for cowardice

Cassandra Kelly
thank you xxx
Well, hello, Deputy Sheriff Murphy
What are your thoughts upon the current curve

DP Murphy
Can I talk directly to the cam’ra

Cassandra Kelly
Go ahead

DP Murphy
Cassius Clay, listen
You gone too far, now, with all them Muslims,
Who round you swarm, with all those dagos too,
Who’ve turn’d you to a brainwash puppet boy
I think it’s time you spent five years in jail
Slamming shut the door on your treachery
America’s been very good to you
& made you rich, so where is your respect
You’re nothijg but a traitor to your land

Cassandra Kelly
Thank you very much, Deputy Sherriff
Now this is Teri Welsh, a journalist
For the local Louisville Courier

Teri Welsh
Hello there

Cassandra Kelly
So, tell us what you think

Teri Welsh
Well, I’m afraid, Cassius Clay’s a fool
Lacks the dignity of a champion
Insulting every mother’s son who serves
In Vietnam – he is a sick young man
That should not be at all example held
Up to the impressionable youngsters
Of this country, this hard-headed bigot
This punk, this outcast, just churns my stomach

Cassandra Kelly
& finally, Mayor Michael Robert

Mayor Robert
It is inter’sting albeit depressing
To note that the illustrious Cassius
Clay is declaring his craz’d intentions
To dodge the draft, but still expects to sell
Tickets for his pugilistic displays
He might look on himself as the greatest
But history, I’m sure, will differ now

Cassandra Kelly
So there we have it, & unanimous
Tomorrow being the day of the draft
If you are watching this Cassius Clay
Kentucky is watching, do the right thing
& make us once more proud of thee again

Scene 31

Houston, Texas / Ceremony Rooms of the Army base / MA is stood there with several other men – Lieutenant Clarence Hartman is in charge

Lieutenant Clarence Hartman
You are all about to be inducted
Into the noble forces of this land
The United States of America
In the army, the navy, the air force
Or marine corps, as indicated
By whichever the serve to thee announc’d
So, once your name, do as follows
You will take one step forward as your name
& service are called, & such step constitutes
Your inductions into the armed forces
Nicholas Stowell, Christopher Wareing
Kristian Sutherland, Andrew Buggey
Cassius Marcellus Clay… did you hear me
Cassius Marcellus Clay… motionless
Means I am oblig’d, now, to inform you
By refusing your lawful induction
You will be committing a felony
Neath the Universal Military
Training & Service Act, punishable
By up to 5 years of imprisonment
& a ten thousand dollar fine…

I’m aware
Of the consequences, sir

Lieutenant Clarence Hartman
Marcellus Clay… I will say it once more,
Cassius Marcellus Clay, will you step forth

No sir

Lieutenant Clarence Hartman
Well, you will now be arrested
The authorities will need a statement
Writing down your reasons for refusal
Get him out of here

Two navy officers take MA away

Lieutenant Clarence Hartman
God damn draft dodgers
Unpatriotic cankers to the cause
That is our wonderful nation, so men
Welcome all to the US arm’d forces

Lieutenant Clarence Hartman salutes

Scene 32

Houston / the media room at the Army Base / Lieutenant Clarence Hartman steps out in front of the press

Lieutenant Clarence Hartman
Ladies & Gentlemen, good morning
Cassius Clay has just been inducted
Into the United States Army – wait
That is the wrong one – sorry about that
Ladies & gentlemen, Cassius Clay
Has just now refused to be inducted
Into the United States armed forces
Notification of his refusal
Will be made to the US attorney,
The state director of the Selective
Service system, & the local selective
Service Board for whatever admonishment
They’ll deem appropriate – further questions
Regarding the status of Clay should be
Directed to the Selective Service
I also understand that Clay himself
A statement has prepared, to be read out
Mr Brown

Bundini Brown
Why, thanking you lieutenant
So, ladies & gentlemen, here it is
{opening a piece of paper}
While America is getting richer
Materialistically, it is
Getting much poorer spiritually
The man that you call Cassius, whom I
Know by the name of Muhammad Ali
Who has refus’d exemption on the grounds
He’s a minister of the religion
Of Islam, as is my right, this coutry
Was born out of religious empathy
& the sweetening of lips with prayers
A veritable catalogue of faith
E’er since the Pilgrim Fathers found succour
Upon these fertile shores, anchor dropping
By the tip of Cape Cod, to worship God
In peace, as Massachusetts Puritans
Declar’d this a Promis’d Land, the world
Heard this, two ships, the Dove, the Ark, soon swept
Across the heaving ocean, baring west
America’s first Catholics, to find
A tolerance the Old World brutaliz’d,
Then came o’er the Quakers & the Shakers
While in New York the land’s first synagogue
Dedicated was, the Shearith Israel,
Now in the wake of great revelations
Did Joseph Smith publish his famous tome,
“The Book of Mormon,” whose fair followers
& all their gospel goosebumps upp’d all sticks
For Utah, there Salt Lake City found,
To worship God in all His grace & glory,
Just as the slaves ripp’d from Africa roots
& planted on desperate plantations
Whom Islam knew, tho’ the whip abhorrent
Did forcibly divert their prayers to Christ
They worship’d Allah in secret corners
Until Emancipation reconven’d
The covenant they’d kept inside their hearts
A fire fann’d by Muslim immigrants
From Syria & Lebanon, Midwest
Likewise the Sikhs in pour’d from the Punjab
To Angel Island via old Hong Kong
Working hard on Californian farms
Or in the lumber mills of Bellingham,
On that same coast the Orient did land
Where Japanese, Kalmyks, Chinamen built
Fine Buddhist Temples, San Francisco knew
Eight by eighteen seventy-five, & all
Of these fine religious institutions
By the First Amendment are protected
That all Americans can love their God
Without fear of Old World persecution
& so to my friend, Muhammad Ali
Whose faith has dissallow’d him from fighting
An aggressive war, the precise teachings
Of the Holy Qu’ran declare that War
Should only ever be resorted to only
For the sake of God and not for the sake
Of any selfish motives, never for
Aggrandizement or for the advancement
Of any interests outwith Allah
Thus feeling this in every fibre
Muhammad Ali, who holds the title
Of Heavyweight Champion of the World
Understands he should at all times keep,
& carry out, courageous convictions
Not only in the ring, but every phase
Of life, & so today he has withstood
The call to become kitted out to kill
Strangers in strange & dangerous land
& does so with full realization
Of implications & consequences,
He says he has search’d his unsmirch’d conscience
Found he cannot be true to his beliefs
By accepting such a murderous call
& taking the decision to refuse
Is solely dependent upon Allah
As the final judge of any actions, & hopes
His rights will be constitutionally
Upheld, is confident justice will come,
For truth must eventually prevail

Journalist 1
Please, Bundini Brown

Bundini Brown

Can you tell us of his state of mind

Bundini Brown
No more questions, there are sev’ral copies
Of the statement in these envelopes here

Exit Bundini Brown

Journalist 2
There’s a fine line between fanaticism
& faith – Cassius clay turns my stomach
A superpatriot I’m nowhere near
But I feel that we as Americans
Must show a willingness to protect it
To serve in times of need, in this respect
The Heavyweight Champion of the World
Has been a complete & total disgrace
I’m gonna tell my readers to boycott
Any of his bouts, to leave vasty swathes
Of seats in the arenas, as tributes
To the boys whose hearses theatres pass

Journalist 1
To me that Clay is nothing but a punk
A sorry part of the Beatle Movement
Of long-hair’d boys & girls with unwash’d looks
& college kids dancing at secret proms
In heathen nudity, like the painters
Who copy soup tin labels, the surge of bums
Who work refuse, absorb the pamper’d style
About the cult of the bored young rebel

Enter Journalist 3

Journalist 3
Hey guys, guys

Journalist 1
What, what is it, Tommy

Journalist 3
Wheels are rolling on a serious road
The New York state athletic commission
Has just suspended Clay’s boxing license
& withdrawn him as their champion – AND
Other jurisdictions are promising
To follow suit, the title that he work’d
So hard for all his life’s about to fly
Out of his life, not by opponent’s fist
But national bureaucracy

Journalist 2
So what!
It’s everything that draft-dodger deserves

Journalust 3
Why are you not in the Nam

Journalist 2
I’m exempt

Journalist 3
Bureaucracy, hypocrisy ! bullshit!
Ali is the greatest patriot, since
Since, since Benedict Arnold

Exit Journalist 3

Journalist 2
What’s his beef

Journalist 1
Well, I’m thinking Cassius Clay’s status
Has just become our social battlefield
First symptom of the national breakdown
That’s roaring in fast like a tsu-na-mi

Journalist 3
Right, I’ve gotta get this to press

Journalist 1
Me too

Journalist 2
Got a car

Journalist 1

Journalist 1
Can I get a ride

Journalist 2
Where ya heading

Journalist 1
Outta Houston, its hot
Anywhere close to the airport will do

Journalist 2
I’ll drop you off there man, its fine

Journalist 1
Thank you

Exit journalists

Scene 33

Houston – US District Judge Ben Connaly is presiding of a court – Cassius Clay is in the dock

Judge Connaly
Cassius Clay you have been indicted
On a Federal charge for refusing
The draft – in ugly violation
Of the Selective Service Act
& tho you pled otherwise,
Stating your ministerial status
& claiming conscientious exemption
This jury’s found you guilty of the crime
You say you are the people’s champion
But strop about like some wired teenager
Spouting your unpatriotic remarks
Inviting your punitive correction
& so I’ll fine you ten thousand dollars
& sentence you the maximum allow’d
Which is five years of incarceration
Which I could will be suspended at once
If lawyers lodge immediate appeal
Pre-empting this the state shall confiscate
Your passport, & let you free, but on bond
While waiting for the verdict of appeals
But when they fails you’ll have go to jail –
Before all that, before you leave my court
Is there anything else you’d like to say

Well, I’ve been in jail for four hundred years
So why should I mind another few more
As for my faith, our constitution swears
Recognition for every religion
I feel my faith has been politciz’d
I do not pray five times each day
For politics, for this you punish me?
You want me to fight for America
But none of you will fight for me right here
For my beliefs, for my freedom of thought
& as a poet of this busted realm
This dull House of Hypocrisy, this dirge
Of death, denigration & division
This nation of nonsensical creatures
Habituating lofty decisions
When favours & bias bully the law
Again, today, such dogs have rear’d their heads
& snarl’d at me for what, that my conscience
Prevents me shooting my darker brothers
Or some poor hungry people in the mud
For big & powerful America
Who never call’d me nigger, or lynch’d me
Who never sent howling hounds to hunt me
Who never robb’d my nationality
Never rap’d my mother, kill’d my father
How can I shoot such people, its crazy

Judge Connaly
If your country say’s do it, you’ll do it
You will respect the law of this land

Respect, no, bounden, yes, sir, how can I
Respect or acquiesce to tyranny
When once the eight gun Gaspee ran aground
Near Providence & was brutally burnt
Or when Sam Adams led fifty brave men
Disguis’d as Indians, boarded the ships
Of Boston harbour, spilling the contents
Of English tea chests all round the harbour
& if I’m feeling Valley Forge frozen
From all my fields & farms, my stand is good
My conscience is correct,

Judge Connaly
Enough, enough!
Of this fatuous protest, Cassius Clay
Tear thine animadversion from my court
& with thy full complaisance know thy fate

I will, sir, but, with my head held highest
To bear this enormous business alone
{begins to leave}
But wait my name isn’t Cassius Clay
My name is, listen, Mu-ham-mad A-li


I don’t mind if I’ve made a new enemy
In my mind I must be the man I must be
No one’ll fake me
No one’ll make me sit on my stand
No-one’ll take me
No one’ll break this resistant man

em/c/f/weird c/no chord

I don’t mind if I’m seen as a man of hate
All my life civil rights have been made to wait
I hope it’s contagious
Condemn the ridiculousness of war
People are dying
But dying for nothing worth dying for

If you still adore me
Then do something for me
You don’t have to worry
I’ll never say sorry
With Allah me teacher
Dont fear for the future
As long as I’m in it
My song is with spirit

I don’t mind if I’ve made a new enemy
Cos in my mind is the only place I’ll be free
No one will command me
No one will command me to leave this land
& please understand me
I’m happy to be resistant man

If you still adore me
Then do something for me
You don’t have to worry
I’ll never say sorry
With Allah me teacher
Dont fear for the future
As long as I’m in it
My song is with spirit

GOTR 2: Scenes 1-5

Thomas Hoepker | Muhammad Ali flirts with Belinda Boyd in a ...

Scene 1

The Spirit of America
To be born an honest American
Is to win the first Lottery of life
Born with the freedom of this favour’d land
This land unvex’d from sea to shining sea
Conglomeration of capacious states
This buckaroo stew of fact & legend
Whose fruited beauty binds the union
Subjected only to one stronger force
That is liberty’s dream actualis’d
Forever held in perpetuity
A democratic beacon for the world
I, its spirit lantern personified
Whom, tho’ before thee stood, is yet elsewhere
A cosmic symphony of quantum leaps
I am a quarter billion people
All at once, & individuals all,
Amalgamation of national stocks
Fierce interminglings of humanity
Imposters, colonists & citizens
Werowance, Governor & President
I am a child in Tulsa, watching cartoons,
A chef in Tacoma making chili
& the New York Knicks in seventy-three
I am casinos with fake pyramids
& an original Andy Warhol00
I am the Pulitzer prize for poets
& Leopold Stokowski’s orchestra
Demystifying Mozart for us all
I am Devils festering on Death Row,
Angels evangelizing Heaven’s girth
& Florida’s primaeval Corkscrew Swamp
A shadowland of dreams & secret scenes
Where nest the wood-ibises, wary-eyed,
& snowy egrets, nuptial plumage fam’d,
I am orphans of the Pony Express,
I am everything American –
I am… I am… I am… I am… I am…
Unending amber waves of August grain
From Navajoland, Four Corner Country,
Out to Astoria’s once lonely port
I am each seed, & the breeze that blows them,
I am a one trick pony sidewalk hustle
& the rooftop views of Philadelphia
I am one of Bukowski’s paperweights
& the kahuna Lanikaula
& the rimshot snap of a jazz key change
In a smokey Louisiana dive
As, in the nation’s heart, we fall on Hays
Kansas plains, America to the core
Orchards drop apples, cattle grows fatter
Water towers & grain elevators
Lookalike hamlets, where Buffalo Bill
Built his perilous, ephemeral Rome –
I am Emily Dicksonson’s writing desk
Mississippi’s fractal embouchure
Lusty banquets upon the green margins
Mexican children learning English verbs
& the Sierra Nevada, far seen
From a hundred miles away, jagged stroke
Of gleaming snow, suspe1nded in the sky
Where flock the birds over Pine Knot Cottage
Peering at Rooseveldt’s special aura
I am Dry Pong off one-sixty-seven
I am the weather-chisel’d monoliths
Of Cochise Head, Chiricahuan peak,
One thousand, nine hundred & thirteen feet
Of clear prominence, I am a snickers bar
I am Mount McKinley in Alaska
America’s highest peak, & I am
Wisconsin’s ‘Little Switzerland’, folk call
Swissconsin, I am the Mescal Mountains
‘Big Mescal Sitting There,’ hoar with Black Spruce
I’m the skipjacks dredging Chesapeake Bay
For oysters, I am the diamond seller
In the Willamette Building of Portland
Within Emerson’s book-clutter’d study
I am novels of huge weight & beauty
The serpentine loops of the Tennessee
The tilting contests on the Delaware
Arlington’s marble amphitheater
I am these things & many more besides
La Jolla shimmers under Soledad
As east of Monticello, forest tops
Swarm to horizon like a real sea
From Rabbit Hatch, Kentucky, to Key West
This land is your land, this land is our land,
In every place you look, your guts garner
Intuitions of highest creation
The lobstermen of Monhegan in Maine
Coyote Gulch’s mighty sphinx-like paws
The anchors wedg’d in beds by Cuttyhunk
As in the Sherwood Gardens, tulip bulbs,
Wisteria, Azalea, explode
In paparazzis of fragrant rainbows
I am Mark Twain’s childhood home on Hill Street
Hannibal, Missouri, Tom Sayers’ town
I am gleams of future, echoes of past
The yelp of a charging Confederate
Remember’d in a yodelling square dance
I am older still – the porcelain streak
Of New Mexico’s snow-white gypsum dunes –
Incredibly feathery, I am this
& I am my people, good people all,
Race of races, large generous spirits
Come join me together in a line dance
Or cheering pucks across the skiddy ice –
Discos & rodeos, let’s take a tour –
Oer Alkali Flats, swirling clouds of dust
Tiny, transparent, selenite crystals
Diffuse the sun, Colorado’s topland
A patch-quilt paradise of spruce fring’d lakes
Where forests whisper on piny ridges
I am the absolute truth of us all
I am, I am, I am the Alamo!
& the City of Angels, vitalis’d
By salty Pacific, San Francisco
Soundtrack’d by overt drones of the foghorn
I am Neshoba’s Grand Reunion
& the Winnebago of Wisconsin
I am Atlantic City in the sun
The immortal roar of Niagara Falls
& the stick people carv’d into smooth boulders
Strewn about the Canyonlands of Utah
I am cathedral dawn breaking over
The Great Smokies – bursting from saline brine
I am misshapen ghosts of Mono Lake
Porous columns of tufa coalesc’d
As savage towers, where the rock wrens nest…
I am… I am… I am… I am… I am…
I am America, & I am you.


The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.

& a rose in the field of lilies grows
To the summer & then she blooms

I’ll hold my roses up to the blue skies
& form my star-spangled banner
Hey america stand up & rise
For Old glory, gold & the glamour

I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that‘s purest sweetest
Has perfection on its lips.

& a love led on red white roses shines
Like a hyacinth bed in June

I’ll hold my roses up to the blue skies
& form my star-spangled banner
Hey america stand up & rise
For Old glory, gold & the glamour

Scene 2

Chicago / a bakery ran by the Nation of Islam / Belinda Boyd is behind the counter looking bored / enter Muhammad Ali with Hans the photographer

Ali – you’re back again

Well, Belinda
You’ve got some delicious tasting doughnuts

Who’s this

This is Hans

Hello Hans


He’s been taking some photographs of me

Do you mind if I shoot some more in here

Go ahead… where you from

From Germany

Germany, huh

Hans, this is Belinda

I can see now why we’ve been here three times
Already this fine day

The cakes are great
You want one


Miss Belinda, two cakes
These one’s here… two for now, two for later

No problem

Hey Hans, she’s beautiful huh

Shut up

She is very pretty, yes
With her welcoming frangipani smile
She jewels, blooming in her womanhood
As if we we had witness’d a Sunrise Dance
Up with the White Mountain Apache tribe
Godmothers co-ordinating the moves
Godfathers eagle feathers in each hand

Her mom & dad are Muslims, she’s been rais’d
In the religion, its customs observ’d
& so must make a perfect Muslim wife

Do you want your pies or what

You know Hans
I am gonna marry this girl one day
Aren’t I Belinda, tell him you love me

Stop it

Tell him the tale about when we met
Go on

Alright, well, ‘bout three years ago
Ali came into my High School, right here
In Chicago, the University
Of the Nation of Islam held the roof,
I was editor of the school paper
To interview this famous superstar
Was my responsibility, but find
Him kind, & humble

& beautiful, right?

Shut up, I’m speaking

No, it’s my turn, now
She had long-lock’d braids flowing down her back

He call’d me a ‘Little Indian Girl’

She started loving me there & then, right
& has never stopp’d


That’s what you said
Just two hours ago

You mistake my words
My love for you as a human being
Is not the same as my romantic love
Now please, take you pies & get out of here

But love, once started, like a river grows
As when the tiny Pemigewasset
Flows out of Franconian Profile Lake
Murmuring quietly to itself buy the base
Of stately & retire mountains
Receiving juices from moist, primitive woods
Then enters the Winnipesaukee stream
At Franklin, merging as the Merrimack
Turning the wheels of commerce as it flows
Thro’ Concord, then Manchester, to the sea

MA’s & Belinda’s heads start coming together in a look of love

I said, take you pies & get out of here

Only if you promise to marry me

That will be twenty-eight cents please, Ali

Twenty-eight cents, discount for a bulk buy

Twenty-eight cents

Marry me Belinda

Twenty-eight cents

Kiss me, please


They kiss


All around the world today
There’s people falling in love
Falling in love
They’ve made a match & lit the hay
now its burning for love
Its burning for love

I’ve been deep in you since that first moment when I saw your eyes
‘twas like a revelation of the special spirit kept inside
No-one could tell me diff’rent, for I knew my soul was shining true
Cos I was burning for love & my love was burning hot for you


There’s just one thing we got to say
That’s marry me, babe, yeah
Marry me babe
Is that a yes or no, OK
I’ll marry ya babe,
I’ll marry ya babe

I’ve been wanting you since that first moment when I saw your smile
‘twas like an understanding of the sacred forces of the Nile
Your waters flow thro me, a flood of love, an ecstasy of life
Yes, baby, marry me, complete my being, see me as your wife

I hope
We will be in love forever
I hope…

Scene ends with them married before an Imam – herbert & Bundini Brown are with them

Do you accept

Qubool, qubool, qubool

Do you accept

Qubool, qubool, qubool

Now under the sacred gaze of Allah
We’ll sign the wedding contract, Belinda…
& now your husband, Muhammad Ali
& now the two male witnesses will sign

Bundini Brown & Herbert Muhammad sign the contract

Scene 3

Oakland, California – Dick Sadler’s gym – George Foreman is warming up with Archie Moore, pounding a bag

Dick Sadler
That’s it boy, hit that bag, let fury flow
Yes pound & pound & pound away my boy
Let all of those aggressions devastate
Which gnaw at you like hungry galley rats
Cos, son, I’m gonna teach you how to punch
Assimilate tricks of longevity
You’re putting too much energy & strain
Into knocking out people, I shall teach
How to be a proper power puncher
So you get your man out of there in one
Or two rounds, you don’t wanna do fifteen
& we don’t want you to go ten, wasting
Your stamina, no, knock these guys out quick
Your body only has a small amount
Of fights within its noble flesh & bones
I’m gonna teach ya how to go out, to slide
Under punches, & whap, knock the guy out,
& then go on to the next guy – you’ll fight
A lot more fights in you career like that

Anter Archie Moore & Sonny Liston

Archie, how ya doin

Archie Moore
I’m doing good

Dick Sadler
Thanks for coming down my gymnasium
This is my boy, his name’s George Foreman

George Foreman

Archie Moore
I’m Archie Moore, & this, this is Sonny
Sonny Liston, you might have heard of him

George Foreman
Sure I have… Sonny

Sonny Liston
George… we gonna box?

Dick Sadler
So Sonny, don’t hold back with my boy
We think he’s got a chance, & might ascend
Right to the very top, but on the way
He’s gonna meet some mighty hard hitters
I want him hurting from the very start
For bad beginnings make a bad ending

Sonny Liston
I’ll just do what I always do, OK

Dick Sadler
Yeah, please, that’s why you’re here

Archie Moore
Let’s do this boys

Sonny Liston
Look in my eyes boy – see this piercing balls
In these you will throw your first punches
Intimidate your foe with frozen gaze
& like a basilisk you’ll feast on blood

George Foreman & Sonny Liston begin to spar / it gets a bit rough

Dick Sadler
Alright boys, break, break it up, break it up

George Foreman
Oh wow, man, you’re one fierce mother-fucker
Dangerous, even, no wonder you won
The heavyweight title, that was like war
& how the hell dya make me move backwards
Nobody has done that to me before

Sonny Liston
It’s my jab, boy, it keeps men dizzified
Right, you hit good too, but not your full strength
Why is that

Dick Sadler
We’re working on it Sonny

Archie Moore
His jab keeps missing too, his shots fly wild

Dick Sadler
Just keep on sparring, boys, let us study
The situations herein that arise
& then we’ll all discuss the avenues
Of wisdom open’d up to us this day
For wisdom is a collective being

They resume sparring

Archie Moore
He’s looking good, I quite agree with that
But what’s he got in here

Dick Sadler
The boy’s got heart

Archie Moore
But has he got the will

Dick Sadler
I think he does

Archie Moore
Great talent needs great will power as well

Dick Sadler

Scene 4

Philadelphia / Joe Frazier is sat in his car singing along to the radio – Muhammad Ali knocks on the window – Frazier gestures to Ali to get in the car – Enter Muhammad Ali carrying a suitcase

Hey, man, nice wheels

Front-drive Eldorado

The Queen o’ Cadillacs I heard ’em say

So where you wanna go

The bus station

Sure, that aint far, I’m happy to oblige

Look at us, undefeated champions
Of the whole world’s heavyweight division
All in one space & ne’er comin’ to blows

There’s a time & a place for such action
Mine was no ignoble supplantation
But honour says we’ll have to fight one day
I’ve even sent the Supreme Court letters
Begging them return your boxing license

I dig that, brother, your soul is shining
You got good days ahead, too, good money
Man, you got Jimmy Ellis coming up
That’s a million-dollar gate for sure
& I been whupping on Jimmy Ellis
Since I was baby boy, you’ll have it made
Some perfect paydays if you play it cool,
But big up the truth, man, if you fought me,
Would you be scared?

No, man, honest to God

You really wouldn’t be

No kinda way

I mean my fast left jab, the way I dance?

Noooooo! I’d get close to you, I’ve heard ’em talk
‘Bout how fast you is, moving away, but
You’ll find out how fast am I moving in.

Remember that time you came to see me
Fight Zora Folley? You wanted to learn
From me

We all ken a time o’ learning.

You believe you learnt enough to fight me?

Hell, yeah! Maybe even if I didn’t
Know enough, I would never turn you down –
For any man that turns another down
In his profession deem less than a man

What if a man is wise & bides his time
As when we watch’d delinquents stab their knives
Stood safely by on sidewalks, when us boys

I’m ready now to beat you fair & square

So, do you think you could decision me,
Or could even stop me before fifteen?

I’m sure I could stop you before fifteen.

You really do?

I really do. You see,
The kinda stuff I’m gonna put on you
Y’ain’t ever seen before, you understand?

It is impossible to dodge my jab

Those other cats let you have it your way
Just like they let me have it my way, dig?
They let you jump around the ring, and dance,
But I’d be getting me right dead on you
Every time you breathe you would be breathing
Right down on my head.

You never whip me
You be tired after six rounds of scuffling.

You be tired, too, trying to get away
Running and jabbing, ducking and dodging
You be tired, too.

I’m stronger than you think
{long pause}
I really believe you afraid of me

{long pause}
No, I sure ain’t – I wanna fight you bad

After I get myself into good shape,
I’m gonna dance and move like Sugar Ray.
S’impossible to whip me with your style

Well, I been up against real race horses
But I’ve whipp’d ’em all down to a slow trot.
Slammin’ sticky quicksand under bruis’d hooves.

I’ll admit you good, but I’m the fastest
Fist in the history of the whole world.

Moving away, maybe, but moving in,
No way, that’s me, I’m fastest moving in

But you don’t have no jab.

{aghast, almost stops car}
I don’t have a jab?

Keep driving! Watch it! No, you got no jab

But man, I’d tear your head off with a jab!
I’ve got a jab like a cool machine gun

I’ve seen you box, I fought Sonny Liston twice,
When he was at his best – Floyd Patterson
I beat, & all those title defenses
Like Mildenberger & Henry Cooper.

What you want me to do?

And I fought
Zora Folley & Cleveland Williams

Which one you want me to fight?

They all beat – but leaving out me & you
Who you think would be the best two to fight
The all-time title

Oh, like Joe Louis
& Jack Johnson

Damn straight, that’s who I think.

Yeah, man, y’know I hope you do get back.
But, man, you ain’t gonna do no whipping.
Not on me. I hope there’ll be no hard feelings
When I whip your ass
{Sees Ali about to cut in}
Brother let me talk!
Got no hard feelings with you anyplace
But when we in the ring, you on your own.

But you be on your ownsome lonesome, too

That’s the only way I know how to be.

If we can’t get along, let’s get it on.

We’ll get it on. Ain’t no doubt about that.
Once that bell rings, I see you psych ’em out
But me, I’m a different cut – I’m the
Greatest psych-artist ever put on earth
You’d outdo Houdini easier than me

For that smart remark, here’s my prediction
A perfect blueprint of the first five rounds

Who say you gonna last that –

Let me talk!
That night of the fight at the ticket booth,
I want the people to pick up the program,
See written out round-by-round what I’ll do
Like reading menus for an eight-course meal
Now the first round–Dong! See me coming out
But I ain’t gonna do nothing, no need
Just gonna show you off as an amateur,
I won’t throw one punch, I’m just gonna dance
& hold my guard down by my groovin’ hips
Gonna dance and move like I did with Floyd
Patterson, ‘what’s the matter son,’ I’ll say
As you don’t even get in one poor punch
But still, I’m gonna let you win that round.
Then, second round–Dong! I’m coming out fast,
I won’t be shooting nothing but left jabs.
Gonna hold my right hand down by my side
I won’t be needing it for no protection,
Nothing but left jabs, beautiful left jabs,
Here comes the jabs . . . then the third round–Dong!
I’m coming out, putting footwork together
Jabs together, right crosses together
& here come those unstoppable left hooks

Sounds like you done won the fight already–

I aint gonna miss a left jab that round
And after that fifth round–

{can’t stand it any longer}
Wait, wait–

You say what you say when I’m through

Go & muzzle up that Nostradamus

Lemme finish, man, don’t be getting scared,


Yeah. Now, in the fourth round–

It’s coming off!
This fight has got to come off!

The fourth round–
I’l tie you up & in your feetless fifth
I’m gonna right-cross you, talking to you,
Telling you the history of your life
Teaching you & inventing new punches

Now where I’m gonna be at all this time
Ya doing all these things, counting fingers?

You will be trying to throw everything
But none of those knick-knacks are gonna land

Hear me Clay, it ain’t gonna be that way.

You have a right to say that, as have I

The right to say what I would wanna say
& now I’m gonna tell you what I feel
Its gonna go, you gonna run about,
A few rounds, throw a few pansy punches
Then in the sixth I’m gonna knock you down

No! Listen! Don’t you try my predicting

I’m telling you

Be sure you back it up!
Your behind gonna be mine in round nine!
As soon as you start working the body,
I’m gonna shoot for your head–quick! WHIP! WHIP! WHIP!
You won’t get to my body ‘less you clinch

Outta twenty-six fights I ain’t never
Held on to a man

But brother listen
We know the truth by reason & by heart
Something tells me you & me got bizness
I hope you’re still the champ when I get back
Effluent with unstocking’d refluence
All this for saying no to killing folk
Pinn’d down by an imperial pastern
I aint no trigger-happy dilettante
I got no quarrel with the Vietcong
Those Vietcong don’t put no dogs on me
Nor robb’d me of my nationhood, hey look
It’s the station, pull over

Sure thing, man

Nice one brother, real nice, & thank-you, hey!


You don’t have any money to spare
I’m short for the ticket

Hah! Of course man

You’ll get it back with int’rest when we fight

Here’s some love brother

Thanks, you’re a good man,
No, good friend, farewell & be prosperous

Exit Muhammad Ali

Scene 5

Chicago – Elijah Muhammad’s office – he is watching the Joe Frazier vs Jimmy Ellis

Howard Cossel
A viscious left hook to Ellis’s chin
Ellis is looking in trouble again
Against those ropes, if he stays on the ropes
He will be totally devastated
There’s less than a minute left in round four
Frazier’s giving it to him completely
A right there, a left, & another right
& down goes Ellis, yes, down goes Ellis
He is beaten, Jimmy Ellis will try
To get up, but seems worn to a frazzle
He is a game, game young man, & he’s up
He’s up past the mandatory eight count
He’s up at nine, Frazier is very strong
There’s just seconds left, there’s Frazier again
With the left – Ellis is just standing there
Ohhhh – a tremendous left hook – he’s down
& his only redemption is the bell
But with tremendous courage he is up
The fight continues, he’s sat on his stool
& he’s talking to Angelo Dundee
This fight is over, praise to Joe Frazier
The Heavyweight Champion of the World
Elijah turns off the television, enter herbert Muhammad

Father! As-salamu alaikum

As-salamu alaikum… my boy

You seem troubl’d father

Yes, a little
It’s about our boxing associate

What about him

He’s become a burden

A burden

ElijahYes, being incapable
Of promulgating our faith thro’ strength
Of raising money or generating
Pleasant publicity for the Nation
He should have inverted into quiet
Last night Ali was on television
Watching him sent a swelling of disgust
Erecting dwelling of dark condition
In my starkly angering cognition

What did he say, I miss’d him on TV
Which show was it?

It was on ABC
Howard Cossel & his Wide World of Sports

Hmm – a big show – big audience

Well, there was a question ask’d by Cossel
On whether our boxing associate
Would to the ring return if offer’d right
Financial instigations – he agreed
In blatant contradiction of his stand
To draft-spurn on religious principle
It seems that Mammon has mightier hold
Oer his soul than miraculous Allah
Whose powers over the Heavens & Earth
Should be sufficient for everybody
No need had he to go back to fighting
The world knows America has wrong’d him
His cause is worldwide, he could have us’d his fame
To help us proselytise our perfect plans
We would have taken care of all his needs
But no, the White Man’s money, as I see
Is all he really cares for, one who crawls
On hands & knees, back bent as a beggar
Craving cashy handouts, just cannot be
Seen in the circle of our brotherhood

And what are we to do, then, father

I am in the ember days of my life
& with them quiet dreams of peaceful days
There can only be one resolution
He must be sanction’d from the brotherhood
Suspended from the nation & dismiss
All his aggressions from our peaceful midst

Suspend him, oh dear

Yes, it must be so

For how long

He is forbidden to speak
Visit, or be seen with any Muslim
Prohibited from all activity
Under the mantle of the NOI
Who shall know longer know his holy name
That to Allah has sadly been return’d
In shame, that he is now Cassius Clay
Hah, shame, yes, it is a baleful shame
I was fond of him, but, he has outgrown
All usefulness – time changes everything –
It’s never still – you will give him the news

Yes, father

& Herbert


Remind him
What happens when former associates
Offend their tongue by slandering our faith
Nobody wants another Malcolm X

Of course, father

Will you tell him today

I will do my very best to find him

Good – Allah ysalmak

Ma salama

Exit Herbert – Elijah is left in thought

GOTR 2: Scenes 6-11

Muhammad Ali in a Broadway Musical? It Happened - The New York Times

Scene 6

Las Vegas / the home of Sonny Liston / he is slump’d dead on his back over his bed – he is stiff & bloated with his pants half-way down his legs – his shoes & socks are by the bed – there is dried blood round his nose & on the bed the door goes – we hear his wife, Geraldine, move thro the house

Voice of Geraldine
Hey sonny, that’s me home, Sonny you home
Look at the state of this place, if you’re home
I aint gonna clean up this mess, ya hear
I’m your wife, not your cleaner, understand
& what is that smell, what’ve ya bin cooking

Enter Geraldine

Sonny, oh my god, Sonny, what happen’d
Wake up
{she touches him & realises he is dead}
Aah – oh my god – oh my goodness
{She calls police}
Sonny, what happen’d, my love, please, wake up
Hello – yes – its my husband – he, he’s dead
Yeah, dead – don’t know – I just found him – his skin
Is bubbling up with something – its gross
I aint seen him in a number of days
The Sahara Nevada Country Club
Yeah, in Vegas, yeah, I will stick around
Right, thank-you, goodbye… oh Sonny, my love
In you my love is lost forever now
But memories of when we were in love
& you the greatest boxer in the world
Across the pugilistic pantheon
Their common manhood has a kinsman lost
The memory of whom a man conveals
Savage as the blood-bogs of Korea
But darling, I knew your tender feelings
A lover & a fighter how thou wert
O best of me when I was in thy arms
A kiss for me sweet concert of thy charms

She kisses him

Scene 7

Miami, 5th Street Gym – Foreman is training with his trainer, Dick Sadler

Dick Sadler
Determination is the energy
That even great ambition needs as fuel
Nature soon devolves all idleness
Adversity we need for to improve
One’s status, even fate can be overcome
By sheer hard work, look at this great nation
Carv’d by the brave backwoodsmen, settl’d by
The lovely, long, salubrious picnic
Deep struck into the old Winchester West
By trains of white Conestoga wagons
Planting wakes of superabundant corn
That vitality of life, you can too
Achieve by the same qualities in work
When feeling you can’t take another step
That’s the moment you’re only half-way there

George Foreman! George Foreman! How ya diddling

George Foreman
{dropping his mitts with joy}
Cassius Clay!

That aint my name no more
That my slave name

George Foreman
Sorry man

My name
Is Muhammad Ali, address me right
Else gain no answer

Dick Sandler
Stop the national press!
Muhammad Ali is in Miami
For what do we owe this cockal honour

I was down in sunny Florida boys
& boxers are the only ones who dig
Truly what it’s like to be a boxer –
I must admit I miss the test of mein
The sweat of competition, & the ring
Times joyful lie in graves of memories
& I must live vicariously life
So George, I hear y’ave three fights coming up
As quick as my swift left-right-left, yeah?

George Foreman
You hear right – on the sixth I’ve Hazelton
Then fight Levi Forte on the sixteenth
With Gary Hobo Wiler two days aft

Busy boy

Dick Sandler
He needs to be kept busy
He get nerve-edged & spleenful if he aint
All that agression & testosterone
Needs to be legally releas’d, ya dig?

You aiming for Frazier

George Foreman
If he’s champ, yeah

He aint that good, I’ve seen the way he fights
When coming in – he’s weak on uppercuts
True quality don’t melt down from his blood
But listen George, let me show you something
{Foreman sits down, Ali begins to open the suitcase}
Just wait until to lay your gaze on this
If ever you world champion became
Status demands you’re reach’d by one of these

MA reveals a portable phone – Forman laughs

What’s so funny?

George Foreman
Thought I was gonna see
All the money in the world

You want it

George Foreman
Say what?

It’s yours for twelve hundred dollars

George Foreman
Brother, I aint got that kinda money

Dick Sandler
He will have one day, tho’

I’m sure he will
Just look at those arms gladitorial
I’m hearing good things ’bout that swing of yours
So speak me of yourself, George, where ya from
For we might have to range at blows one day

George Foreman
Well – I’m a Texan by birth & by girth
From the infamous, impov’rish’d Fifth Ward
The rotten, scabbing face of Houston’s filth
Got tangl’d up, too many scrapes a child
King of the Fights, Lord of all Bullies
To cheap read wine I turn’d the stolen change
Thro deviant, delinquent alchemie
My only aspiration was to win
The respect of killers by killing too
Until a flash of godly vision fair
Told me to do something, try out this life,
& when I pull’d the gloves on that first dawn
I knew ‘d won salvation in the ring

Salvation? S’that what they call a whuppin
In Houston?

Dick Sandler
My boy don’t take no whuppins
He blest with a catalogue of endowments

I see just that – to win Olympic gold
No mean feat – it was mine back in Sixty
Joe Frazier won the same in Sixty-four
& both of us went on to rule the world
Well – Joe Frazier’s only the fake champ –
But you dig my meaning, brother

George Foreman
I do
To be a classic in one’s own short age
Is tantamount to cosmic excellence

Dick Sandler
Your famous gift for scrying things to pass
As accurate as when you’ve pluck’d the rounds
From living aether’s dream – my man should leap
Like you & Frazier from the rostrum’s edge
Unto the pinnacle of punch & pain,
His power grows uncanny & too much
For the very best veteran fighters
His left returns like recurring pistons
Bigger, stronger, faster Sonny Liston,
With these fists he’s dismissing everyone
Atavic to Numidian giants
Who fought off Rome upon the desert’s fringe
He like a jivehound hiving with the drones
The unearthly scourge of his division
That is the richest it has ever been
Quarry, Ellis, Oscar Bonavena,
Macfoster, Shavers & george Chavala
All steamroll’d by the Houston Tornado

He don’t scare me – you aint no monster, George
But good luck anyway in all you box –
So, do you want the phone

George Foreman
The what

The phone
You can have it for nine hundred dollars

George Foreman
I gone told you I don’t have no money

Dick Sandler
He don’t be needing no portable phone

No sweat, I’m sorry to disturb you boys
But one day you will have so much money
You will be buying a portable phone
For everyone you know, think like Thorvald
Who sail’d to Skraeling Vinland in the spring
For fame & fortune, anyway, my friends,
I’ll be seeing you both along the line

George Foreman
Goodbye Muhammad – hey, wait a minute
I just wanted to say I love you man
As a young black, at times, I was asham’d
Of my colour, was asham’d of my hair
But you made me proud to be a black man

Black is beautiful brother, ne’er forget

Dick Sandler
I got a feeling the cat’s coming back
I can feel it & I do not like it
That alley cat Ali drives me crazy

George Foreman
Maybe so, but the division needs him
& if I’m ever gonna be the champ
Outright & undisputed to the world
I’ll have to fight that madman in the ring

Dick Sandler
You’ll have to down Joe Frazier first, so back
To work, come on son, let me see your jabs

George Foreman returns to training

Scene 8

Philadelphia / the street outside Joe Frazier’s gym, 2917 N. Broad Street / Enter Ali with a rowdy crowd including photographers & a film cameraman

I want Frazier, I want Frazier, I want
Frazier, I want Frazier, I want Frazier
Come out here Joe, come out here & fight me

We want Frazier, we want Frazier, we want
Frazier, we want –

Joe Frazier & Eddie Futch appear at the door

What’s all this commotion

Man, you aint no champion of the world
We end those signal farcicals today
Swerving your curveballs back to real truth

What are you doing in Philly, Ali
This aint your town, these cats aint your people

These cats are sick & tired of hearing lies,
Seeing false visages of victory
They want to see the proper champion
Forgo the inglorious arts of peace
& beat up on an ugly pretender

You what!

Lets go & fight in Fairbank Park

You’re crazy man

Well you’re a coward
The whole world knows you’re a flat-footed bull
Who moves like plowhorse thro’ rain-sodden mud

Hey sissy! You can’t hit, you got nothing

I want you Joe

I want you too

Well then,
At five o clock meet me up at Fairbank
{to the crowd}
I have a lot of speed
I have a lot of endurance
When I’m done with Joe Frazier
He’ll need more insurance
{Crowd laugh}
Joe Frazier too rebarbative to be
The representative of human might
He’d be better off donating his face
To the National Bureau of Wildlife

See what I do to your pretty face, Clay

Whaddaya call me?

Clay… Cassius Clay

Aint so, Cassius Clay is my slave name
I didn’t choose it, I didn’t want it
I am Muhammad Ali, a free name
It means Beloved of God, you dig God?
Joe, right?

Dont go bringin’ religion into this
This all about two men gettin’ it on

Lets get it on then, Joe, in Fairbank Park
At Five o Clock

I aint coming you fool
Your dearth of noblesse falls appalingly
I won’t be fighting no lunatic brawl

Dont be a coward, Joe, see you at five
{to crowd}
Can one of you lovely locals tell me
Where’s the flavourbest ice creams in Phily

Exit Muhammad Ali & the crowd

Gassius Cassius, Louisville Lip
Coming making you look bad in your crib
I thought he was your friend

Yeah, so did I

Funny way to show it

He don’t rile me
He nutting but a shunting stunt monkey
Engladdening the basest strains of men
When lenses land upon him he cries fake
But I guess such zero-adding antics
Won’t hurt a jot when come the paycheques, right?

You wanna fight that schmuck

He’s outta shape
& outta touch with all reality
For Mister Bigshot Sixties decades change

So back to work, focus on Joe Ellis

His time will come, I’ve seen it in my dreams

Eddie Futch & Joe Frazier re-enter the gym

Scene 9

Fairbank Park, Philadelphia / Muhammad Ali is surrounded by a large crowd chanting ‘Ali-Ali-Ali-Ali-Ali’

I’m Hercules struggling thro’ his labours
I’m D’Artagnan, Cyrano & El Cid
When I smile women swoon, grown men shudder
As I scowl, some would say I’m dangerous
Too dangerous, it seems, for Joe Frazier
& prettier by untold magnitudes
A better boxer obvious to all
Tho’ Uncle Tom got my championship
They refus’d to fight me at five o clock
Its now ten past, shows Frazier was afraid
Of a good whuppin in front of you all
Here I am, aint had a fight in three years
Carrying an extra twenty-five pounds
& Joe don’t show up, what kind of a champ
Is that

Crowd Member 1
Joe’s just a phoney

Crowd Member 2
Joe Frazier’s not worth a pitcher of piss

He sure aint
& now we’ve all seen he just a coward
I’ll have to find another way to scrub
The tainted glaze of someone’s else’s hands
Upon my sacred crown, but I’ll need dough
To pay this Supreme Court date coming up
So off I go to Broadway


To sing a heap of songs in Uncle Buck

Crowdmember 2
Right on

Crowdmember 3
Give us a song

You’ll have to wait
But, boy, am I the world’s greatest singer
&, as you know, the world’s greatest fighter
Both with my fists & for my human rights
My current mind’s principle assertion
Says bad things will happen if good people
Do nothing – who’ll pay the horsefly Dangeld
Of King George, not me – consider Britain
Before adventurous ‘Seventy Six’
Ancestral replicants of oppression
A clash of standards, manners & morals
I am a revolution in one man
Man’s dignity manifests in action
This licentious, pretentious lust for deaths
Of humans half a world away is naught
But scour scandal, spectacular in scope
A patriot’s a fool in every ag
Why should I lose my personality
Wearing some universal uniform
To travel ten thousand miles from my home
To drop bombs & bullets on brown people
In Vietnam, while back in Louisville
The negro’s treated worse than stray, street dog
No – I will not – I refuse – I say no
& if the laws of this hypocrite land
Send me to jail for exercising choice
I don’t mind, for my kind has been in jail
Four centuries already – my friends
Our history is inescapable
We’ll be remember’d in spite of ourselves
Fallen into a slanderpit of ink
I shall not add damnations to my fame
It’s great to be great, but it is greater
To be human, when, to be confronted
With mediocre minds preaching evil
& not oppose its machinations, is
To surrender up one’s humility,
To oppose it with violence is to
Enter one’s humanity, to oppose
It with non-violence is to enter
One’s divinity, that is where I’m at
When danger comes, then courage will follow
Possess’d by all our powers to endure
Accept the challenge & expend thy strength
With confidence, most people do not know
How brave they really are, resources deep
Of self-reliance simmer in the soul
In this society a rich man’s son
To college goes, the poor man goes to war
It’s all a sham, I will not go to war
I, determin’d as a runaway slave
Will not got to war- for that I’m condemn’d
Banded among the worst of criminals
But I’m a good boy, never been in jail
Never been to court – but I’m a rooster
Put him in the dark & he’ll never crow
But I’ve seen the light & now I’m crowing
When reason tallies with the heart – there’s truth
The power structure of this trying land
Wants to starve me from my stand, my passport
Has been taken, thus imprisoning me
Between oceans, preventing Muslims
Across the world, from kings to common men
Offering me shelter & safe repose
No – I must linger in this mad nation
Denied by birthright as the greatest man
Ever to don the gloves which win the world
You read about these things in those nations
Held in the grip of cruel dictators
& which Americans die in fighting
Festering thro masses of insensate mud
I will not join them dying without pride
I will not joining them while killing strangers
Peace prospers in the footpaths of freedom
& if I free remain, peace must follow
I speak for the interminable slaves
Who, diseas’d & despair’d, would never dare
To shun a White Man’s order, but I do
Black people now are buoyant at my nerv
At jeopardising every quart I got
To tell the truth, again, the truth is is
A million dollars & a Rolls Royce
Aint nothing next to one’s deep conviction
Boxers like me are not suppos’d to talk
But I aint that kind of Negro, I aint
No Uncle Tom like Joe ‘Turncoat’ Frazier
I’m greater than boxing, greater than those
Who from my title vacated me
Took from me something no-one honest could
Bitter, vituperative editors
Heaping execrations like some psy-op
Meant for diminishing my rightful might
The skunks of slander squirt their spittle juice
But never, ever, ever do forget
As prov’d to by his non-attendance
Joe Frazier aint the champ, the champ is me

The crowd goes crazy shouting ‘Ali! Ali!’

Scene 10

New York , George Abbott Theater / Muhammad Ali is playing the lead role in the musical, Buck White – he is stood before a crowd of black Americans


We came in chains!
We came in misery!
Now all our suffering, pains are part of history.
We came in chains!
You must remember that!
For that, and that alone explains exactly where we are at.
We came in chains!
We came as living loot!
So you could boast! Slave gotten gains.
We’ve grown beneath your boot!
We came in chains!
And how our blood was spilled!
Together with our sweat, it stains this nation we have built.
We came in chains!
We didn’t volunteer; and yet today the fact remains.
We’re still held captive here.
We came in chains!
Now, I say cut us lose! Though, that may go against your grain.
Still, there is no excuse!
We came in chains!
Now, who down there is gonna bear the cost.
Till every one of us regains, the freedom, we have lost.
We came in chains!
And now, your choice must be… to either blow out all my brains!
Or else, you’ll set me free!

We came in chains
Four hundred years
No justice, no freedom, no equality
Ninety Seventy – still in chains
Sociological chains
Economical chains
Look at these chains
Chains – chains – chains

Scene 11

Backstage at the same / Enter Muhammad Ali / he takes off his wig & beard & begins removing his make up / Enter Bundini Brown

Bundini Brown
As-salamu alaykum

As-salamu alaykoum

Bundini Brown
Brother, that was brilliant – your Buck White
Is all black – a mighty fine performance

I have to admit I was fantastic,
Forget Belafonte, Porgy & Bess
I captur’d the stage with straight charisma
But what use nautical genius
When navigators act the neophyte
& crewmen do whate’er they wanna do
We set sail for Hudson’s sunrise harbour
But ended up in Anchorage at dark
Lingering in miserable perdition

Bundini Brown
Curtail thy harshling cry, the way you shook
Nutritious apples from a fruitful tree
Completely blew my mind, the way you move
With innate dignity, the way you act
Without embarrassment, experience
Had ye not, but sincerity, humour
Erupted in abundance, dignified,
Stately, impressive, superlatives all!

I guess I act the actor all my life

Bundini Brown
& the singer too, Alleluia days
Shine on the golden groove you galvanised
With those scintillating vocals of yours
Which fell like medicine into mine ear

I did sing fine, the story aint that bad
But there was something lacking in the soup
For those who sing of serious problems
Will cheapen them with cliches well-meaning

Enter Angelo Dundee

Angelo Dundee
Muhammad Ali, that was terrible
Cuirassiers on pantomime horses
Carry more honour & look more noble

I know, I sense fair time to give it up
This febrile public stance, & do God’s work
The shape of beauty moves off from my life
Leaving discomfort shifting foot to foot

Angelo Dundee
I wouldn’t be so hasty in retreat
I took a call this morning that should sway
Your soul from all its awkward inertia

What was it

Angelo Dundee
You’re going to Atlanta


Angelo Dundee
They’ve agreed to let you fight

Bundini Brown
They gave him back his license?

Angelo Dundee
They sure have
The N Double A CP legal defense
Fil’d in federal court on your behalf
Claiming the denial of a ring license
Violated the fourteenth amendment
Stating that ninety people in New York
Were given a license to box, despite
Convictions of crimes including murder,
Rape, arm’d robbery, child molestation
Apparently the unreasonable
Discrimination they’ve aim’d against you,
Is, well, illegal, you are free to box
& Atlanta’s got in first

I love that state

Angelo Dundee
The drive of Leroy Johnson should we thank
An attorney, State Senator – & black!

He’s the state senator, right, the black man

Angelo Dundee

I heard him on TeeVee, he guts up well

He pull’d a few strings & twang’d a few bows
& BOOM! We’ll be trippin’ to Atlanta

Salt that proposal with magical thinking
Didn’t I tell you I loved Atlanta

Bundini Brown
You did, brother, you did

My freedom’s freed
I feel a tiger at an open cage
No longer feel the knee upon my neck
I might not have my title, but my right
To fight, first step upon that vital road
Which bridges each misprision, & vaults
Each dreadful river of racialism
& when the Supreme Justices admit
I love my god like he or she loves theirs
They’ll understand my conscience & my cause
For how can they true champions supress
They let me back on my terms, I denied
Nothing I believe in, I’m still the same
Everything… so boss, whomah gonna fight!

Angelo Dundee
The Great White Hope


Angelo Dundee
Jerry Quarry

& then I’ll whup Joe Frazier

Angelo Dundee
Sure you will

I’ll drop him like Jack Johnson dropp’d Jeffries

Angelo Dundee
Cos you’re the greatest

I am the greatest!

Bundini Brown
You are the greatest

Angelo Dundee
Yes, boy, you are still
That sleek & tawny beautiful gazelle
That dazzl’d broad Johansson with your jabs

Hey come on sucka, show me what you got
I sang to him that special second round

Bundini Brown
You sure did make him angry, made him swing
That sledgehammer right – it miss’d by three feet

No boxer lives can touch my pretty face
Two left jabs, a rapid right cross, a hook
Was all it took to stun poor Ingemar

Angelo Dundee
Poor fool – now come on, lets get outta here

But what about the after show party

Angelo Dundee
You ain’t going, we’ve got running first thing
A nice ten-miler made to remind ya
To rise upon the isles of Herakles
Is gonna take an ocean’s worth of sweat

Hah – let me catch you down in the foyer

Bundini Brown
Alright brother

Angelo Dundee
Don’t forget your make-up

{wiping off his make-up}
I ain’t no clown with make-up on my face
I am Muhammad Ali, Heavyweight
Champion of the world, despite the hate
I fight for my god, my people, my fame
Remember me forever as the flame
That burns as bright as starlight in the skies
Woven in sacred sable tapestries
In motion of no less celerity
Than that of thought!

GOTR 2: Scenes 12-16

Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier fight: Fight of Century still a big deal

Scene 12

Washington DC, the Supreme Court is in session

Justice Potter Stewart
As whe the Gods gatherd by Mout Ida
Playing fate flutes for brave Patrocolus
Intra vires, decision must be made
This august body has the given trust
Of this happy nation’s judiciary
Knowing the right decision must be made
For we are like the helmsman of a boat
That steers the ship of state thro reefs & rocks
That random life oft places in the stream,
Therefore, ergo, let us now ruminate
In dialogue socratic, who is first?

Justice Potter Stewart
I’ll speak if this fair council dost agree

Justice William Brennan
I have no qualms

Justice John Marshall Harlan
Nor I

Justice William Douglas
Speak, Potter, speak
&, sirs, do not talk with trepidation
Be accurate as the Confucion Shen Tsung
We are inheritors of tradition
Thro’ fine accomplishments & dire mistakes
We must always protect the living law
Which is the accumulated labour
Of successive generations, & is
The adamantine birthright of new babes

Justice Potter Stewart
Let us look, now, at the main reason why
The appellant was convicted at first
He made a stand against the induction
Among the young men meant for Vietnam
In the draft of nineteen sixty seven
Back then the war was fresh, the sentiment
Of the public, let us say, appetite,
For war was healthy, a tad jingoistic
& the appellant was a butterfly
Shouting into a hurricane, but now
Dramatic transformations prosper thro’
The DNA of this evolving nation
Which weary grows of the ritual count
Of body-bags whipping out of Saigon
It seems the appellant’s on the right side
Of history after all, I’ll respect
His courage in convictions, yes, for me,
His original sentence must be quash’d

Justice Warren Burger
I disagree wholeheartedly with that
Back in sixty-six his case consisted
Of a conscientious objection
Based upon him being Islamic
But every Muslim nation in the world
Has Muslim soldiers, whichever the way
Blows, today, popular abrogation
The faith of the appellant can’t uphold
His cowardisic stance, sentence must stand.

Justice John Marshall Harlan
Perhaps, Justice Burger, you’re mistaken
If the appellant is to qualify
For conscientious objector status
Three pillars must stand firm beneath your case
To be oppos’d to war in any form
That opposition bas’d upon belief
& is sincerely held, so let us look
Not at the broader wheel of religion
But of individual spokes instead,
So, just as Christianity divides
In aspects, the Episcopalian
The Baptist, the Mormon, etcetera,
So, Islam, too, has Sunni & Shi-ite
The Ahmadiyya mosques of Qadian
& then, of course, the Nation of Islam
Here in America, now, I’ve studied
The sermons of their leader, Elijah
Muhammad his name, & they clearly state
An aversion to war in all its forms

Justice William Douglas
Where did you obtain these vital sermons

Justice John Marshall Harlan
I ask’d one of my clerks to acquire me
Background material on their doctrine
That are fully in the public domain
& after the severest perusal
I have to agree with Justice Stewart
& let us quash the lawless Albatross
Hung round the neck of young Cassius Clay
That he made his stand bas’d on the tenets
Of his faith, is clear & lawful I’m sure.

Justice William Brennan
What knowledge have you gain’d of their doctrines
The message is heavily based on peace
Whose underlying sentiment, I’d say
Edict, is this, members of the Nation
Of Islam, should never participate
In any wars which endeth Human life.

Justice Potter Stewart
If this is true, then this boxer’s beliefs
Are surely no less religiously based
Than previous cases, let us refer
Back to Welsh versus the United States
In which this noble body sat & ruled
That ethical & moral objection
To war was as valid as a religious
Objection, thus broadening qualities
Which qualify for exemption status.

Justice William Douglas
There is a new direction in the wind
& its blowing for complete redemption
But to soothe its blow for the most stalwart
Of those with deepest patriotic hearts
I’ve found a technicality of sorts
The original conviction’s too vague
Neglecting a precise admonition
Upon the points supporting Clay’s defense
I’ll have my clerks type you up a copy
But safe to say this day has now declar’d
The appellant’s case has been successful

Justice John Marshall Harlan

Justice Potter Stewart

Justice Warren Burger
After hearing Justice Marshall
I say aye as well

Justice William Brennan
As do I

Justice William Douglas
& I
With which the verdict is unanimous
Cassius Clay has been fully repriev’d
Is to be prais’d for his good character
His morals, & for his integrity
& was sincere in his past objection
On religious grounds to participate
In all war’s forms – that the registrant’s claim
For conscientious objector status
Be sustained – all agreed

Justice Warren Burger

Justice William Brennan

Justice John Marshall Harlan

Justice Potter Stewart

Justice Potter Stewart
Well, justices, thanks for thy attendance
Until we meet again

Justice William Brennan
That’s after lunch

Justice Potter Stewart
Of course, what is the case again

Justice Warren Burger
Its Gordon versus Lance, West Virginia

Justice Potter Stewart
I remember – tax rates – can hardly wait

Justice William Brennan
So, how is your Matilda doing, John

Justice John Marshall Harlan
Much better – her knee’s slowly improving
We have found a wonderful chiropractor
Up state

Justice William Brennan
You’ll have to give me the number

Justice Justice John Marshall Harlan

Justice Potter Stewart
{to Douglas}
I’m glad today went the way of Clay
He’s a fine young man & boy he can box

Justice William Douglas
He doesn’t stand a chance against Frazier
Have you seen the way he locomotes in
Brawling, inex’rable, threshing machine

Justice Potter Stewart
I guess we’ll find out soon

Exit Judges

Scene 13

Madison Square Gardens / Ali & Frazier are sat at a table either side of Bob Arum / the room is filled with photographers & journalists including ABC’s Howard Cosell

Splendid afternoon to everybody
Welcome to these dangerous inductions
& thanks for all for coming here this day
But as we all admit this day rare pois’d
These are two undefeated champions
Hand-set to tip the balance either way
What storms-a-coming, happy are they both

I’m sure they are, purse fretting free to burst
As if a bounty on a proditor
Set by the richest kings of Xanadu

That’s right, five million split evenly
Between our handsome, priceworth prize-fighters
The whole world wants to see them battle raged
& slam a wage against the winning odds
Every heart trembles, every wine flows
For what should be the Fight of the Century,
Better even that the famous long count
When the Manassa Mauler, Jack Dempsey,
Took on Gene Tunny, the fighting marine
More famous than when James J Corbett fought
John L Sullivan in twenty one rounds
This event is greater by multitudes
Than when Joe Louis batter’d Max Schmelling
& bloodied Hitler’s nose & attitude
This is the biggest we have ever seen
By ten hundred million people watch’d
Across the world – Poland, Arabia
The Odeon in Burn-e-ley, Hong Kong
You name the place, they’ll be watching the bout

Journalist One
What do the fighter’s think?

Journalist Two
What round Ali?

I aint gonna call the rounds, but I’ll still shine
A singular prediction’s lantern light
When he & I enfisted ye shall see
Ungarish, cut-ingraven amateur
Completely outbox’d, so easy to hit,
When the fans will throw dirt at the critics
& experts for misleading them so much

You got time

What do you wanna say, Joe
How ya gonna riposte all that wisdom

I say it nuttin but a bunch of noise
His brain is threading needles back thro time
But today is today, man, understand
You’re not fighting Oscar Bonavena
You’re not fighting Patterson or Liston
You’re fighting Joe Frazier

I know that man
Everybody know that, that’s not the point

That is the point

Joe, what’s your prediction

The fight won’t go the distance

No it won’t

I’ll stop him

Stop me


How soon? What round?

{angry & fluster’d}
One to ten, you’ll be outta there, I’ll stop…

He’s agitated! He’s agitated!
{laughter from the journalist}
He’s famous cos there were no good boxers
To fight him

Get ready cos here I come

I’ll still my tongue, now, no more prefight talk
But I would like to offer one more wise
Even tho’ I twice beat Sonny Liston
The Boxing Commission ne’er was convinc’d
I was the right & proper champion

But that’s all over, now you’re fighting me

I’m the true champ, your fights only draw
Four thousand people tops, there’s more folk come
To see me train than watch your actual
Y’aint no-one, they only wanna see me

Who got top billing? Who got top billing?

{standing up shaking his fist}
Wait ’til I get you in the ring

{pushing back Ali’s fist}
And what?

Get your hands off me! Get your hands off me!
The whole world recognizes me as champ

You got one half & I got the other
It doesn’t really matter anymore
We’ll make a fight, revive & shape it whole

No man alive could ever beat myself
If Joe Frazier whups me I’ll be dropping
On hands & knees to crawl across the ring
I’ll crawl across the ring, look up & say
You are the champion

{putting his hands on Ali’s shoulders}
I’ll tell you what

{shrugging off Frazier}
Get your hands off me
Then I’m gonna crawl
Back across the ring, then leave behind
The boxing world forever – hang on man –
Whatma saying – that aint gonna happen
I’m gonna whup you, I’m gonna whup you

The thing is you aint gonna be able
To crawl anywhere, you’ll be laying down

Listen to me boy you will bleed, bleed bad

We’re gonna try & see who is the best

I’m the best

No, I’m the best

No I am
I’m the greatest – the world is gonna see
Two heavyweight champions, one phoney
One real – to distinguish will be easy


How ya gonna hit me, Joe
I’m too fast

I’ll be smoking’ right on you

I’ll be picking, poking, pouring water
On your smoking

I’ve had enough of this
I’m outta here
{to Ali}
I’ve no further with you

Exit Joe Frazier

Where ya going, Joe! Where ya going, Joe!
I got him running scared, he aint no champ
Not in the eyes of Black America
He fights for Uncle Tom, my opressors
After I lost my title to the draft
They gave it Frazier, the White Man’s negro
The pale-ass-kisser who stands up only
For purses in rings, forgets his people
Joe Frazier’s nail’d on to get telegrams
From folks in Alabama in Georgia
Saying, ‘Buddy, play the White Man tonight
& demolish that draft-dodging n!gger!
yeah, whup that uppity, loud n!gger, Clay,’
But ninety-nine percent of my people
Are with me in the ring, identify
My struggle as theirs’, its the same damn one
They fighting every day, when if I win
They win, if I lose they lose, but listen,
I aint gonna lose against Joe Frazier
He’s too ugly to be champ, he’s too dumb
He’s nuttin gut a griftin street slugger
He take five good punches just to give one

OK, that’s about enough for today,
& we’ll be seeing you all very soon

Journalist One
We’ll be there Bob

Journalist Two
Ali, how did you feel
When judges of the Supreme Court did sit
& answer thine appeal with full release
From all your unwarranted punitions

I dar’d to dream & thro that dream I feel
A man who has been in chains all his life
& suddenly they’re cut from my ankles
& I can walk about & slowly feel
The circulation coursing thro my veins
& after I whup Frazier then I’ll fly
To foreign shores & know that I am free

I’m sorry, that will be all

Exit Bob Arum & Muhammad Ali

Journalist 2

Journalist 3
This is gonna be a brilliant fight
Their race & trade is all these men appear
To hold in common to the ghetto courts

Journalist 3
& such division fascinates the world
The pugilist’s thirty-eighth parallel
Two & a half million dollars each
This unheard sum is sheer extravagance

Journalist 2
But then, of course these are two champions
Meeting, for the first time, & both are young, Undefeated, with legitimate claims

Journalist 3
As when the mighty titans warr’d on jove
Let them settle accounts once & for all
Little Bighorn, Big & Little Roundtops
Don’t have nothing on this upcoming bout
God bless America’s lust for battle

Scene 14

Philadelphia / Outside Marvis’ school / Joe Frazier is waiting in his car / Marvis gets in looking dejected

Hey son, whats up, you don’t look too special

I don’t wanna talk about it, daddy

Hey son, if there’s one person in the world
You can talk to, that’ll be your daddy

I’m getting into all kind a-trouble
At school

Yeah, go on

It’s the other kids
They’re like, ‘Ali is gonna whip your dad
Your dad cant fight’ I say why you say that
They say you is a Tom

I aint no Tom
Don’t listen to them words, them words are harsh
Spew’d falsely from a liar’s portmanteau

So whaddowha do daddy?

Just be true
There’s no wrong way to do right, no right way
To do wrong, you aint better than no-one
They aint better than you, only your deeds
May be accounted by those divine eyes
Which watches all we people do on Earth,
Such eyes as those watch’d me work extra hard
& grant our family extra blessings

So what shall I say when they call you Tom

Just tell them that your poppa make him pay
For purveying untruths, to them relay
Your daddy gonna beat Cassius Clay
& you know, son, that fool got it coming
Spitting razorblades with febrile rash,
I gave my heart & soul to help him out
But the brother came back with a dagger
Plung’d it right in my back, I’m no Yes Man
No White Man’s champion, I represent
The People, believe me I’m one of them,
At six o clock, back at the slaughterhouse
I started my shift, but two hours before
I was in there, training, pounding slabs of meat

You’re gonna pound him

Sure am, cos I’m a…

Frazier & Marvis
Small piece of leather well put together!

I’ll fight him all night long, tear off his wings,
Grind down his stinger

I wanna see that

You will, son, you will, now let’s get ice cream
You want ice cream


You got it

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Joe Frazier’s gonna beat Muhammad Ali

Joe Frazier
That’s my boy

I love you daddy

Joe Frazier
You too

scene 15

MA is working out – press men are gather’d around – a boxer is getting ready to spar with Ali

Who is the champion of the world?
Who is the champion of the world?
If I’m not the champion of the world
Then who is – don’t think about Joe Frazier
Y’all musta come down with amnesia
Forgotten how good I was or something
I’ll show you what a real champion is
I’ve fixed up the round Joe Frazier goes down
I’m sick & tired of all of this y’see
They took away my title & then talk’d
All this phoney stuff about Joe Frazier
This game is real, this aint no phoney game
I’ll fight them all regardless of the risk
I am Heracles struggling thro’ his labours
I am D’Artagnan, Cyrano, El Cid,
When I smile women swoon, grown men shudder
When I scowl, some might say I’m dangerous
Because I’m fighter born & fighter breathe
All those chumps are just commercializing

Ding! Ali comes out to meet Frazier but Frazier starts to retreat
If Frazier goes back an inch farther he’ll wind up in a ringside seat
Ali swings to the left, Ali swings to the right. Look at the kid carry the fight.
Frazier keeps backing but thereís not enough room.
Itís a matter of time Ali lowers the boom.
Now Ali lands to the right. What a beautiful swing. And the punch lifts Frazier clean out of the ring.
Frazier’s still rising but the referee wears a frown
For he can’t start counting til Frazier comes down.
Now Frazier disappears from view
The crowd is getting frantic.
But our radar station picks him up
He’s somewhere over the Atlantic.
Who would have thought when they come to the fight
That weíd see the launching of a coloured satellite.

Journalist 1
Muhammad how ya feelin’ ‘bout the fight

The fight, who am I fighting

Journalist 1
Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier ! he’s the cuckoo in my nest
He’s got my title, stolen in my prime
Joe Frazier is too ugly to be champ
He’s so ugly they should donate his face
To the wildlife bureaux – the way he walks in
To punches shows his clear docility
Joe frazier is too dumb to be the champ
The heavyweight champion should be smart
& pretty like me – on asking Frazier
How do you feel champ, he’ll say ‘duh duh duh’
Frazier will be nothing but a target
I’ll be dancing & moving & hitting
& Frazier won’t be able to find me
He’ll be reaching & straining with those hooks
& they’ll get longer & longer & he’ll
Be getting more & more frustrated
Things are gonna be happening so fast
Joe Frazier won’t be able to keep up
Pop, pop, pop, pop, plus I’m talking to him
Come on Joe, come on Joe, you aint no champ
Come on, you have lost three rounds already
Like my poem says – Joe comes out smoking
But I aint jokin’, pickin’ & pokin’
Pouring water on all of his smokin’
& I’m gonna shock, twist & amaze ya
The night I’m gonna destroy Joe Frazier

Journalist 2
After such an epic time kept away
From boxing, have you degenerated
At all, in stamina, fighting style, skills

None that I’ve notic’d, anyways, listen
Guys, even if I’d barely train’d a day
I’d still whup Joe Frazier, there aint a man
Alive who’d whup me – I’m too fast, too smart,
Too pretty – I should be a postage stamp
That’s the only way I’ll ever get lick’d

Journalist 3
Do you have any predictions, Ali

Well, I aint gonna call the round he falls
& fall he will, but yes, I will predict
That when I meet Joe Frazier it will be
Like a decent amateur attempting
To fight a genuine professional
Like a kid fresh out of the Olympics
& the fastest heavyweight champion
That ever liv’d, a incredible mismatch
& yet a grim necessity that’s now
The biggest event in the history
Of the Planet Earth’s vast entirety
But not because of Frazier, ‘cause of me
To prove I’m the best this is no contest
& understand one thing, he’s not like m
He’s the other kind of Black Man, passive
Suppliant, Uncle Tom, Nixon’s negro

Journalist 1
It seems that nation’s drawn it’s battle-lines
& boxers act potential presidents

That’s right, I’m not fighting a single man,
But lots of men, to show them here’s one man
They could not conquer – I fight for freedom
& in my combat free the very world

Enter Angelo Dundee & Jimmy Ellis

Angelo Dundee
Gentlemen, gentlemen, that will be all
We’ve got a spot of sparring, if you please
You may watch, but there’ll be no more questions
Alright boys, three minutes, take it away

You alright Jimmy

Jimmy Ellis
Yeah I’m good brother

How’s your wife, the pretty one

Jimmy Ellis
Oh, Candy
Yeah, she’s good & how is your Belinda

Still pregnant

Jimmy Ellis
We’re doing this

Sure thing

They touch gloves & begin sparring

Scene 16

Madison Square Gardens / Joe Frazier’s dressing room / he is praying – the room is very quiet

A shot of anger fills & swells my breast
The irresistible will of the Lord
I call on tonight, let your angels sing
Orthian songs that fill & lift fists
With providence divine

Enter Eddie Futch

Eddie Futch
Hey Joe, wake up
Watcha doin there, it is almost time

Joe Frazier
I’m praying

Eddie Futch

Joe Frazier
That’s OK, I’m done

Eddie Futch
I’m glad to say I lived to see this night
& serv’d its better part beside your dreams,
So tell me the substance of your prayers

Joe Frazier
I ask’d the lord to help me kill this man
For lacking righteousness – I’ll kill this man
& even if I have to die myself

Eddie Futch
Don’t say that

Joe Frazier
I mean it, this is blood feud
For what he’s done & said God strike him down

Enter Yank Durham

Yank Durham
That vast arena shines electric blue
With every star bright striving to be seen
As if the Milky Way trails unobscur’d
& radiant to the crystal degree

Eddie Futch
Tonight the sight of God suspends his scales
& finds one to be light

Yank Durham
They stand in line
As if the crown jewels of old England
On loan in New York, so many diamonds
There’s Diane Keaton & Ted Kennedy
Gene Kelly, Bill Crosby, Woody Allen
Diana Ross in black, velvet hot pants
Outrageously stylish, Frank Sinatra’s
On an assignment for Life Magazine
The only way his fame could entrance make
So scarce are the tickets for this catwalk
Of butter blonde gals with cadillac souls
All feather’d & furry with laces & boots
& butterfly hair by mink-coated pimps
More the coronation than the fist-fight
Bejewell’d entourages where the men
For once outclass the women in their dress

Eddie Futch
As glamorous as that maddening age
When cotton fields to some were cavalier
Of master knights & sassy ladies fair
When gallantry would take its final bow
As civil discourse broke to open war
A land so deep divided like the crowd
Outside, polaris’d into pure passions,
United only by a rope of sand
The southern states were all combustible
A sudden spark & whoosh the thing went up
When stubbornly untractable scions
Insisted upon that institution
With contumacious arrogance, whose slaves
Shall shame America for evermore
I really feel tonight’s a civil war

Yank Durham
Tonight will be the very hardest thing
You’ll ever do in the whole of your life,
But it will all be worth it if you win
Remember, Clay don’t wanna just beat you
He wants to completely humiliate
& embarrass you, make a mockery
Of you ever being champion crown’d
Beat this guy, no matter whatever else
You’ll do for the rest of your days on earth
Your road will always golden pavement be

Eddie Futch
So tell me, champ, the moment that you hear
The mad, hollow rumble of the Gardens
& that first leaping heartbeat of the bell
What you gonna do to Cassius Clay

Joe Frazier
I’ll close off the ring, connect with power

Eddie Futch
Ya gonna weave, weave,

Joe Frazier
Go in on the weave
I’ll never stop my evr-coming steps

Eddie Futch
That’s why they call you Smokin’ Joe

Yank Durham
Damn straight

Joe Frazier
I’ll remonstrate his turpitude all night
Keep hooking & ducking, exhaust his force
Then canvas the chump with a clean, straight punch

Go get him, Joe

I’m ready boys, lets go

Eddie Futch
This your destiny, boy, don’t forget it

Beginning to exit

GOTR 2: Scenes 17-20

Remembering the 'Fight of the Century': Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier |  #Greeny - YouTube

Scene 17

Madison Square Gardens / The Fight of the Century

Before important actions pass to thought
& build a pleasure dome from the project
Those thoughts ensure a Xanadu remain
Of esoteric sensitivities
On foundations of vivid ideas
When imagination’s endless powers
Protagony combines & modifies
With feelings & affections made ideal,
Admire these two prizefighters in their prime
Pois’d in the cyclone’s eye with one purpose,
0America is torn & polarised
Between bad guy, good guy, good black, bad black,
There is no middle land, fanatical
Cabins of moonshine, old men with rifles
Bicker cross valleys, this civil war,
Profusing with spiritual foison
Exploding one nation divisible,
Meanwhile, all aspects of our planet’s moon
Reflect the coming bursts of stars & light,
The streets of Buenos Aires are empty,
From Borneo up to the soft-strewn snow
The world stands by, bistros & beerkellers
The retinas of every Human drawn
To one small square of canvas, brightly lit,
& watching on with eager, hungry eyes
See young George Foreman, set to step within
The ropes himself, to fight whomever wins
The Fight of the Century… & begin!

Fighters: Joe Frazier (champion), Muhammad Ali

Referee: Arthur Mercante
Commentators: Archie Moore, Don Dunphy & Bert Lancaster
Announcer: John Addie

Archie Moore
The hour of truth for Ali has arrived
& here he comes decamping in the ring
Clad in a most beautiful red -white robe

Bert Lancaste
With Angelo Dundee, Bundini Brown
& Doctor Pechekio, what a night!
Just listen to the fever of this crowd
Anticipate of fabulous evening’s
Boxing, fought out all corners of the globe
Tell me Don, how does Ali look to you

Don Dunphy
He looks wonderful

Bert Lancaster

Archie Moore
& very trim

Don Dunphy
Would you say he’s psyched up

Archie Moore
Yes, he looks it

Don Dunphy
Here comes Joe Frazier, dress’d in Chinese jade
Just listen to that roar of awesome notes
The excitement here is monumental
A spectacular evening this should be

Bert Lancaster
In a first for heavyweight history
We shall see two undefeated fighters
Face-off in phrenzied combat

planet stumbels in axis
billions jhodl breath
ice covered sherpas sand swept bedouin

Archie Moore
They both look
Tremendous, Bert, & eager to begin

Enter John Addie

Bert Lancaster
Here comes the announcer, Johny Addie

John Addie
Good evening my ladies & gentleman
Tonight there shall be up to fifteen rounds
To become undisputed heavyweight
Champion of the world, introducing
From Louisville, Kentucky, in red trunks,
The challenger, Muhammad Ali…
His opponent, from Philadelphia,
Wearing green trunks, heavyweight champion
Of the World, Joe Frazier

Don Dunphy
How do they look

Archie Moore
I think Frazier is in best fighting trim
While Ali’s in good shape, there’s a diff’rence
Between such states, one laurels wins & one
Looks on exhausted in the hard-churn’d dust

The referee, Arthur Mercante, brings the fighters together

Arthur Mercante
Since this contest is for the ultimate
Determination of the heavyweight
Championship of the world, we hereby
Ask proper attention paid to the rules
By the World Boxing Commission foresworn
In case of a knock down mandatory
Eight counts will follow, & if in one round
Three knock-downs receiv’d the fight then forfeit
Break when I tell you to break… shake hands now,
{They shake hands}
Return to your corners

Don Dunphy
We’re almost ready
For the well named Fight of the Century
Hundreds of millions across the globe
Into the battle tuned, play’d out before
A pack’d, boistrous Madison Square Garden.

BELL: start of round one

Archie Moore
Frazier will try to pounce upon his man
Ali may try a blitz – a good right hook
He got in there – Frazier no longer feels
The easy target he once used to be
A-bobbing & a-weaving all the time
He’s dangerous – his best punch is the jab
When follow’d up by good combinations

Bert Lancaster
Ali got tagg’d there

Archie Moore
Yeah, strangely enough
He’s not using the ring as in his youth
He’s standing there with Frazier toe-to-toe
& blow-to-blow

Don Dunphy
He seems flat on his feet
Not like the Muhammad Ali of old
Three years ago Ali was a dancer
Tonight he’s in a slugfest with Frazier
Who fights just one way only, he bores in
& punishes

BELL: end of round one

Bert Lancaster
Thats the end of round one
& one of the most exciting first rounds
We’ve seen exceedingly in time’s long waltz

Don Dunphy
Frazier is relentless – keeps moving in
He hasn’t given Ali any room
To move around & make the fight his own
It seems as if Frazier’s making the fight

BELL: start of round two

Archie Moore
Ali got in a good one two, Frazier
Might have hurt a little bit by that punch

Don Dunphy
Muhammad Ali cannot keep Frazier

Away from him, however, he’s scoring


{Muhammad Ali connects 4 times}

Bert Lancaster
Look at those rights, & those lefts

{Frazier says bring it on with a gesture}

Archie Moore
Frazier’s taken a battering this round
But every so often whips his left hook
To body with a viscious certitude

Bert Lancaster
This fight’s a dandy!

Don Dunphy
Frazier has been hit
By solid rights that would have easy fell’d
Ordinary men

Archie Moore
Beautiful left hook

Bert Lancaster
Thus far that was the best punch in the fight

{Ali still shaking head}

Archie Moore
But the champion deposed just shakes his head
Reassuring his global idolators,
Tossing it off with a scoff & a shrug

BELL: end of round two

Don Dunphy
A beautiful round from Muhammad
Exhibiting skillset magnificence
& punching power harder than I’ve seen

Archie Moore
There’ll be no question that if Ali wins
He’ll be beating Frazier at his own game
Don’t you think

Bert Lancaster
Sure – the referee’s ready

BELL: start of round three

Don Dunphy
And here we go again, tremendous stuff

Archie Moore
Joe Frazier just spit blood – he is bleeding
From inside his mouth, but drives undeterr’d
Into the solid phalanx of his foe

Bert Lancaster
This fight, so far, ranks with the greatest ones
Again the refreee seperates them
& tells them to stop talking

Archie Moore
Look at that!
Ali sent a few rockets Frazier’s way
His longer reach while jabbing forms a fence
Of steel his fierce opponent cannot pass

Bert Lancaster
How many of those jabs can Frazier take?

Don Dunphy
These are big rounds for the ex-champion

Bert Lancaster
O what a jab by Frazier, Ali’s hurt

BELL: end of round three

Bert Lancaster
Another tremendous round

Archie Moore
Neither one
Has ever fought such calibre they share
Ali hit Joe with everything there is
But Frazier is relentless, like a tank

Don Dunphy
Here we go for number Four, Ali’s up
Before the bell

BELL: start of round four

Bert Lancaster
Frazier leaps to meet him

Don Dunphy
Muhammad’s scoring heavily, his best
Punch must be that whupping right undercut
Up-piling tremendous numbers of points
This stage of the game he is way ahead
No question

Archie Moore
But he could get discouraged
Frazier keeps coming thro’ the battering
Anyone else would have been on the floor

Bert Lancaster
O what a punch from Joe! Ali buckles
& another one

BELL: end of round four

Archie Moore
Ali’s looking tired
Frazier hit him with a fantastic punch

Bert Lancaster
A great round, what a great round, the first half
Was Ali’s all, then Frazier’s on a spin

Don Dunphy
I think that round was Frazier’s overall

Archie Moore
I do too, this fight a carousel
Or roulette wheel, life’s certainties dismiss’d

BELL: start of round five

Don Dunphy
Joe comes out bouncing

Archie Moore
Muhammad Ali
Was told to move more – he’s up on his toes
For the first time tonight, but he was tagged

Bert Lancaster
Ali’s dancing for the first time tonight
But Frazier has caught him again, & says

Son, come on in & fight

Don Dunphy
I love his jab

Archie Moore
& now he mimicks Ali with a smile

Don Dunphy
If anybody here’s psych’d, it aint Joe,
He’s just laughing at him, talking to him
Mirroring Muhammad Ali’s own taunts
Against opponents thro’ his fervent youth

BELL: end of round five

Bert Lancaster
what a round what a round, wow, what a round

Archie Moore
Joe Frazier has taken the play away
From Muhammad Ali

Don Dunphy
I don’t know how
Either man can bare these punishing wheels
That pommel round in punches

Archie Moore
Joe Frazier
Looks like he’s trying to outpsyche Ali

Don Dunphy
It certainly looks that way

Archie Moore
Joe Frazier’s
A man who keeps a great deal of anger
Unto his opponent in heart entrench’d
& now he’s really gonna make him pay

BELL: start of round 6

Bert Lancaster
So we have reach’d Round Six, the very round
Ali said he was gonna win the bout

Archie Moore
But look, Ali’s grasping all the clinches
& there’s another left hook from Frazier
& another

Don Dunphy
Those are wicked weapons

Archie Moore
Frazier’s trying to end it with one punch
& takes his turn to do the pot -shotting

Don Dunphy
The scoring’s gonna be interesting
Frazier’s now the agressor, that will count
A great deal for his corner if the fight
Endures the full fifteen`

Archie Moore
Perhaps it won’t
I get the feeling they are tiring now
Ali’s almost a sitting duck at times

{Ali shakes his head after being punched suggesting it was nothing – the whole fight freezes}

God told me the sixth

God can’t help you now
I aint going nowhere – you got your lunch?

BELL: end of round six

Don Dunphy
Thats the round over, Ali did not score
A knockdown to fulfil his prophesy

Bert Lancaster
Joe Frazier was relentless, relentless
Just pouring it on in there, he’s murder
Among the toughest men you’ll ever see

BELL: start of round seven

Archie Moore
It looks like Bundini’s talk’d to Ali
Who starts to hold Joe off at a distance

Don Dunphy
This has to be maybe the most torrid
Heavyweight title fight of all time long

Bert Lancaster
& again Arthur Addie tells Ali
Stop putting those gloved hands around Joe’s neck

Archie Moore
There is a lot more holding in this round

Bert Lancaster
Ali is scoring with those solid jabs
& Frazier might be wading in fatigue

BELL: end of round seven

Don Dunphy
Round Seven is over, what a great round

Archie Moore
Absolutely terrific

Bert Lancaster
Ali seems
Disgusted with himself

Archie Moore
He might be tired

Don Dunphy
He’s having a tough night handling Frazier
Would you be willing, Archie, to agree

Archie Moore
I’d say he’s slowly running out of steam

{The crowd begin to cheer Ali’s name – he acknowledges them}

Bert Lancaster
The crowd is bursting lungwind to Ali

Archie Moore
Joe’s summoning Ali to come & fight
The bell hasn’t sounded

BELL: start of round eight

Archie Moore
There it is – round eight

Don Dunphy
Both men project a splendid condition
No question they are athletes absolute

Bert Lancaster
Joe Frazier took command at that moment

Archie Moore
Now Ali starts to pile up points with jabs

Bert Lancaster
Joe looks like he’s in a training session

Archie Moore
His punching blows are short but punishing
Some land on elbows but some pierce the shield

Don Dunphy
Ali’s on the ropes, his pitter patter
Punches making miniscule returns

Archie Moore
& talking still

Bert Lancaster
Wow, look at Joe Frazier
Lit’rally dragging Ali from the ropes

Archie Moore
I don’t know one soul who shares the sheer joy
Of combat the way that Joe Frazier does

BELL: end of round eight

{Ali cheekily scuffs Frazier’s cheek after bell rings}

Bert Lancaster
So, Archie, what do you think of all that

Archie Moore
I think Ali is as tired as a siege
Trying his optimum to needle Joe
Who in his turn has barely won a wince
Of pain

Don Dunphy
For me Ali’s took a whuppin

Bert Lancaster
I don’t know how this fight will distance flow

Don Dunphy
Its possible that one or both of them
Could punch out strength before the final bell
But like you say these boys share condition
Of most marvellous physicalty

Archie Moore
The crowd, I sense, definitively chang’d
At first they were shouting Ali! Ali!
& now they’re all shouting Go Joe! Go joe!

BELL: start of round nine

Don Dunphy
& here they go again

Archie Moore
Its the ninth round of a fifteen-rounder

Bert Lancaster
Frazier is the freshest without question

Archie Moore
You must remember this in the scoring
Mohammad Ali has been making most
Of the clinches, such will count against him

In the scoring

Don Dunphy
He’s broke off exchanges
More often than not, but he’s also scored
Some devastating blows across Joe’s head

Archie Moore
Frazier’s bobbing & weaving like crazy
Itching to let that lethal left hook fly
But taking punches all the time he hunts

Bert Lancaster
Ali has moved on to the ropes again
O what a punch

Archie Moore
That was a wicked punch

Bert Lancaster
A brilliant punch

Archie Moore
Look at Ali’s legs

Don Dunphy
Frazier connects again!

Bert Lancaster
Ali staggers!

Archie Moore
He seems to be punish’d by troubles now

Don Dunphy
Wait, what is this, he throws out wild right hands
& somehow seems to steady on his feet

Bert Lancaster
What a fighter – what a fight – what delight!

Archie Moore
Ali is coming back, drums up reserves
From some deep cave no man alive has seen

BELL: end of round nine

Bert Lancaster
What a show!

Archie Moore
That’s the best round for Ali
Especially integrating that hook

Don Dunphy
That was a round of clear desperation

Archie Moore
Joe looks like he’s tiring, Ali looks fresh
Don’t you think Don

Don Dunphy
Ali has summon’d up
Hidden reserves upon the verge of doom

Bert Lancaster
What a battle, what a pace, what a race
Archie, have you ever seen speed like this
Combat relentless, a beautiful thing

Archie Moore
I think of Henry Armstrong, only he
Could keep this kinda pace up, but for two
Big heavy boys like these, remarkable

BELL: start of round ten

Archie Moore
Round ten is here – its scheduled for fifteen
Now lets see how this Viking punishment
Verging on the torture of Blood Eagles
Has effected Joe Frazier in his head

Don Dunphy
He’s probably been told to stay in close
To nullify that long range of Ali

Archie Moore
We shall see who draws the most benefit
From that minute’s rest

Bert Lancaster
I dont think you’ll see
Joe Frazier stood in the middle again
Just trading punches

Don Dunphy
Frazier is grunting
When he goes driving in with those punches

Archie Moore
Ali looks tired again, but that could be
Deceitful, that uppercut was lovely

Bert Lancaster
Frazier tries to pin Ali on the ropes
& takes a heap of punishment en route

Don Dunphy
Ali is coming back at Joe with heart
& strength & brutal beauty, to defy
Whatever his opponent might muster

Archie Moore
Frazier’s taking that battering again

BELL: end of round ten

Don Dunphy
Another great round & another great round
Incidentally for Ali, I feel
He’s come back with combatative beauty
& stunning combinations to astound

{Crowd compete between Ali! Ali! & Lets Go Joe}

Fighters: Joe Frazier (champion), Muhammad Ali

Referee: Arthur Mercante
Commentators: Archie Moore, Don Dunphy & Bert Lancaster are the commentators
Announcer: John Addie

BELL: start of round eleven

{Muhammad Ali slips}

Archie Moore
No knock down, no knock down

Don Dunphy
Ali slipp’d there

Bert Lancaster
They both look tired

Archie Moore
Joe’s got him on the ropes
& trying hard to land that lethal shot

Bert Lancaster
Muhammad is talking to him again

Don Dunphy
I would say there’s not much happening now

Archie Moore
Frazier has gotten wild

Don Dunphy
Yes he has lost
Timings immaculate from earlier
His rhythm has evaporated too

Archie Moore
But that one hurt, & that one, so did that
Ali’s against the ropes with a stagger

Bert Lancaster
He has been rock’d & holds on desp’rately

Archie Moore
There’s thirty seconds to go in the round

Don Dunphy
Muhammad Ali is in real trouble

BELL: end of round eleven

Bert Lancaster
The round is over, the round is over
What a round!

Archie Moore
Ali was almost out there

Don Dunphy
Joe Frazier clobber’d him with everything
Downwritten in the book of boxing lore

Archie Moore
Angelo Dundee is on the warpath
Berating Ali inbetween the rounds
With speeches of living inspiration

Bert Lancaster
He needs it by his trophy’s withering

Don Dunphy
Ali stands on the verge of first defeat

BELL: start of round twelve

Archie Moore
Its round twelve – Frazier ‘s gone out there swiftly

Bert Lancaster
Well who thought it would go this far

Archie Moore
Tries to fight back gamely – but sees quite spent
Joe Frazier’s lookin’ pretty spent as well

Don Dunphy
He’s smartly going to the body now
He’s getting in some wicked body licks

Bert Lancaster
Muhammad Ali is missing punches
& Frazier’s smiling, laughing at the gusts

Archie Moore
This could be a very tough fight to score

BELL: end of round twelve

Archie Moore
That round was a tremendous duel again
Ali has made an undoubted come back
From somebody who was out on his feet
The round before he seem’d as fresh as dew

Don Dunphy
But now he’s tired, look how his corner works
With phrenetical medical fury

BELL: start of round thirteen

Bert Lancaster
Its round thirteen & they’ve come out scrapping

Archie Moore
Those punches conduct all of Alis pow’r
& must be hurting Joe

Don Dunphy
Both should expect
To give out mammoth pain takes mammoth pains

Archie Moore
The biggest crown in the world is at stake
The Heavyweight Championship

Don Dunphy
It is
& Ali seems to be on his way back
He’s piling up the points

Archie Moore
For a tired man
These moments he boxes beautifuly

Bert Lancaster
It seems Frazier has let him get away
After the leviathan eleventh

Archie Moore
But look that lovely left hook hurt Ali

Don Dunphy
This is such a tremendous slugging match
& in an instant turns the onslaught’s tide

Archie Moore
Ali’s no room if Frazier stays on top

BELL: end of round thirteen

Don Dunphy
Round 13 is over, & what a round!
Joe Frazier’s got to be some kind of man
With combinations Ali hit him hard
Of every kind a boxer could think of
Not once, not twice, not three times, & not four,
But five or six

Archie Moore
But that’s made Ali tired

Bert Lancaster
Joe just keeps on going relentlessly
He has more power & more stamina
Than anybody I have ever seen
Don’t you think so Archie,

Archie Moore
I think so too
& whatever happens he’s still ready
To go out again

BELL: start of round fourteen

Archie Moore
& yes there he goes

Don Dunphy
Its round fourteen of a fifteen rounder

Archie Moore
A wicked punch by the ex champion

Bert Lancaster
Stop holding says the referee

Archie Moore
Is doing the holding, stalling for time

Don Dunphy
Remember in the scoring Muhammad
Ali’s been making most of the clinches
While dealing out most of the punishment
Frazer is very puffy round the eyes
Implanted by tremendous jabs & hooks

Archie Moore
Joe’s right eye looks might be closing

BELL: end of round fourteen

Bert Lancaster
The end of round fourteen & yet again
In three fast minutes we’ve witness’d greatness

Archie Moore
Now if you look over at Joe’s corner
There’s seeming something wronging with his face
& now wears a welt of enormous size

Don Dunphy
Back in Round Eleven Ali seem’d out
But he is now amazingly reborn

Archie Moore
Stronger & stronger he grew in that round
& proven to a whole lot of people
He could come back as always he’s declar’d

BELL: start of round fifteen

Bert Lancaster
Right, this is the final round of the fight
& what a fight its been

Don Dunphy
Perhaps the best

Bert Lancaster
Ali is down!

Archie Moore
What a punch!

Don Dunphy
Watch the time!

Archie Moore
Ali takes the mandatory eight-count

Bert Lancaster
That was the only knock down of the fight

Archie Moore
Muhammad Ali was flat on his back
But, he is a well-conditioned athlete

Don Dunphy
Frazier’s smartly going for the body
Forcing Ali to cover in defence

Archie Moore
Needless to say the crowd is in bedlam

Don Dunphy
Woah ! what a shot – if Joe would have followed
Up that fierce blow up this bout would be finish’d

Archie Moore
Muhammad Ali has never taken
Such a battering as brutal as this
But might unleash a last minute flurry

Don Dunphy
Indeed, he is fighting back most gamely

Bert Lancaster
Frazier looks tried & his eyes are closing

Archie Moore
There’s only half a minute now to go
Frazier has won the bigest rounds by far

Bert Lancaster
Ten seconds, five seconds, & there it is


Archie Moore
Some of the best punches I’ve ever seen
Were flowers in the gardens of that brawl

Bert Lancaster
Thro’ fifteen rounds full arsenal each employ’d
Small arms to nuclear megatonnage

Frazier slumps in his corner / the ring fills with people, the crowd chanting Joe – Joe – Joe

Don Dunphy
There’s people in the ring, its a bedlam

Bert Lancaster
Everybody’s waiting the decision

Johnny Adie collects cards from judges & steps into the ring with a microphone

Johnny Adie
Ladies & gentlemen, here’s the result
Referee Arthur Mcanty scores it
For Frazier eight-six, Bill Recht has nine-six
& Artie Aidala eleven-four
& so the winner I can now announce
& by a unanimous decision
& still the world’s heavyweight champion
Joe Frazieeeeer – lets get in to talk to him

Archie Moore
Its Joe Frazier – for the first ever time
Muhammad Ali has been beaten, wow!

Don Dunphy
Joe Frazier looks so spent, but has just scor’d
The greatest victory of his career
Of anyone’s career

Bert Lancaster
It does not look
As if he’d like to take an interview
But only seeks the solace of his rooms

Archie Moore
Wait, he’s trying to get to Muhammad

{yelling to Ali}
I want him over here – he gotta crawl
On the floor to my victorious feet
Why won’t Ali crawl, I want him to crawl

Johnny Adie

Bert Lancaster
Ali’s angry, he thinks he’s won the fight

Archie Moore
It is a wild scene Bert

Bert Lancaster
Ali was spent
If anything was left in Frazier’s tank
He would have certainly knock’d Ali out

Scene 18

Marion, Ohio – Cousin Cuts is in his cell playing guitar

Oh Lordy Je-sus
Won’t you come and find me?
They put me in jail, Lord,
Way down in the jail.
Won’t you send me a prophet
Just one of your prophets
Like Moses and Aaron
To get me some bail?
Oh Lordy Je-sus
When will your justice prevail

Oh Lordy Je-sus
I’m mighty poorly
I ain’t got no strength, Lord,
Y’see I’m all trampled down.
So send me an angel
Just any old angel
To give me a robe, Lord,
And to give me a crown.
Oh Lordy Je-sus
When will your justice come down

Oh Lordy Je-sus
It’s a long time comin’
It’s a long time co-o-min’
That Jubilee time.
We’ll wait and we’ll pray, Lord,
We’ll wait and we’ll pray, Lord,
But it’s a long time, Lord,
Yes, it’s a long time.
Oh Lordy Je-sus
When will your justice be mine

Enter Don King with a radio

Don Dunphy
It was a fine fight, about that no doubt

Archie Moore
I think in the final anyalysis
What might have influenc’d the decision
What might have weaken’d Muhammad Ali
In reckonings of judges was his holds,
Where’s aggression in defensive clinches
In New York State they like to see fighters
Lead by the front foot, act willing to fight

Don Dunphy
It was close, but Frazier own’d the big rounds,
The monumentous ones – & the knock-down
Counted for much, & so it’s Frazier’s game.

Don King switches off the radio

Don King
Joe Frazier just beat Muhammad Ali
& that’s the end of all of that, a rush
Of blood thro the national covenant
Right to its head exploding with one punch

Cousin Cuts
I don’t care

Don King
You don’t

Cousin Cuts
Not a flying fig

Don King
Well, brother, you’re the only one on Earth
Who don’t

Cousin Cuts
So what

Don King
So what, so I’ve just seen
The hold that boxing has oer human hearts
& thro that hold a hotline to the bank
Promoting’s a license to print money

Cousin Cuts
What ya saying

Don King
I’ve seen my destiny

Cousin Cuts
& what’s that

Don King
As a boxing promoter
I’m gonna mastermind the greatest fights
& I’ll stake my claim to that seam of gold
& double what those guys are earning now

Cousin Cuts
Yeah right, they’ll never let no black man
Stand ennobl’d over sport in any fields
& why not, after all, boxing’s now black
In the heavyweight division today
There’s not a honky in the world’s top ten
This is a black man’s sport & should be run by black men

Cousin Cuts
Good luck with that one

Don King
Our life is the flash
Of a firefly flitting in the night
Or little shadows swallow’d by sunset
I need to concentrate the living force
Within me while it glows, thus let me build
As when the Jamestown keeper of the cows
Planted a wonderweed & soon his wife
Was wearing silk beneath a pearl headband
I too shall build a stable of fighters
& nothing know but the greatest success
Society is changing, yes I’m black
Or brown, but look at the Tet offensive
They show’d how the white man can be better’d
My battle will be emphatic business
Astorian in scope, Camp Bird in wealth,
Any American can change this land
Any ambition can be realis’d
The Strait of Anian was one day found
I refuse to live a belittl’d life
Of hours prolong’d & tortuous sagas
No, I shall spearhead change & in that change
A better man become, this is an age
Of so many changes – the mini skirts
The men on the moon, & spac’d-out hippies
Almost as high, while Elvis surrenders
To Hendrix, Dylan & the Grateful Dead
To not be a revolutionary
Is not to be alive, on my release
I’ll strive, & strive, & strive, & strive some more
As the nation’s capital rose from mud
To marble, due to Pierre l’Enfant’s dream
Of grandeur on surveying wilderness
Selecting the Jenkins Hill eminence
For the building we call the Capitol
So shall my future be a great city
With handsome avenues all making dough
There’ll be no more rat infested hovels,
Substandard, overcrowded tenements,
I won’t be no slummin brother no more
I’ll be the Motown of the fighting game
& make my name, all men will know Don King
& what I do, what I’m about to do…

Cousin Cuts
Yeah, whatever Don, is there any chance
You can shut the fuck up now please, I need
A little bit of mental peace, y’dig

Don King
Sure thing brother

Cousin Cuts
Good luck with it all

Don King

Scene 19: New York

A badly batter’d Joe Frazier is in a hospital bed, unconscious. At his bedside is Marvin. A female nurse & a male porter are outside the room, watching Frazier through a window.

Well there it is, in black & blue, Ali’s
The greatest fighter e’er to walk this Earth,

You been taking your patients’ drugs again?
Joe Frazier will be shinin’ soon enough
Knowing he’s number one, your ‘Greatest’ down’d
With the most elegant punch ever see
Ali’s just a ropeboy in a cradle
While Frazier’s a fighter, a real fighter

Enter Muhammad Ali

Frazier’s not a great boxer, but that thing
He got going, he sure is great at that


Don’t call me champ, for he’s the champ now

How ya feeling’

My jaw is killing me

Not physically, I mean, but up here

Whats the big deal, its just a fight that’s all
I just got paid two-point-five million
For having my ass whupp’d

Dat good money

Enter Dr. James Giuffre & Dr Ferdie Pacheco

Dr. James Giuffre
Muhammad Ali, its a great pleasure,
& a great fight, a classic one could say
As much a worth of art as French ballet
In style & structure a liturgical
Ritual of accidental beauty
To watch the two of you in contention,
The killing ground of immortal fighters,
Then see you slammin’ canvas made me feel
Just as I did when Doctor King was shot
Tonight the bad guys won, or so it seem’d
I too oppose the war, & your defeat
Intensified into personal loss

I will be back to right this royal wrong,
Can count on it like summer runs from spring

Dr Jones
I sure do hope to see you champ again
But in the meantime…

Of course

Dr. James Giuffre
Nurse Johnson…

Dr. James Giuffre enters Frazier’s room with the Nurse

Dr Pacheco
Your X-rays say ya gonna be OK
But best to rest, to stay in overnight
& shoo away exhaustion’s wolfen claw
Which could the dangerous wound yet inflict

I sure am tired, one helluva fight, right?
But I sure aint stayin’ in overnight
I want it unrecorded the days
Of future poets writing songs & plays
That Smokin’ Joe did plant me in the wards
No! I’m goin’ back to the New Yorker
To lick these wounds & contemplate my fate
Don’t worry Ferdie, my beloved friend,
We aint thro’ yet

So what happen’d tonight?

Dr Pacheco
It was astonishing to say the least
I’ve never rated Frazier in the ring

Me neither, but my jaw says different

Dr Pacheco
Ya lucky that it aint broken brother

Well I never saw it coming myself

As I, too – I got so big I became
Intoxicated with so-call’d ‘greatness’
Thinkin’ I’d only need three miles a day
Of runnin’ for the fight, I did not try
As hard as I once did, convinc’d myself
I’d get by my talents natural
That would have simply prosper’d on the night
With princely prowess & a kingly claim!

Marvin emerges from the room with the nurse, visibily upset

What you do to my daddy Muhammad

Hey, son, calm down… how’s yer daddy doin’

Ehm – ehm

Look, what I said before the fight
It wasn’t real, I respect Joe Frazier
He’s just another brother workin’ hard
His family to feed, a genuine
Fella in the swamps of ungenuine

I don’t think my daddy can hear my voice

He will, son, & soon – where ya goin’ now

To get some candy

Let me come with you

Exit Marvin & Nurse / Ali looks crestfallen through the window at Frazier / Dr. James Giuffre emerges

How is he

Dr. James Giuffre
He was very close to death
The pressure of his blood could rockets raise
His face spasming into bloody pulp
He was very close to death
The pressure of his blood could rockets raise
Stratosphere’d one-sixty over ninenty

Is that bad

Dr. James Giuffre
Yeah, it should be one-twenty,
While see that inflammation of the eye
Its practically an island

It looks bad
How’s his retina – has it been detach’d
As with Leotis Martin

Dr. James Giuffre
That is just rumour, his eyes are intact
With a healing period undisturb’d
All ends well should

Don’t tell him I was here

Exit Ali


Dr. James Giuffre
Yeah, something else aint it

It sure is

Dr. James Giuffre
Dont think we’ll ever see a fight as good
As that, they fought tonight like stallions

This century aint over yet
& the seventies have only just begun

Exit Porter & Dr. James Giuffre in different directions / part one ends with poignant music & Frazier in a deep sleep, on his own in his bed – he then gets out of bed dress’d up as a singer & emerges in the next scene

Scene 20

San Francisco, Joe Frazier & the knock-outs are performing at the Winterland venue

Knock On Wood
Like a Knock-Out drop
First Round Knock Out
They Bigger They Come

So that’s all folks, tomorrow morn, y’see,
Joe Frazier & The Knockouts, this brave band
Take venture of a European tour
Endeavouring the chance to have some fun
To see the world, sharing a native song
We don’t expect to set the world alight
But I’ve loved singing all my lucky life
& singing’s harder far than boxing’s art
But easy seems in Cisco, what a crowd
Appreciation is the spur of art
Without a Renaissance would Raphael
Ever have deliver’d godframed visions
Without the operas of Vienna
Would ever have Herr Mozart humm’d a tune
No, not at all, without an audience
Each War in Peace is merely book of of words
& so, wheree’erso in this world we go,
We’ll always take a slice of you guys with,
Our thanks to all who came, & good night all.