Interview with Edwin Pope

Talk to me more about sports writers, Cassius Clay bursting on the scene and manipulation. You said all of a sudden there was a writer, uh fighter they couldn't manipulate.


Traditionally writers and fighters have always gotten along together. Writing, fighting has been a really, a treasure-trove of material for writers, all the way from Jack London to Ernest Hemingway to Jimmy Cannon to Red Smith. Writers love fighters and fighters loved writers. Always a great relationships. Joe Louis would do anything, sit still for anything you wanted to do, sit down and talk to you all day. Anything you wanted was fine that, that most fighters could help you with. And suddenly, in Cassius Clay, ah, before he become Muhammad Ali and after, you had a fighter that, I don't know whether manipulate is a right word or not, but you had a fighter that wouldn't do what you exactly, what you wanted him to do. He wasn't always at your beck and call. It was very disconcerting to a lot of the older writers. I think they resented this. Ah, I don't think they saw a new wave coming, a new generation, any, any great sociological change but they weren't comfortable with Cassius Clay or Mu- before Ali or after he became Muhammad Ali. He was an, a real unknown quantity for them, as well as ev- everybody else.