Muhammed Ali looked drained and exhausted when he faced newsmen at Quezon in the Philippines on Wednesday (1 October), shortly after the toughest fight of his unique career.
GV Ali leaving ring after fight
SV Frazier speaks at news conference
SV Ali speaking to newsmen
TRANSCRIPT: REPORTER: "How much trouble were you in Joe?"
FRAZIER: "Felt groggy."
REPORTER: "How beat up ..... (INDISTINCT) ...."
FRAZIER: "Well not beat up. I just couldn't see. My eyes were closing and I just couldn't see what I was doing."
REPORTER: "Were you hurt, Joe? Were you hurt?"
FRAZIER: "I wouldn't say I was hurt because I felt I could have continued."
REPORTER: "Joe, were you disappointed?"
FRAZIER: "Well I wasn't happy about it. I wanted to continue going on."
ALI: "He's great and when I say great -- this guy is a star and he can be successful. I think he fought a good fight. It was close, near, the last round, it was close. Could have gone either way ... INDISTINCT ... And it was my round and I pulled it out, and the constant pounding finally took effect. But he is great. Out of all ... there are no other fighters today -- I ask myself, who could beat Joe Frazier. I'm risking myself, wearing foreman. He hasn't gone a round for a year, to prove that his first defeat of Norton weren't no luck. And I want Norton to prove that his victory over Quarry, who's almost washed up, but still he fought a good fight ... INDISTINCT ... And if I do fight again, I'll fight the one off. But there's a great possibility fellows, this might be my last fight tonight. A great possibility you've probably saw the last of Ali. I'm concerned ... considering retiring, and let Norton, Foreman, Frazier, whoever, fight for the title. I want to get out ... I still reign supreme, right. I still reign supreme."(CHEERING AND CLAPPING)
Muhammed Ali leaves the ring in Quezon City in the Philippines after one of the greatest heavyweight fights of all time. His defeated opponent, joe Frazeir, told newsmen how he felt.
Shortly after it was Ali's turn to face the reporters.
Initials BB/1905 NPJ/AH/BB/1920
This film is serviced with sound extracts from news conferences given by Frazier and Ali. A transcript of their remarks follows:
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Muhammed Ali looked drained and exhausted when he faced newsmen at Quezon in the Philippines on Wednesday (1 October), shortly after the toughest fight of his unique career. He gave them a strong hint that he might hang up his gloves and vacate his World Heavyweight Boxing throne.
After retaining his title against Joe Frazier, whom he defeated in fourteen savage, bruising rounds in Quezon City's Coliseum, the 33 year-old champion declared, "There's a great possibility you probably saw the last of Ali. I'm considering retiring."
The fight was one of the greatest heavyweight title bouts of all time, and Ali may well have meant what he said and stick to his decision to walk away from the ring with the acclaim of his triumph echoing forever in his ears.
It took 42 thundering minutes for Ali to douse and extinguish Smokin' Joe and finally be able to claim he's "The Greatest" heavyweight of the modern era. The clash, before a roaring 25,000 crowd, included President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, produced a live gate of 1,500,000 U.S. dollars (750,000 sterling) It is probably the biggest income ever for an indoor fight.
But afterwards the Champion told newsmen, "I want to get out -- I'm tired". He said that George foreman, the former title-holder he knocked out in Zaire in eight rounds eleven months ago, second-ranked American heavy-weight Ken Norton and Frazier himself, could fight for his title among themselves.