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
Yes

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

Heavily

{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}

Ali
God told me the sixth

Frazier
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
Ali
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
Ali
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

FINAL BELL

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

Frazier
{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
PLEASE EVERYBODY GET OUT OF THE RING

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
Thanks


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.

Porter
Well there it is, in black & blue, Ali’s
The greatest fighter e’er to walk this Earth,

Nurse
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

Ali
Frazier’s not a great boxer, but that thing
He got going, he sure is great at that

Porter
Champ!

Ali
Don’t call me champ, for he’s the champ now

Porter
How ya feeling’

Ali
My jaw is killing me

Porter
Not physically, I mean, but up here

Ali
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

Nurse
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

Ali
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…

Ali
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

Ali
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

Porter
So what happen’d tonight?

Dr Pacheco
It was astonishing to say the least
I’ve never rated Frazier in the ring

Ali
Me neither, but my jaw says different

Dr Pacheco
Ya lucky that it aint broken brother

Porter
Well I never saw it coming myself

Ali
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

Marvin
What you do to my daddy Muhammad

Ali
Hey, son, calm down… how’s yer daddy doin’

Marvin
Ehm – ehm

Ali
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

Marvin
I don’t think my daddy can hear my voice

Ali
He will, son, & soon – where ya goin’ now

Marvin
To get some candy

Nurse
Let me come with you

Exit Marvin & Nurse / Ali looks crestfallen through the window at Frazier / Dr. James Giuffre emerges

Ali
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

Ali
Is that bad

Dr. James Giuffre
Yeah, it should be one-twenty,
While see that inflammation of the eye
Its practically an island

Ali
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

Ali
Don’t tell him I was here

Exit Ali

Porter
Wow

Dr. James Giuffre
Yeah, something else aint it

Porter
It sure is

Dr. James Giuffre
Dont think we’ll ever see a fight as good
As that, they fought tonight like stallions
Enraged

Porter
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

Repertoire
Knock On Wood
Like a Knock-Out drop
First Round Knock Out
They Bigger They Come

Frazier
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.

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