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A Close Encounter With Cassius Clay

“I met Cassius Clay face to face some years back when he was still Cassius Clay,” remembers Nathanael Kapner. “Wow! What vitality! What greatness oozed out of him! He must have been one of the most beautiful human beings I ever laid eyes on.”

“It was in a luxury hotel in Los Angeles right before one of his fights (KO 5 Alejandro Lavorante on July 20th in 1962 which was Clay’s 15th professional fight). I was visiting my uncle and aunt and when I entered the lobby, there came out Cassius Clay from the elevator. Wow! He was something to behold!”

“He was prancing around the lobby, shadow-boxing, saying, ‘I am the greatest! I am the greatest!’ and everyone loved it.”

Kapner was drawn to the young boxer with the electric personality. “I went up to him and said, ‘Wow, Cassius, you look great!’ He answered, ‘Come on, sonny boy, feel my muscle.’”

“I felt it as he bent his arm and his bicep popped out a huge muscle. It was a memorable experience. Still brings a smile to my face.” (Artwork by Barrymore Alan Moton)

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