As Argentina's Oscar Natalio Bonavena sparred in a New York gymnasium on Wednesday (December 2) in preparation for his challenge bout against Cassius Clay (Muhammed Ali) next Monday night (December 7), his trainer, Gil Clancy, declared that Bonavena was strong enough to defeat Clay.
SV Bonavena (in white T-shirt) sparring - Crowd cheers
MV Interviewer with trainer Gil Clancy
SCU Clancy speaking (Practice shots of Bonavena overlaid)
TRANSCRIPT (SEQ 3):
CLANCY: "Well, right now Bonavena is int he best condition I've ever seen him in and since I've been working with him I've learnt to appreciate him more than I did before. He is what we call an awkwardly cute fighter. He's not as easy to hit as it seems. As his record shows, he's never been knocked out, he went twenty-five rounds with Joe Frazier and, believe me, if I managed Clay I would never have taken Oscar Bonavena as an opponent at this stage of the game. I think its a dangerous fight for Clay."
REPORTER: "But how do you think Bonavena can win - would it be a lucky punch?"
CLANCY: "No, there's no way he'll win on a lucky punch. He's not going to win on one punch. His strategy is going to be to tire out Clay, and then knock him out or beat him so badly in the last five rounds that they'll have to give him the decision.
REPORTER: "...(INDISTINCT) he's much faster than Bonavena, he'll hit-and-run, hit-and-run."
CLANCY: "Yeah, but then the ring is square not round, and we're playing a little strategy to make Clay fight. That's our strategy to make a fight out of it, a brawl -- and that's what I think it's going to be."
REPORTER: "Bonavena (INDISTINCT) working from a corner."
CLANCY: "Well, that's one of the things we have in mind for Clay -- to bring him in to a corner. Yes, that's about it."
REPORTER: "Bonavena's back to the corner -- or Clay's?"
CLANCY: "Well, you'll see it Monday night, its a little surprise we have for him."
REPORTER: "You don't think that Clay's reach and his height and his peed won't be factors that negate bonavena's possibilities of winning?"
CLANCY: "Oh, no -- those are his assets, and Bonavena has his assets. Bonavena has strength, stamina and probably a harder punch with either hand than Clay has."
Initials LD/JF/VC/1740 LD/JF/VC/1719
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: As Argentina's Oscar Natalio Bonavena sparred in a New York gymnasium on Wednesday (December 2) in preparation for his challenge bout against Cassius Clay (Muhammed Ali) next Monday night (December 7), his trainer, Gil Clancy, declared that Bonavena was strong enough to defeat Clay.
The 28-year-old Argentine fighter has already had one off-the-record verbal "bout" with the former World Heavyweight Champion - when they met at the medica examination on Tuesday (December 1). Bonavena taunted Clay, calling him "chicken" and referring to his refusal to be conscripted into the US Army. Clay retaliated with "I'll whip you so bad. you'll be ashamed to go back to Argentina."
But, Cassius Clay's claim is refuted by Trainer Clancy, who said: