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Clay Pronounced Fit and “Sharp” in Miami

Feb. 12, 1964 - Dr. Alexander Robbins (left) pronounced Cassius Clay “sharper” today than the heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston, for their title fight in Miami Beach on Feb. 25. “His physical reactions are sharper than the champion’s,” explained the examining physician for the Miami Beach boxing commission. “And he shows not the least sign of nervousness.” Clay, 22 years old, was officially examined at the Fifth Street gymnasium in Miami Beach after he had sparred six rounds.

Dr. Robbins said: “I was surprised at the remarkable physical development and condition of this young challenger. Remember, yesterday I had examined Liston and found him a remarkable specimen; but he is older than Clay, and his reactions are not as sharp.” The doctor also noted that Liston had displayed “extreme tension” about a half hour after yesterday’s examination when he angrily ordered a photographer to stop smoking a cigar during last-minute pictures as the champion was leaving the Surfside Auditorium.

Meanwhile, Cus D’Amato, still the nominal manager of ex-champion Floyd Patterson, dropped in to see Clay train today and came away with neither a ringing endorsement nor a denigration of the challenger’s chances. “Clay looked casual, that’s the only impression I got,” said Cus. “He must fight harder than he trains. I don’t take him cheap for the night of the 25th. He has had more experience than anybody gives him credit for, but still — well, he just looks casual, that’s all.”

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