Prizefighting: With Mouth & Magic

There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats.

—Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene 3

But there was. In Miami Beach last week, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. acted out a scene that was worthy of the Old Bard himself—or maybe P. T. Barnum. Just as he said he would, he took the heavyweight championship of the world away from Charles ("Sonny") Liston thereby proving that the mouth is faster than the eye.

Clay's mouth was practically supersonic. "I am the greatest," he chattered. "I am the prettiest. I am so pretty that I can hardly...

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