NEW YORK (Oct. 29)
Cassius Clay’s triumphant comeback victory Monday night in Atlanta, after 43 months away from the boxing ring on draft-evasion charges, brought not only his fists but his pro-Arab views back to national and international attention. Asked by a New York Times reporter after the fight about a subsequent contest with heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, Clay replied: “To those who might want it, the fight will come. All those Jewish promoters–they’ll see that it comes off.” The reporter said the athlete smiled as he said it. Boxing insiders remarked today that Clay was insulting “the guys who went to bat for him”–specifically Harry Markson, the boxing director of Madison Square Garden in New York, and Sam Massell, the mayor of Atlanta. Observers noted that Clay, who prefers to be known by his Muslim name as Muhammad Ali, has a long record of sympathy to Arab causes, expressed in part by his spending his second honeymoon several years ago on a tour of Arab nations and being photographed with Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser. It was recalled, in this connection, that on the death of President Nasser the Muslim newspaper, “Muhammad Speaks,” front-page a warm tribute to the departed Arab by the sect’s leader, Elijah Muhammad.