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Doug Jones Wants Shot at Clay’s Title

Mar. 12, 1964 - Doug Jones of New York, recently rated No. 1 challenger for Cassius Clay’s heavyweight championship, today started clamoring for a title shot and pleading with ring authorities for help.

“These ring bodies are meaningless unless they compel a champion to meet his most worthy challenger,” Jones said.

Jones, describing himself a “fighting challenger,” said he would be willing to meet any worthwhile opponent while waiting for Clay. He especially pointed out Floyd Patterson, former champ, as the contender he’d most like to meet right now.

“How does Patterson, twice knocked out by Sonny Liston in the first round, have the unmitigated gall to challenge Clay?” Jones asked. “Patterson has become an intellectual and self-appointed spokesman for the race. Let’s also see if he’s a fighter. I hereby also challenge Patterson to fight me.”

Patterson challenged Clay last week. A Roman Catholic, Floyd said he wished to take the heavyweight title out of the hands of the Black Muslims, to which Clay — or “Cassius X” or “Muhammad Ali,” the new name remains unclear — belongs.

Jones’s motive in challenging for the title was different. “Man, I want to be champion,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

One year ago tomorrow night, before a sellout crowd of 18,732 at Madison Square Garden, Jones lost a split, heavily disputed decision to Clay in 10 rounds (pictured).

“I beat Clay once, no matter how the officials voted,” Jones said today, “and I can beat him again. Only it is our feeling that Cassius Clay will not accept this challenge. There hasn’t been a fighting champion since Joe Louis. But I want to be a fighting challenger, and I have asked my manager to get me at least a fight a month. We will fight anywhere for any legitimate promoter, big or small. We are open to offers.”

Meanwhile, in Houston, Bill Swift, manager of Zora Folley, made a pitch for his man as well as other contenders such as Cleveland Williams and Eddie Machen.

“I hear now that Clay is thinking about defending the title against the Englishman, Henry Cooper,” said Swift. “Good grief! Zora knocked out Cooper in two rounds. It’s time they started recognizing that Folley, Machen, and Williams deserve a break in the heavyweight division.”


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