Prizefighting: Theater of the Absurd

Nobody can deny that Cassius Marcellus Clay, 23, has an affinity for fantasy. Last week in Lewiston, Me., Cassius fought a fight that did not seem to be a fight, threw a punch that did not look like a punch, scored a knockout that the referee did not realize was a knockout, and set a record that turned out to be no record. In the process, Cassius clearly established himself as the heavyweight champion of the world and a consummate actor—in the theater of the absurd.

The background music was perfect: outside the...

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