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Cassius Clay's Goals: Win Heavyweight Title and "Liven Up" Boxing

Feb. 6, 1962 - Cassius Clay (pictured with trainer Angelo Dundee), a 20-year-old heavyweight from Louisville, told a gathering of New York ring writers today: “Boxing is not as colorful as it was in the past. We need more guys to liven it up, and I think I can help.” Clay, unbeaten in 10 fights, has a command of words not usually associated with a boxer. He also has confidence. The 1960 Olympic light-heavyweight champion doesn’t believe in starting at the bottom. “I want the top,” Cassius said. By the top, Clay meant Floyd Patterson the champion, and Sonny Liston, No. 2 in the heavyweight picture. “But my first choice right now is Liston,” Cassius said. “Then I want the champion.” But before Clay can pursue these ambitions, he must reckon with Sonny Banks Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Addressing the Metropolitan Boxing Writers’ Association at their luncheon meeting in Al and Dick’s Restaurant, Clay said: “If I don’t beat Banks, I’ll take the first jet plane out of the country.” Clay has knocked out seven opponents, including Alex Miteff of Argentina and German-born veteran Willi Besmanoff. Banks has won 10 of 12 fights, nine by knockouts. The two fighters will be making their debuts at the Garden.

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