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Cassius Clay Speaks Out at Idlewild

June 19, 1963 - Cassius Clay, the undefeated heavyweight fighter home from his conquest of England, had a lot to say today at New York’s Idlewild Airport. After pummeling Henry Cooper into oblivion, Clay announced he was ready for world champion Sonny Liston “if the money is right.” “I want a $1.5 million guarantee and half the TV money,” he told Idlewild interviewers. “Sure I want to fight Liston, but I got to get my cut. If I’m not satisfied, I’ll fight the other bums like I been doing.” “The fight will draw $15 million,” Cassius continued. “And if Telstar is working, it will draw a hundred million. I’m very big in those foreign countries. They love me over there.” Liston has prior business, however — a defense of his title against Floyd Patterson at Las Vegas on July 22. In stating that a Clay-Liston fight would outdraw even “Cleopatra,” Cassius made proud reference to the fact that the current Cleo, Elizabeth Taylor, was at ringside in London.


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