“Why?” some of the spenders were asked as they filed into the Garden or lined up at a ticket window outside. Why would someone pay from $20 to $100 or more to see something they could have watched at home for free?
“Because I’m one of these idiots,” answered Ronald Clare, a Manhattan attorney who grew up in Harlem. “I want the smoke, the noise, the inconvenience, the traffic jams. Everything. A $30 bite for the ticket, $10 for dinner, $5 for parking – and probably a fight with my wife when I get home –she doesn’t like boxing.”
If any of the customers thought they had been short-changed, they got their money’s worth with dollars to spare in the last three tumultuous rounds.
“It’s the magnetism of Ali,” said Llewellyn Clark who bought a $20 ticket that would put him in the upper reaches of the Garden near the rafters. “People want to see Ali in person, see what he looks like. It’s not the same as watching on TV.”
Ali’s Bravado Is Back For Fight Tonight Steve Cady 9/29/77
“He’s the house slave, that Uncle Tom they put against the other slave. I’m the bold slave, the rebel slave.”
This will be the first heavyweight title bout at MSG since March 8, 1971, when Ali lost a 15-round decision to Joe Frazier in a championship meeting billed as “The Fight.” Ali was in the role of challenger at the time. He has never been defeated in a title defense during his two championship reigns.
NYT Cady 9/29/77