WHEN ALI WAS CASSIUS CLAY, WHITE BOXING WRITERS PITCHED A FIT

In February 1964, almost nobody believed in the challenger, or understood who he was. Nobody. The promoters had such trouble selling tickets to the fight that they cautioned Cassius Clay to keep his Muslim conversion quiet. Talk got around anyway that Malcolm X was coming to Miami and there was someone in his camp from the Nation of Islam, which only made the older white sportswriters more suspicious. Red Smith didn’t like those “unwashed punks” of the counterculture. Joe Louis was the right kind of dignified black champion; he kept his mouth shut and called columnist Jimmy Cannon “Mister.”

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/boxing-mma-wrestling/when-ali-was-still-clay-the-old-white-sportswriters-didnt-know-what-to-think/2016/06/04/e8bf4284-2a6f-11e6-a3c4-0724e8e24f3f_story.html

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