Interview with Edwin Pope

Now, th- th- the weeks, the months or whatever before the fight, a lot of hype, a lot of energy going down. Was there, was there any doubt on your part as to whether th- Liston could beat him?


No, no, I had no doubt whatever that, ah, Sonny Liston would absolutely demolish Cassius Clay, not a doubt, not a doubt. At one time I believe Liston was a 20 to 1 favorite. Liston was a very, very tough egg. Ah, he did time in Jefferson City, Missouri for, ah, for really bashing some heads in. And, ah, he fought the same way as he acted on the street. He was merciless. He wasn't the fastest guy in the world but he had a left jab that would just hit you like anybody else's left hook. and the very idea of this spindly kid from Louisville, just out of the Olympics going in there with Liston, it had so many fights, in and out of the ring, and having a chance, was impossible for anybody to digest.** No one of any standing, everybody says now, we knew Cassius Clay was going to be great, and a lot of people had the idea he was going to be great. Believe me, no one thought he had a Chinaman's chance against Sonny Liston. It was a complete shock.