Charles Bronson

Muhammad Ali: Zaniness in Zaire

Muhammad Ali

Under moonlight at 3 o'clock in the morning, without a sound but frogs croaking in symphony along the banks of a mighty 2,900-mile river that coursed from the South Atlantic through the veins of Africa's continent, Muhammad Ali suddenly appeared, moving at a jogger's gait in heavy work boots. Right behind Ali, huffing and puffing, came another man, old enough to be his father. He was Norman Mailer, the noted author, who had persuaded Ali to permit him to tag along.

Mailer, short and stocky and dressed in gray sweats, began wheezing and pulled up, gasping, "Champ! Champ . . . I'm going to . . . I'm going to . . . stop."

He doubled over. On ran Ali, along the...