Muhammad Ali vs. Jerry Quarry (1st meeting)
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Muhammad Ali 213 lbs beat Jerry Quarry 198 lbs by RTD at 3:00 in round 3 of 15
- Date: 1970-10-26
- Location: City Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
- Referee: Tony Perez
- Judge: Bill Graham
- Judge: Lew Eskin
- 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."
- Quarry entered the fight as The Ring magazine's No. 1-rated heavyweight contender and the WBA's No. 3-rated heavyweight contender.
- Ali was guaranteed $200,000 against 42½ percent of the net income, and Quarry was guaranteed $150,000 against 22½ percent.
- The fight was shown on closed circuit TV in 206 locations in the United States and Canada. It was also beamed live to Asia, Australia, Europe and South America.
- There was a sellout crowd of 5,100 at City Auditorium.
- Ali opened a cut over Quarry's left eye with a right hand in the third round, which caused the fight to be stopped before the start of the fourth round. The cut required 15 stitches.
- Mark Kram of Sports Illustrated reported:
- With a cracking right hand, the speed of which seemed hardly impaired since he last fought, Ali cut Quarry over the left eye in the middle of the third round, a wound which would require 11 deep sutures and would not allow the Californian to come out for the fourth round. "It was not a butt," Quarry said before being stitched up, "and I don't want anybody saying that it was. It was a right hand." Referee Tony Perez did not stop the fight. It was Quarry's chief cornerman Teddy Bentham who did so, and with reason. Quarry, puzzled by Ali's unorthodox style and unwilling to commit himself, was unable to launch an effective attack. About all he could do was counter with winging left hooks, most of which missed or were brushed off, although he did land one solid punch—a right hand to the body in the second round. "If he didn't get cut," said Ali, "I think it might have gone 10 rounds." Indeed, Quarry seemed to be gaining confidence until the blood began streaming down his face. . . . In one sense the fight was indecisive, simply because of our uncertainty that Ali could go any distance. The quick appraisal that can be made—and that only because we have not seen him for so long—is that he does not seem to be pulling his head back as quickly as he used to. A much maligned move in his early days, this is one of the most vital aspects of his defense. Quarry did reach him on occasion, but was never in proper balance to be effective. Excepting this flaw, all else about Ali seemed to be intact—the rocking jab, the beautiful combinations and his general ring intelligence.