There are signs of a lack of harmony in Muhammad ALi's training camp as he grimly goes about preparing for his title defense against Leon Spikes on Wednesday night.
For the first time in a long while, Dr. Ferdy Pacheco will not be in his corner. Conveniently for him CBS offered Pacheco a position at the microphone as as analyst and he accepted.
Ali's management has been less than happy with Pacheco since he published a book entitled "Fight Doctor", detailing some of the copposition to him from elements in the black Muslim community.
Once, Pacheco was told that he would not be allowed by Ali's managementto inject a pain-killer in the champions hands because Pacheco was not totally trusted as a white man.But Ali eventually vetoed the instruction from his management and the injection was given.
Pacheco reportedly was not supposed to be in Ali's corner for his bout against Earnie Shavers, but again Ali overrode his management's sentiment.
Trainer Angelo Dundee was asked yesterday if the champion will be given an injection in his hands, which have had arthritis and calcium chips since he began his comeback after a 31-year lay-off.
Dundee said there would be no injection. Is was unclear whether it is because Ali expects to have no trouble with Spinkers or because of Pacheco not being available.
In response to a question, Dundee said, "I don't see Muhammad winning until a late round."
When Ali finished his training today he again took off for his quarters without talking to the media. Dundee remained to talk to reporters.
A couple hundreds fans paid $2 each in anticipation of seeing the champion box during today's workout. Although sparring partner Mike Boes was standing by with his hands taped and ready to box, Ali left the hall after shadow-boxing, hiting the heavy bag and skippping rope, with no explanation given to the audience.
The champion wore a rubber jacket that caused him to perspire heavily and then he took it off while punching the heavy bag. A bit of flab hung over his beltline.
He appeared fleet of foot as he shadow-boxed and demonstrated his hand speed.
The consensus of sports writers was that he no longer has the endurance or sting in his punches to scare off stong opponents who can press him and maul him.
A member of his entrourage said that Ali decided on his self-imposed silence before the Spinks fight. He "woke up one morning about six weeks ago and said to himself, I've talked too much in the past and I just get the same old questions, so I'm going to try something new.'"