This note was written in the summer of 1963, months before the World Heavyweight Championship fight between Clay and Sonny Liston in February 1964. The Sports Illustrated reporter Frank Deford was on the train with Clay, headed back to New York, when he asked for an autograph for his younger brother Gill. Clay wrote the note on a piece of paper from Deford’s reporter’s notepad. Though the fight with Liston was months away, Deford noted that “[Clay] had recently begun to predict victory for himself.” He added that “So far as I know, though, this was the first written declaration of the prediction which would so shock the sports world.”
A handwritten autograph note from Cassius Clay to Gill Deford, brother of Sports Illustrated Reporter Frank Deford. The note is handwritten in pencil in cursive text that reads [To Gill / From / Cassius / Clay / Next Champ / Liston / in 8]. The note is written on white, college rule paper, torn from a pocket sized, top bound, spiral notepad. The back of the note is blank.