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Clay Fails Selective Service Mental Test

Mar. 18, 1964 - Heavyweight champion Cassius Clay was reported today to have failed the arithmetic section of a Selective Service aptitude test for the second time and to have been ruled unsuitable for military service.

The Louisville Times said in a dispatch from its Washington bureau that the Army, because of Clay’s mathematical insufficiency, decided it could not use the boxer.

Army psychologists were reported to have applied check procedures after each of Clay’s failures that proved he was not faking his troubles with numbers.

Because of the public furor it was feared might result from exemption of such a physical specimen as Clay, the Army took the problem all the way to Secretary of the Army Stephen Ailes, who ruled Clay should not be inducted.

Clay first took the test at Coral Gables, Fla., on Jan. 25, and he was re-tested in Louisville last Friday on orders from Washington. Both times, he emerged from the test shaking his head and saying he was bothered by a section of the test that deals with patterns and shapes.

“Those little boxes bothered me,” Clay commented.

It was reported that word of the decision had been sent to Clay’s draft board in Louisville.

At his Harlem hotel, Clay said he had not heard directly about his most recent Army test and had no comment on it.

As for the future, he said: “I’m going to negotiate with Floyd Patterson for a fight, with everything going to charity — cancer. That way it’ll be for something worthwhile, and the Government won’t get it all.”


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