Cassius Clay predicts the future
Cassius Clay predicts the future
Cassius Clay predicts the future
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Cassius Clay predicts the future

Gerry Cranham

“They all fall in the round I call,” boasted Cassius Clay, later Muhammad Ali, of his uncanny ability to predict when he would defeat his opponents. The brash young American boxer told reporters it would take only five rounds to finish off Britain’s Henry Cooper in their first contest in 1963 – as displayed in this memorable image by Gerry Cranham, shot at a training hall in Shepherd’s Bush. However, the fight didn’t exactly go to plan. In the final seconds of the fourth round, it was Clay who hit the deck, dizzied by a left hook from his bloodied opponent. He was so badly shaken, in fact, that myth has it his trainer, Angelo Dundee, surreptitiously worsened a tear in his gloves, forcing an inspection between the rounds that bought his fighter valuable extra seconds in which to recover. When the fight resumed … well, you know the rest: Cooper was vanquished in the fifth, just as Clay had prophesied.

Photograph: Gerry Cranham / Offside

Words: Jonny Weeks



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