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Ali arrived with an hour to go before the fight. Even before he got out of his streetclothes he was moving around the room, snapping out the jabs and staring at himself in the mirrors. "This room's too crowded," he said. "I want room to rest."
The room was cleared except for the entourage he would take to the ring, along with two interns assigned to the fight, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. I was allowed to stay. I crouched in a corner with a notebook open. Ali stripped quickly. He pulled on a pair of white boxing trunks and turned slowly in front of the mirror. "I am the champ," he said softly. "He must fall." He tried out the Ali shuffle, his white gym shoes snapping against the floor. -- from Shadow Box