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Cassius Clay: “English Don’t Understand Me”

June 3, 1963 - Cassius Clay (pictured today clowning with 6-year-old fan Patrick Power), disappointed by reaction to his boasts about what he will do to Henry Cooper, wants to return from London to the United States because “the English people don’t understand me.” But Jack Solomons, who is promoting the bout June 18 at Wembley Stadium, refused Clay permission to fly home for 5 days. Clay arrived in Britain last week to help publicize the fight. In that respect, he has been successful because Solomons is forecasting a sellout. But Clay has been mostly a failure in winning fans for himself. Clay has told British reporters that he is the “most beautiful” fighter in the world and that Cooper is “crazy” to fight him. Later, he stalked out of a T.V. studio in the middle of an interview when the interviewer told him, “You talk too much.” British fans have been more angered than impressed by Clay’s poetic forecasts that “Cooper will fall in five” and by his references to the 29-year-old British champion as “a bum…a cripple…a no-good.” “If I just say what I am going to do,” Clay said today, “they say I’m rude. Then if I don’t say anything, they say I’m rude.”


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