During his forced exile from boxing even Muhammad Ali had doubted that he would enter the ring again. Ali was under no illusions about the task taht now faced him. If he lost he would have to listen for the rest of his life the bad things the press would write about him.
Facing Ali was Jerry Quarry, a rough and tough white Heavyweight who had known plenty of hardship in his life. Quarry was not intimidated by Ali or the crowd and for the first time Ali entered the ring against a younger man than himself and one who was more than capable of winning the Heavyweight Title now held by Joe Frazier.
Plenty of people had advised Ali to take an easier fight on his return, yet their fears looked unfounded as Ali set about Quarry from the opening bell like the dancing master of old, circling and flashing out his jab. For the opening three minuted it seemed like the years outside of the ring had left Ali unscathed.
But in round two Quarry, a pressure fighter, bore in woth some solid body shots that forced Ali onto the ropes where he seemed content to stay. It was a tactic Ali would contine to use in his return from exile. Even in the third round, Ali got the better of a close exchange of infighting. When Quarry stepped back, there was a deep cut above his left eye. The referee, Tony Perez, halted the bout when the cornermen could not close the cut between rounds three and four. Quarry was bitterly disappointed and rushed towards Ali to be stopped by Drew Bundini Brown.
Muhammad Ali's comeback fight had raised more questions than it had answered.