By Scoop Malinowski
Status: Former three-time World Heavyweight Champion.
DOB: January 7, 1942 In: Louisville, Kentucky
Childhood Heroes: Willie Pastrano.
Inspirations: My father used to tell me to believe I was the greatest and that I couldn’t be beat. He told me that I was going to be bigger than Joe Louis before I ever won a fight. Georgeous George (pro wrestler) told everybody he was the greatest, and people would show up at his wrestling match to see if he would kill or be killed. I realized that if I listened to my father and talked like Gorgeous George, I would always be fighting in front of a full house. I knew that if I was cocky or confident, half the people would be cheering for me, and the other half would want to see me get beat. But love me or hate me, they would all buy tickets to see me. It worked.
Favorite Movies: Westerns, Shane, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, horror films especially anything with Christopher Lee as Dracula. Films with great dance scenes, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Saturday Night Fever.
Favorite TV Shows: The Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, Police Woman.
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Vanilla.
Musical Tastes: Sam Cooke. Temptations – Just My Imagination, Ball of Confusion. Aretha Franklin. James Brown. The Isley Brothers. The Chi-Lites. Miracles. Four Tops. The Marvelettes. Marvin Gaye. Elvis – I saw him on The Ed Sullivan Show when I was nine. Don’t Be Cruel is the first song I ever knew all the words to. Elvis gave me a custom designed robe for my fight against Joe Bugner (which he wore for first Ken Norton fight). Beach Boys.
Favorite Boxer Of All Time: Jack Johnson.
Hardest Puncher: Earnie Shavers. He hit me one time so hard I heard bells and whistles.
Favorite Athletes To Watch: Jackie Robinson. Kareem. You can’t defend the sky hook. Duane Thomas – because he was surrounded by controversy. I love controversial players. Controversy is my middle name.
Favorite Meal: Lamb chops by Aunt Coretta.
(Note: I did a Biofile with Muhammad Ali at an NBA All Star Game dinner at a Manhattan hotel in 1998 but it was aborted when he asked me to not record him, so I went to get a pen and pad at my table but then his security guard blocked me from resuming the interview. Over the years I collected some Biofile data from various sources and was able to form this incomplete but still revealing Biofile.)