Ali, Boxing History

Muhammad Ali Spars with Brother Rahman Training for Jerry Quarry

Muhammad Ali Spars with Brother Rahman Training for Jerry Quarry

Cus D’amato analyzes Muhammad Ali with Angelo Dundee and Drew Bundini Brown.



1970 Atlanta

Muhammad Ali’s fight against Quarry was his first since he knocked out Zora Folley in seven rounds on March 22, 1967. His layoff was due to his refusal to be drafted into the United States Army and subsequent legal battles. “It is the light of my consciousness as a Muslim minister and my own personal convictions that I take my stand in rejecting the call to be inducted in the armed services,” Ali stated after refusing induction on April 28, 1967. “I have searched my conscience and I find I cannot be true to my belief in my religion by accepting such a call.” He was convicted of draft evasion on June 20, 1967. Ali was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000, the maximum penalty for the offense. He remained free on a $5,000 bond while he appealed his conviction. Ali was also stripped of the World Heavyweight Championship by the New York State Athletic Commission and the World Boxing Association, systematically denied a boxing license in every state and stripped of his passport.

With the help of Georgia State Senator Leroy Johnson, Ali was able to get a boxing license in Georgia. On September 2, 1970, he boxed an eight-round exhibition at Morehouse College in Atlanta. It was the first time Ali had boxed in public since a six-round exhibition in Detroit, Michigan, on June 13, 1967.

A fight between Ali and Quarry was arranged for October 26 at City Auditorium in Atalanta. Contracts were signed in New York City on September 10. The bout was promoted by House of Sports, Inc., headed by Senator Johnson, and by Sports Action Inc., headed by Harold Conrad. “People think now that the Supreme Court decision is what allowed Ali to fight, but that didn’t come until later,” Conrad told author Thomas Hauser for his book “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times.” “All it took was politics and money and three years of trying until we worked things out in Georgia.”

Previous ArticleNext Article