Muhammed Ali British Interview

Muhammad Ali’s interview in Britain (1963)


Rare Interview

Cassius Clay in Britain

The confident and cocky 21 year-old Muhammed Ali gets interviews in the UK before his 19th professional fight against Henry Cooper.

And here with me, with his bodyguard is Mr Cassius Marcellus Clay.

Young Muhammad Ali

Here’s a transcript of the interview:

Mr. Clay, this is a wonderful name of yours. Was your mother or your father ever interested in the arts or literature?

My father, he is an artist. Best in Louisville Kentucky. Because your brother is named Rudolph Valentino. That’s right. Your father liked William Shakespeare I presume, did he? – Ge read a bit about him but he wouldn’t be called a Shakespeare fan. Have you studied art yourself? Well, I can draw a little but I am mostly concentrating on fighting. I am busy knocking out all of this bums, I don’t have time to draw.

You are a bit of an actor as well, aren’t you Mr. Clay?

Well a. lot of people think I am acting, but if they’d be at Wembley stadium June 18th they’ll see I mean every word I say. Is this self-confidence in yourself perhaps a publicity gimmick as I understood? – A lot of people think it’s a publicity gimmick, but you can call it what you want.

I have had 180 amateur fights, won them all except 2. I have had 19 professional fights, won them all of course. Knocked out 15 and 13 of those 15 I predicted the exact round, you can call it a gimmick if you want it, but I am throwing the blows.

Cocky Muhammed Ali
Muhammed Ali being cocky

What is your impression of this little country of ours?

Well, Great Britain is a nice place but I am from America(United States) and I am not used to it. The cars are too small, the streets are too narrow. I like open spaces and I haven’t seen as many pretty girls ┬álike I do at home.

Are you terribly homesick then?

I can’t wait to get out… and a lot of this people are booing me and making remarks at me on the street, and that’s just going to make it hard on Henry Cooper.

Muhammed Ali vs Cooper
Muhammad Ali vs Henry Cooper

Are you going to finish Henry Cooper so quickly as you say?

Cooper will fall in five, and not only Henry Cooper, I have a middleweight her from the name of James Ellis. Your man will fall, right? All of them are gonna fall!

What is your impression of British heavyweights as a whole?

Well, I haven’t heard too much of British heavyweights, I know that he is a British Empire heavy weight champion, but he is not the champion in America, he is just a champion over here among te rest of this so-called fighters, but if he comes to America he is gonna get ran out.

You are only 21 years of age now, you said you are rather a pretty boy…

Prettiest fighter in the ring today, 180 amateur fights, 15 pros and Im as pretty as you and you don’t fight.

Aren’t you perhaps afraid that perhaps your pretty looks might get damaged in the ring?

The day they even look that they’re gonna be damaged, I’ll retire.

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