Oprah: I hear boxers say that, but the other person is unconscious—so maybe he's hurt! For you, knocking someone upside the head doesn't seem like a violent act?
Muhammad: It's nothing personal. God knows that my purpose was not to hurt the guy for life but just to beat him.
Oprah: So it was all for sport and never personal?
Muhammad: Well, some of it was personal.
Oprah: Was it personal with your longtime rival Joe Frazier?
Muhammad: Because of personal things he said about me.
Oprah: You said some pretty personal things about him, too.
Muhammad: I called him a gorilla.
Oprah: I read recently that you had some regrets about calling him that.
Muhammad: No regrets. Someone from Newsday called because he heard I didn't mean for the things I'd said to hurt Frazier. But I wasn't going to get on my knees and crawl and beg him to forgive me.
Oprah: Some reports made it sound like you were apologizing to Joe. That's not true?
Muhammad: No. Last March was the 30th anniversary of the first fight, so the press would have liked for that to be true.
Oprah: Thank you for clearing that up!
Muhammad: Joe Frazier is still a gorilla.
Oprah: Why—because you feel he disrespected you by not calling you Muhammad Ali for a long time?
Muhammad: That didn't bother me. He just used that for publicity.
Oprah: What are you going to say to Howard Cosell when you see him in heaven? Will everything be okay between you?
Muhammad: If he's there—or if I'm there.
Oprah: We all know you were the greatest in the ring. Were you also the greatest as a husband, father, and friend?
Muhammad: I tried to be.
We Hear You!