GOTR 2: Scenes 21-27

Born on this day: George Foreman - The Ring

Scene 21

Dublin / a TV Studio / enter the presenter, Cathal O’Shannon

Pugilist & poet, King of the Hype
With his rhetoric he makes the ring ring
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Just mentioning his name starts great debates
Is he super boxer or superstar
The most talk’d about human in the world
Where no mortal is more synonymous
With sport than who proclaims he’s the greatest
& maybe he is – certainly I will
Not be arguing with him about that –
Deliver him an All Irish welcome
Ladies… Gentlemen.. Muhammad Ali!

Enter Muhammad Ali

Welcome to Dublin

It’s nice to be here

You look fit, certainly, still training hard?

Well, yeah, since my last bout with Joe Frazier
I’ve fought a lot of fighters, I’ve just box’d
Jerry Quarry, I’m active & ready
A contender should stay in contention
The new tramp, oops, I mean champ, Joe Frazier
Been doin’ diddly squat, seven months rest
Between each fight, battling people even
You could beat, Cathal; no, I gotta keep
The fighting game alive, fibres of fate
Entwine with the spirit of Champions
& haunt them with a braying restlessness.

Your Fight of the Century saw perform
Two champions – I notic’d Joe Frazier’s
Unquantifiable combination
Of youth, desire & ability true,
While for yourself all the public hatred
You had chaperon’d burst furiously,
When even your detractors show’d respect

Begrudgingly, yes

You said you’d retire
If you lost, but of course you’ve kept going
Why so?

I thought about it once or twice
But then, one evening, when watching my wife
Give our baby milk thro’ tears & wailstrife
Whose hollerings could wake the frozen dead
Expecting milk the moment cries lunge forth
Ten years from now my baby’s gonna be
Just ten years old, needing money for school
Sweets, books & busfare; parties, games & clothes
My daughter, too, on her turning twenty
She gonna need a house, I won’t see her
Working in a diner, people will say
Look at Ali’s daughters – born in riches
But given beeswings like the rest of us
I’ve still got an mighty punch left in me
Next time we meet I’ll knock Joe Frazier out
& then I’ll face your Irish champion
& knock him out the same


I got a laugh

You’re in Ireland

So if I can save up
Two million dollars, how much is that

About eight hundred thousand pounds, I think

So, if I can save a million pounds
I can relax, can sleep at ease at night
For now it’s gonna take a lot of work
& one has gotta work hard – nobody
Gives you anything, right

Right, so tell me
Upon your loss to Frazier, what passions
Envelop’d cognitive recollections

Well, you tell me, people who saw the fight
Will say I claim’d the laurels of most rounds
Especially those understanding boxing
& all its clever nuances unseen
By casual spectators of the sport
I know I lost two rounds, I’ll say as much –
In the eleventh he shook me real bad
& then, of course, that knockdown in fifteen,
But all the time, for every once he struck
I’d offer four firm blows of equal mein,
So terrible the whupping what he got
He spent a weary month in hospital
Pain’d by intensive treatment, while myself
I look’d the same but for a swollen jaw
Which faded soon, no features distorted
Unlike Joe – one judge was so outrageous
He cough’d up Frazier’d won eleven rounds
Any boxing fan across the planet
Would deem impossible I’d just won four

So, you’re hoping to fight Frazier again

Of course I am, but first he gotta come
Out of his hidey hole, dya know he bought
Some plantation deep in Alabama,
& started rearing chickens, what a joke

How do you rate his skills as a boxer

He slugs good, yes, but shames the boxer’s art
I’ve even got a better voice than him
He was in Ireland recently, singing
That right?

He came here touring with his band
Joe Frazier & the Knock-outs was the name

I understand he only drew eighty
In twenty-thousand seater arenas

He did a little better over here
& drew about a thousand

If I play’d
That same venue, it would capacitate
Now let us speak of mirth & stint all this
Who told Joe Frazier he could even sing
There is music to boxing, I grant this
But gladiator’s never played the harp

But did you not the chords joytwang yourself
On Broadway

I was in a musical
Titl’d ‘Big Time Buck Wright’ – altho’ the play
Never made it, I was a great success
The New York critics said I was perfect
So yeah, I beat Joe Frazier singing too

Could you prove it to the Irish people

Sure I can – it would be a great honour
This is a land of song, of Galway pipes
& Dublin ditties sang by pretty girls
If it’s alright to enter your circle
I have a poem set in music’s field

What is it all about

A man’s true name
I’ve found mine own? its Muhammad Ali,
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Cocky, loquacious, fit for greatness born,
Fourth generational Kentucky slave
Root to the fruit, along paths of purpose
I trod, & knew I must discard the chains
Of given names ingrain’d with hard labour
As such was Cassius Marcellus Clay’s
Continuation of a day’s routine,
Of degradation, drudgery & death,
My cheeks deep-claw’d, flow’d tears of blood on each,
Whene’er I heard those cursed words, each time
A spike of horror in my mind! no more!
I have set myself free from tvile bondage
Possessing such a slave name doth entail,
Into the hinterlands of history
It has been cast, deep flung, with full disgust,
As from the vaults of heaven came the next
Unshackl’d from all racist crudetie,
Muhammad means ‘worthy of most praises,’
Whilst Ali means most high

Quite beautiful
In sound & meaning, so can you tell us
Of Islamica what attracted first

Many perks, but salient among them
Is pride, some would say love, for given names;
The Chinese have Chang-Chong; & the Russians
Have Kruschev, Karpov, Korchnoi, Kasparov;
You have your Kennedys, Your O’Gradys;
The Jews have their Goldbergs, their Feigenbaums;
Africans Manbongo & Lamubo;
But American Blacks, tho’ thro’ their blood –
Do torrents of the Congo Falls hard flow –
Are nothing now but a whitewash’d negro
With names like Hawkins, Johnson, Smith & Clay…
Muhammad is a beautiful Black name
& I do say it proudly

As you may
& few on Earth dare test your stern resolve
In any sphere, even the Supreme Court
Has bended to thy will, & set aside
The orders that tore you from your title

Let me tell you, Dermot, about my case
At first I was a thankless Antichrist
A draft-dodging antiwhite terrorist,
Helpless as fair won title stripp’d away
But nothing stops the ceaseless wheel of time
What hums with life soon crumples in the dust,
& something chang’d in America’s psyche,
Whose criminals now those who go to war,
Whose conscience is the ones who found my gloves
Classified conscientious objector
& I’ll soon fight again, we boxing sort
Must stay in port to make a patent pay

Well, we cannot wait to hear your new song
Ladies, Gentlemen, Muhammad Ali,
Singing ‘Whats in a name’

Thank you Cathal


I found the freedom to do what I wanna do
The sum of patience & reason to think things thro
No longer under the rainclouds of painful confusion
That our society’s under
& so I start to suggest that you do the same
There’s so much freedom in losing you chosen name
& when you’re choosing your own hang it up in a frame
That the world will look up to & wonder

Listen to me, I’m Muhammad Ali
I’m Beloved of God
You wanna be free from this state fakery
Switch your old life off
I’m Beloved of God

Scene 22

The state legislature in Columbia, South Carolina / the national & the Confederate flag are hanging together

Governor West
Today’s a famous day, here in the south
South Carolina’s State Legislature’s
About to receive an oratory
For the first time from an African
American, since those halcyon days
Of Reconstruction, we all know our past
Of how the chains of bondage parted men,
But these are now the nineteen seventies
& things are very much chang’d & changing
As such, it is my fantastic honour
To invite one of Beaufort’s awesome sons
To the floor, to address our General
Assembly, Representatives, please stand
For Joseph Frazier, lately, deserving
Heavyweight Champion of all the world
Our universal, gallant dowsabel

Enter Joe Frazier wearing a grey suit with a soft blue stripe, a yellow shirt and a red‐tan and‐blue tie,to a 30 second standing ovation

Joe Frazier
Thank you Governor & good afternoon
Thank you for inviting me to address
You all today, my message is simple
Whether white or black, we are all from God
All races should be pulling together
Into a global whole & unity
& in the case of South Carolina
Catch up with the rest of America
In seven or eight years since first I left
Beaufort, a flooding wave of Civil Rights
Has wash’d the taint of slavery away
From many states all over this great land
But never reach’d Lake Keeowee’s beaches
To nourish the sabal palmetto tree
I feel it’s the time to save our people
& when I say such thing I mean both white
& black, to face the white man with his fate
To live in unity with the black man,
As equals too, we need to quit thinking
Who lives next door, who’s my little daughter
Playing with, who she sits next to in school,
& if the legislature will allow
I would like to build a playground back home
In Beaufort, & pay for it all myself
With one adamantine pre-requisite
The gates will be open to black children
& white children the same, & in their midst
One water fountain for them all to share
Already I have spent some of my fees
Gain’d from the fight with Muhammad Ali
On purchasing the Brewton Plantation
Down there in Beaufort, I don’t want to cut
The ties I have with home, I love my state

Audience member
& we love you Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier
Hah, thank-you
But what I’m trying to say is, by buying
A plantation, where generations back
My kinsfolk was enslav’d, & in my youth
I was nothing but a dumb sharecropper
I’d say, ‘Good morning, Boss,’ and he would say,
‘To the mule…’ at noon, I’d say, ‘Lunch time, Boss,’
& he’d say ‘One o’clock…’ in the evening,
I would say, ‘Good night, Boss,’ and he would say,
‘In the mornin,’ but now I’ve bought his home
& blown away all the infested webs
Full of the dead bug hides of former times
& in my handsome purchase want to show
How things have alter’d irrevocably,
& so, I urge the members of this house,
To please pursue the cause of Civil Rights
That burns ten thousand bonfires cross the rest
Of these fields of manifest destiny,
Where in the first birthing declaration
Of independence, it nobly stated
Ev’ry soul born equal, & lives free
So, let’s all pull together, & let’s make
South Carolina a nice place to live
Likewise New York & Philadelphia
& all the other nests of the eagle
Which we call the American, so we all
Can live together & play together
& pray together, change is possible
& I’m living proof of such a process
We can all do anything we want to
If we really put our heart, soul & mind
Into our noble object, look at me
When I first started on the boxing road
I had two jobs, a wife, couple of kids,
& still I had to train & train real hard
There were struggles & barriers of pain
But if you would position your right foot
In front of you, & then the left behind,
& lurch the back forward, you’ll soon find
You’re headin’ for the gardens of thy hopes

There is applause / the Governor steps up & stills the applause

Governor West
Thank you Mister Frazier, all of us here
Are so very proud of what you’ve achiev’d
Would like to show our appreciation
With this small gift, engrav’d in your honour

Governor West gives Joe Frazier a gold-wrapp’d silver and black jewellery box

Joe Frazier
All righty – I appreciate that, thanks

Governor West
Congratulations, South Carolina
Adores you at this moment, aint that right

More applause – Frazier waves then exits

Scene 23

Pleasington, California / George Foreman is stood in the street chatting to two white girls, Sandy & Lucy

This body you possess, Mr Foreman
Flows pectorially perfect, Sandy
Place your hands here with pressure’s lightsome flight
Touching this point, feeling tectonic force
Upheaving from Earth’s core into this heart
Which beats the smelt of blood as if the drums
Of war did thunder oer Montana’s plains

{feeling Foreman’s chest}
Hmm – Hmm – why, that is a wonderful thing

How often do you train, Mr Foreman

George Foreman
George, girls, call me George, why every day

But not all day, tell us about your nights

Do you have time for play before you sleep
For we love playful funtimes after dark

Tonight the both of us have nothing on

Would you like to see us with nothing on

Enter Officer Kendricks

Officer Kendricks
Excuse me ladies, is he troubling you

Not at all officer

George Foreman
They came to me

Its George Foreman, the boxer,

We’re big fans

So what are you gonna do officer,
Arrest him for being to good looking
I’d leave my white husband in an instant
For half an hour of passion with this man

Officer Kendricks
You’d better move along ladies, right now


Officer Kendricks
I said move it

See you later George

Officer Kendricks
Move it, move it, I’m watching you Foreman
My name is Officer Ty Kendricks, boy
& yours aint nothin’ in comparison
Famous boxer or not you’re a nigger
To me

George Foreman
& all the Confederacy
A century has pass’d since Gettysburg
Destroyd satanic tangents down which slaves
Driven by shameful, disgraceful mutants
Sir, this is now nineteen seventy two
& Civil Rights permit my right to claim
Your use of nigger as a deep offence
But.. I’ll forgive you for your ignorance
Education beats humilation

Officer Kendricks
What you call me boy, you want some of this
{Foreman squares off to him / Officer Kendricks spits}
I’m watching you

George Foreman
& I’m watching you leave


From civil rights by candlelight
In guru kinda places
To rubbing wax on cadillacs
To put them thro’ their paces
Gonna drive round town with my hood down
Saying fuck you to the racists

There’s black power running thro’ my beat
Feel the freedom in my feet
See me rising in the street
Black Power

Well here’s my fist & here’s a list
Of all my consternations
It’s been two strides forward one drag back
Since our emancipation
In brotherhood our mothers’ blood
Defines us as one nation

There’s black power running thro’ my beat
Feel the freedom in my feet
See me rising in the street
Black Power

Let it roll thro my soul
We are fast & we are strong
Gonna fight the past, gon right the wrong
Cos there’s black power running thro’ my vein
Lionesses stroke my mane
Watching white men on the wane
Black Power
Back power running thro’ my beat
Feel the freedom in my feet
Gon see us rising in the street

Exit Officer Kendricks, Lucy & Sandy / enter Don King

Don King
Powerful song from a powerful man

George Foreman

Don King
Allow me to introduce myself
My name is King, Don King, a businessman

George Foreman
So, what’s your business

Don King
Boxing promotion
I see an opportunity in thee
Whose supreme being fills me with intent
To send your essence thro’ the wider world
I’ve never seen such miracles of strength
Credibility crowning performance
Your foes disintegrating at your gaze

George Foreman
What are you saying

Don King
Joe Frazier

George Foreman

Don King
He says he’ll fight you if the price is right

George Foreman
I aint ready for Joe

Don King
Sure you are,
Three hundred & seventy five thousand
Fills me with thy possible transcendence

George Foreman
How much?

Don King
Its by Jamaica guaranteed
Shewing a world beyond America
Where black men making money never hear
Their genius defam’d as crooked wiles

George Foreman
I still don’t know, Joe’s scary, that left hook
Which floor’d Ali with pristine precision
Still haunts my soul, I seen it sixty times
When as long as Frazier’s the heavyweight
Champion of the world, I got no chance

Don King
Son, undeliver your defeatism,
It is the boxer’s business to be more,
Not less, than man… with thee I dig deep faith
Joe Frazier boxes like an old blind man
Tapping his stick around for one good punch,
But with that reach of yours he won’t get close
For eagerly astounded I have been
By all your battles’ rich abilities

George Foreman
I guess when I lay my fists on these guys
It feels as if Archdruid I’ve became
Wielding a blade temper’d in dragonsbreath

Don King
Less Druid, more Adonis fully-form’d
Thou art as marvellous a specimen
As might be found in all our Human rolls
To never flinch at challengers the print
Of champions, Frazier picks no-hopers,
Beats with them ease, thus his force is dulling,
Straining the lack sharpness from his mind,
Yet what an abundant promise of wealth
Ticks in your heart, & you’ve got hunger too

George Foreman
Nevertheless his fighting’s infernal,
He’s never lost a bout, & beat Ali,
Whose ‘Greatest’ ego-tag unratified

Don King
That fight with Ali left Joe Frazier spent
As if he’d won the Kentucky Derby
Destin’d to never run so fast again
Sithen he has continued as a barge
Cruises canals of glass tranquillity,
While favourites can fall if they refuse
To scout ahead all fences in a race
Before it run – he’s never seen you fight,
Or if he has, fairly unfancies thee,
But I don’t, George, I think you’re fantastic

George Foreman
You really want me to fight Joe Frazier

Don King
I do, brother, the contract’s ready, form’d
& by the lord in Heaven preordain’d

George Foreman
OK – I’ll read it

Don King
The world is waiting
To crown its next heavyweight champion

George Foreman
I’ll let you know tonight what I’ll decide
Come meet me in that diner over there
At seven o’ clock

Don King
Sure, I will be there

George Foreman
O, & Mr King, thank you very much

Don King
You know it makes sense, lets make some money
& bend this exhibition to the bout

Exit Don King – Foreman starts to analyse the contract

Scene 24

Vernon / the Great Gorge Playboy Club: Joe Frazier is relaxing with a newspaper eating his breakfast / enter Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner
Morning Joe

Joe Frazier
Good morning Mr Heffner

Hugh Hefner
Do call me Hugh, so how is your breakfast

Joe Frazier
This sausages & bacon taste sublime

Hugh Hefner
Only the best at the Playboy Hotel
Twenty million dollar luxury
Salubrious among the Vernon hills,
The Sinatras, Harry Belafonte
Have play’d, Dean Martin, Duke Ellington too
Our entertainment’s Vegas, food gourmet,
Our famous pool’s fit for Olympians,
There’s twenty seven holes of sterling golf,
Jacuzzis & spas &…

Joe Frazier
Its magical, Hugh,
But a strange place to train, all these bunnies
Bouncing about my body & my brain
The very antithesis of Sparta

Hugh Hefner
To see our newly-form’d facilities
Put to the test by a man such as you
Redeems the validation of my dream
You are the world Champion after all
How long, & for free, would you care to stay
At the Great Gorge?

Joe Frazier
Well, I’ve been here a week
I’d like to reside another ten days
It would have been longer but for the snow
I need to run, you see, for stamina
Atlantic City’s where I’ll burn those miles

Hugh Hefner
Seems like you’re training harder for Foreman
Than Roy stander & Terry Daniels

Joe Frazier
Well I would say yeah, not because of Foreman,
But I’ve been out a little longer, dig
George is young & strong, he’s a big fella
Who’ll try out all the tricks in book & box
To take that title

Hugh Hefner
What about that size
He’ll tower over you as did Ali

Joe Frazier
Well, I got all the remedy for that
I’ll get underneath & keep myself low
As much as possible, while otherwise
I’ve got a new thing for him, you’ll see me
Hitting George with a host of jabs this time

Hugh Hefner
His reach is long, you don’t mind getting hit

Joe Frazier
I aint gonna fail like no Bay of Pigs
I do mind getting hit, but it’s a game
Y’know what I mean, if you go out there
You expect to get hit – I don’t worry
About tiring, I know can take it,
But only time does tell what will happen
& I’m getting myself together well,
But fear is absent from my agile thoughts
He swings too wide, I’ll teach him a lesson
Like all those other guys before my fists
He’s never felt the clipfull rough of hurt
& yeah, what he did to George Chuvalo
Ruffl’d a fly surprisement – but I got
Too much command of motion in that ring
To see no other outcome but a win

Hugh Hefner
& then you are ya gonna fight Muhammad
He’s still the first pretender to your crown

Joe Frazier
The Number One Contender, who’s he fought
Some bruis’d up boys I’ve already beaten
Ali was floor’d, while Foreman’s never lost
But when I slay him in a flash of sweat
Another tilt I’ll give to Ali, sure
& next time knock him out

Hugh Hefner
I’m sure you will

Hugh Hefner
Joe Frazier
That nigger makes me mad as murderers
He’s really only in it for the dough
Y’know, sometimes he calls me up at night
Spittin’ ‘we’re big & bad, why don’t we fight
& carping all the while about the purse
While preaching to the world I aint no good

Hugh Hefner
I guess you gotta wait til the four-square
To shut his puss

Joe Frazier
Yeah – I just don’t like him

Enter Kitty, a waitress, carrying a breakfast tray

Here you are, Mr Frazier, your breakfast

Joe Frazier
Can I get another pot of coffee

Of course, Mr Frazier

Hugh Hefner
Thank-you Kitty

Joe Frazier
Wait – & a couple more rounds of toast, please
With skippy peanut butter dollop’d on

Why, anything for you, Mr Frazier
{Exit Kitty}
My girls think you’re cute

Joe Frazier
I’m a married man
Mr Heffner

Hugh Hefner
She’s a lucky woman
Amidst this siren sensuality
You’re still obsessed with boxing

Joe Frazier
That’s my bag
But as for Cassius Clay, give me five
Months off after Foreman, then I’ll fight him

Hugh Hefner
I hope such things transpire as you predict
For now I am a Frazier man, to see
Strength temper’d by tender humility
Cast in a lamp of powerful illume,
I’ll blink in wonder at thy mighty light,
But please excuse my lowly sycophance
There’s business to attend to, & my girls –
Enjoy your day, we can meet this evening
For dinner with my Bunnies, if you’ll wish

Joe Frazier
I’ll be there

Exit Hugh / enter Kitty

Your coffee Mr Frazier

Thanks Kitty

You’re very welcome – enjoy

Exit Kitty / Frazier continues his breakfast

Scene 25

Las Vegas, the International Hotel – Elvis is singing a medley of patriotic songs; The Battle Hymn of the Republic / Dixie / All My Trials Lord

Elvis Presley
Ladies, Gentlemen, thank you very much,
Now tonight, in the audience, I’m told
There’s a very special human being
Who says he’s the greatest ever boxer
& I’ll have to agree – are you out there
Muhammad Ali, stand up, where are you

I’m not the greatest – you are the greatest

Elvis Presley
Either way – welcome to Las Vegas, man

It’s good to be here, but you’re the greatest
You are the King

Elvis Presley
Why don’t you come back stage when I’m finish’d

Sure thing

Elvis Presley
Do you have a favourite song

Yeah, man – I dig Don’t be Cruel

Elvis Presley
Alright boys

Elvis counts down & they play Don’t Be Cruel

Scene 26

Las Vegas, the International Hotel, backstage / Elvis is gather’d with his small, skinny entourage – enter Muhammad Ali with his big, beefy entourage

Hey, that’s Elvis – he looks pretty good!’

Elvis Presley
Muhammad Ali, welcome my brother

MA & Elvis look at each other like good-looking women appraising how they look.

Elvis Presley, aw man, thank-you so much
That was one heck of a foot-stomping show
Boy, you can dance, what an entertainer

Elvis Presley
Every night, man, every night

You work hard

Elvis Presley
Too hard

Same for me in the fighting game
No train, no pain, no gain, gotta be done

Elvis Presley
Hey, you wanna drink

Water, please
You know what they say, water’s for winners

Elvis Presley
Sure thing
& your boys

They’ll have the same

Elvis Presley
Joseph, attend to our guests will you, please
So, Ali, alright if I call you that


Elvis Presley
Well, I like to keep in shape you know
I’m into karate


Elvis Presley

Elvis takes a karate pose / MA squares off to him / suddenly Elvis sweeps MA’s feet & floors him / there is an awkward look between them then MA burst into laughter, as does the room

Hey, man, where dya learn to pull that fast trick

Elvis Presley
There’s a real good dojo, downtown Vegas
I’m into it very deeply, & now
I’m thinkin’ of getting into boxing

No way, you’re too pretty to do boxing
You stay singing & I’ll do the fighting

{passing round cokes}
Here you go boys

Bundini Brown
Thank you very much

Was such a fan of yours when I was young
Was maybe fifteen years old at the time
In ‘56, your epic breakthro’ year
When pelvic vibrations shook the quimmage
Of millions of burgeoning girls
Hanging off each defiant gyration
Phenomenal whirling dervish desires
While all the black boys lov’d to hear you sing
Their gospel music to a bluesman’s beat
Animalistical, miscegenous
Ensorcelling with such brazen voltage
I remember watching you on TV
& wanted to be just like you, other kids
In the neighborhood listen’d to Ray Charles,
James Brown, cats like that, but I was list’ning
To Elvis Aaron Presley, & admir’d
You so much & verily decided
If I was ever going to be famous
I’d do it just like you, & so I have
In my own way, being maharajas
Of vocational principalities,
We entertain our people, earn fealties
& loyalty & love from the masses

Elvis Presley
There are certain similarities, yeah

Where you can so sing good, well I got speed
Where you got soul I got a knock-out punch
& for a white man you’re pretty pretty
& boy, we both can dance, we got the moves

Elvis Presley
Well, you have got your show, & I’ve got mine

& let me tell you something else

Elvis – uou have your show & i have mine

Elvis Presley
Go on

When you made a promise to your mama
That when you’d money made you’d buy a car
& house for her, & so you did

Elvis Presley
That’s right
She brought us up in swampfoot poverty
But all the time with love & song & smiles
Twas the least that I could do

I remember saying with my teenage heart
Flush’d with untramell’d enthusiasm,
‘When I get rich and famous I will but
My mama a nice car & then a house
& after my first pro fight, man, I did
I bought her a shiny pink cadillac
& after my second I bought my folks
A brand new house, just like Elvis Presley
Yeah, you’re the greatest

Elvis Presley
Let’s say we both are
&, well, especially you, thou art an
Art-enchanter, master lov’d by masters,
But listen, man, I knew you were coming
& I got you a gift made up

You did

Elvis Presley
I did, yeah, Joseph

Aw, man, if I’d known
We were doing gifts

Elvis Presley
Man, we’d never met
It’s fine, but I really wanted to show
My appreciation of what you do
& what you mean to all of us who say
Your name with veneration – open it

What’s this

Elvis Presley
It’s a robe for the ring, unique
Hand-crafted to a sim’lar style of mine
Across the back, emblazon’d, can you see
Reads, ‘People’s Choice’ in rhinestones & jewels,

Wow man, this don’t look cheap

Elvis Presley
It cost three grand

Wuu – three thousand dollars for a jacket

Elvis Presley
It’s a robe, man,

I don’t know what to say

Elvis Presley
Just promise me you’ll wear it in the ring
Therein shall be thy thank-you

Of course – eh, can I ask you something

Elvis Presley

Why did you have the People’s Choice inscrib’d

Elvis Presley
That’s your nickname, right,

No, not exactly
They call me the People’s Champion

Elvis Presley

The People’s Champion, not People’s choice

Elvis Presley
Aw man – look I’ll get it redone for you

Naw man, it’s fine, I love it, it’s from you
Elvis Aaron Presley, my fair idol
Taking the time & money for to please
Little Cassius Clay, as I was then
Ah man, this is the sweetest thing ever
I’ll treasure it for always & beyond
The Choice or Champion, it matters not

Elvis Presley
You sure

Of course man

Bell rings

Elvis Presley
Well, that’s me, show time
It was really good to meet you Ali

& you Elvis

Elvis Presley
What you doing later

I’m afraid that I’ve got an early night
I’m up at 4 AM for my training

Elvis Presley
That’s about when I’ll be going to bed
Rock & Roll is not an early riser

I’m sure ! well you take care brother

Elvis Presley
& you

They shake hands

Man you are pretty

Hey, Elvis, let’s go

Elvis Presley
Goodbye man, see you around

& soon
{exit Elvis}
You know I don’t admire nobody, but
He’s the sweetest, humblest and nicest man
You’d ever want to know, & now I do
Come on, let’s go & watch the second half
Bye boys


Elvis associate
Man, when he swept Ali’s legs
I thought we were dead

I know what you mean
That was the most peculiar moment
I’ve ever seen in all my backstage days

Elvis starts singing in the background – they begin twiddling their thumbs with the nonchalance of having heard the concert hundreds of times

Scene 27

Los Angeles / George Foreman is training for the Sunshine Showdown / a musical interlude / Foreman is Shadowboxing (hooks, jabs, uppercuts)/ at the Punch bag with Eddie Futch & Yank Durham / Skipping / Push-ups / Sparring / Enter Bryant Gumble & a cameraman

Bryant Gumble
This is Bryant Gumble, NBC News
George Foreman is here in Los Angeles
Publicizing his January fight
With Joe Frazier next year in Jamaica
He’s looking strong, an athlete in good shape,
So George, can we stop you for a minute
{George stops training}
George, how fares thoughts on your fight upcoming
With Frazier

George Foreman
Mine opportunity knocks
But this is not his opportunity
That’s my big advantage – he’s had his chance
& dines, now, with kings, queens & presidents
But with nineteen seventy three drawn nigh
That year might well be my mine, my time to shine,
That’s the opportunity, intend I
To take advantage of it, I aint had
Much television like this, I want this,
He’s tired of it, makes fame an every day
Occurrence, but not me, this is my time

Bryant Gumble
Does it upset you, does it bother you
When people belittle your skills, & say
You’ve fought with failures, skittl’d nobodies

George Foreman
No, not really, it depends whom utters
Are you saying that

Bryant Gumble

George Foreman
Well, alright then
I like to think that every time i fight
I go out to make all my opponents
Look like nothing, & I hope Joe Frazier
Goes down in likewise manner, like the rest

Bryant Gumble
Thanks George

George Foreman
You’re welcome

Foreman returns to training

Bryant Gumble
Foreman’s fresh & good –
Since Ali, Frazier has only fought twice
& both of those opponents nobodies
Unless he’s ready Joe’ll have quite a fight
Upon his hands in Jamaica, next year;
I’ve been Bryant Gumble, NBC news

Exit Bryant / Foreman stops training

George Foreman
I’m really gonna have to do it now
But how the hell am I gonna beat him

Eddie Futch
Well, he is a very clever boxer
& smart enough to win the world entire
Protecting the button he hides his chin
Behind fantastic defences, if chin
Feels unassailable, ignore it plain,
Use your height & hit him on his headtop

Yank Durham
I don’t think there’s nothing to worry on
He’s far too nonchalant, he’s gone too soft
Fancy clothes, cadillacs & chevrolets

Eddie Futch
One of them’s a thirty-four

George Foreman
I seen it

Yank Durham
A swimming pool shap’d like a boxing glove
By four hundred thousand dollars of home
Such trappings of success an ancient trap
When warriors prefer women & wine
& hearths & rugs instead of open fields,
Then they’ll soon miss the missile in the fray

George Foreman
But everything you’d never want to face
In boxing Frazier’s got

Eddie Futch
I’d do the same
But better – if he tries to move in close
Stop him, block him, get out of the way
Then when he’s open pulverize & pound

Yank Durham

George Foreman
I wish I felt your confidence
A tougher cookie I aint ever seen
With vicious left hooks and rights to the side
He’s buzzsaw, giant killer, a machine,
Aint lost a fight since nineteen sixty four
To Buster Mathis at the Flushing trials
& has since decimated the divison

Eddie Futch
But you succeeded Frazier’s golden torc
& you have never lost a single fight

Yank Durham
Just keep going George, we believe in you

Eddie Futch
Yeah, back to work, pick up that skipping rope

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