Muhammad Ali and Gene Kiniski: A Battle of Words!

Gorgeous George once told Muhammad Ali, “A lot of people will pay to see someone shut your mouth. So, keep on bragging, keep on sassing and always be outrageous.”

And outrageous he was on the “City Lights” radio show in 1972 when he was joined by ex-football star and former NWA World Heavyweight Champion, “Canada’s Greatest Athlete,” Gene Kiniski.

Kiniski was a highly underrated promo guy, and all bets were off when these two shared airtime and engaged in verbal warfare.

"Canada's Greatest Athlete" Gene Kiniski and "The Greatest" Muhammad Ali were known for their sharp tongues, and when these two respected champions met, they did not hold back!
“Canada’s Greatest Athlete” Gene Kiniski and “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali were known for their sharp tongues, and when these two respected champions met, they did not hold back!

Battle of the Mouths: Muhammad Ali vs. Gene Kiniski

Below are highlights (and lowlights!) of the Muhammad Ali and Gene Kiniski spoken word sparring session with host Jack Webster on the City Lights radio show on May 1st, 1972.

JACK WEBSTER:

“…And on my left is one of many Canadian world heavyweight wrestling champions. We don’t quite know who…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I never heard of him…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“His name is Gene Kiniski, and the boxer is Muhammad Ali. And the first order of business is that you’re gonna be quiet the pair of you!”

GENE KINISKI:

“Let me say just one thing…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“No, I won’t…”


GENE KINISKI:

“First, Jack, let me say this. I, too, am a former world heavyweight champion.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Of what?”

GENE KINISKI:

“Of wrestling! Now don’t be wise; I don’t appreciate your sarcasm. First, Muhammad Ali was never defeated in the ring for his title. He’s never been beaten physically, but he was defeated politically. Now, in my short relationship with him, I’ve known him a few minutes, and I can’t stand his personality.”

[background laughter]

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“What do you mean you can’t stand my personality? What you mean you can’t stand my personality?”

GENE KINISKI:

 “I would like to be the first man to beat him verbally, and then if the opportunity presents itself…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Listen, I’ll whoop you at wrasslin’, I’ll whoop you wrasslin’ [repeatedly pounds on desk]. I’m seriously thinking about going into wrasslin’, and as soon I whoop Joe Frazier…”

GENE KINISKI:

“Will you stop pounding on that desk…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“As soon as I whoop Joe Frazier, I would love to come back and wrassle you! Would you challenge me to a wrasslin’ match? I’ll whoop you at your own game!”

Gene Kiniski became a world champion wrestler in the AWA and NWA. His career peaked in the '60s but also went strong during the '70s. And as you'll find out in this article, he enjoyed being a heel and wasn't shy when given the mic.
Gene Kiniski became a world champion wrestler in the AWA and NWA. His career peaked in the ’60s but also went strong during the ’70s. And as you’ll find out in this article, he enjoyed being a heel and wasn’t shy when given the mic. [Photo: @BCSportsHall on Twitter]
GENE KINISKI:

“Just one minute. First of all, you are a guest in our wonderful city of British Columbia…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“The city is wonderful but not you! I’m not gonna say you’re wonderful! You talk too much.”

GENE KINISKI:

“You go up into our forest and chop down a tree I can understand if you’re cold and you need firewood. But what did you do? It took hundreds of years to chop down those trees, and you went and rendered…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Hundreds of years to grow the trees! Not to chop them down. It took them 5 minutes to chop down the trees.”

GENE KINISKI:

[repeats agreeably] “Hundreds to grow them.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Is this why I had to come to this show? To be insulted by this, what? I’ve never even heard of this man until I read your paper, and I didn’t like the way the paper… he mentioned something downstairs…”

GENE KINISKI:

“Who you trying to kid? You know you can’t read!”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Listen. You was talkin’ about something about your name wasn’t billed…”

GENE KINISKI:

“It said Webster, Kiniski, and you. It should’ve read Kiniski, and then we have two seconds, Ali and Webster.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“What, you mean? Muhammad Ali, the name should always be over your name, and Webster should be right in the middle, and your name should be on the bottom. And this whole show is to build you up. Everybody knows I’m the king, and I don’t know…”

GENE KINISKI:

“King of what?”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Listen. I’ll get up and walk off your show!”

GENE KINISKI:

“King of what? Now, you sit right where you are, or I’ll put you back right in your seat.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“You’ll do whaa?”

GENE KINISKI:

“If you’re so tough, why did I have to sign a contract where I had to be handcuffed during this interview?”

[Webster laughing]

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“You can take the handcuffs off. I don’t know why they put them… someone must’ve put them on you, must be some kind of gimmick.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Someone insisted they put the key in your pocket.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Before the show’s over, you take those handcuffs off.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Get your hand out of my face!”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Just a minute, let’s establish this quite clearly. You’re both at the moment in the realm of has-beens, right?”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Who’s a has-been?”

JACK WEBSTER:

“You’re a has-been. You lost your title one way or the other.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I only loaned it for Imperial Margarine for TV commercials.”

[people laughing]

Muhammad Ali always embraced the entertainment aspect of sports and became one of the most successful and popular athletes of all time.
Muhammad Ali always embraced the entertainment aspect of sports and became one of the most successful and popular athletes of all time. [Photo: biography.com]
JACK WEBSTER:

“And then we’ve got Chuvalo coming in. You didn’t even knock down Chuvalo…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Chuvalo? George Chuvalo is going to come down here today?”

GENE KINISKI:

“Just one minute…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Is Chuvalo… seriously. I’ll walk off now.”

GENE KINISKI:

“You are talking about my fellow Canadian. Here’s what Chuvalo said to me…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Are you Canadian?”

GENE KINISKI:

“Yes.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I’ll whoop both of ya!”

GENE KINISKI:

“You’ll never whip one of us! This is what I told him, ‘George, you must admit that Ali is a model fighter.’ And Chuvalo said, ‘Yes, but if you look up the word model in the Webster dictionary it means the imitation of the real thing!'”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Furthermore, you accuse Chuvalo of fighting dirty, and Chuvalo has never…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“If he hits me low, I’m gonna ram him right back! Every time Chuvalo hits me low, I’m gonna ram him right back!”

GENE KINISKI:

“I saw that…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Southpaws are dirty. Wrestlers are dirty just like him!”

GENE KINISKI:

“I’ll stop knocking your business when you stop knocking wrestling!”

MUHAMMAD ALI

“Wrasslers are dirty. Wrasslin’ is nothing like boxing. I’ve watched you. I can whoop any wrassler.”

GENE KINISKI:

“You couldn’t whoop a… [He can’t find the words, and he and others in the studio laugh too]. Couldn’t whoop any wrestler.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Listen. Wrestling is not an athletic event, and you know it; it’s show biz! Always has been!”

GENE KINISKI:

“Listen [Jack] Webster, one more crack like that, and you’ll wish you never left Scotland.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Well, maybe I’ll go back there sooner than I think. Come on now, Ali, why did you chicken out of the 6-ounce gloves? Because you’re afraid of Chuvalo’s hands.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I don’t want no 6-ounce gloves because Chuvalo hits low. And 6-ounce gloves is almost like bare knuckles, and he’s a dirty fighter anyway, and I want as much cushion to be on his hands as possible. He hits too hard as it is. And I’m not worried about the face, but he hits too hard to the body, and he wants those low stone gloves so that he can hit me low.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Why are you still handsome, though? You always avoid the headshots, don’t you?”

[And then turns to Kiniski]

“Look at this beautiful guy here with a smashed-in nose, the cut cheekbones, and the cauliflower ears…”

GENE KINISKI:

“I have a fantastic personality, and I’m a highly educated individual…”

[Webster laughs]

“And therefore, knowing me is loving me.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Knowing you is loving you?”

GENE KINISKI:

“Then you bring in this fellow Muhammad Ali…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Listen…”

GENE KINISKI:

“He’s a guest in our country, and what is he doing? He’s bringing down boxing to a very, very, low level. After all, the sportsmen…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Listen. This is what he’s talking about. He’s talking about me, talking about he’s so intelligent. Listen, fella, if I had a…”

GENE KINISKI:

“The name is Kiniski.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Kiniski. If I had a lower IQ, I could enjoy your conversation.”

[People laughing in background]

JACK WEBSTER:

“In the meantime, give us a poem about ‘Kinitski.’ There’s nothing you can rhyme with ‘Kinitski.'”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Kiniski.”

JACK WEBSTER:

 “Kiniski.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Kaminski.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Kiniski.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Kiniski? Is that a German name?”

GENE KINISKI:

“That’s a Polish name. You know it’s a Polish name, don’t be smart now!”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Polish? I don’t know nothing about no Pollocks!”

GENE KINISKI:

“One more crack like that, and I’m gonna start calling you Cassius Clay. You just watch that now! Don’t you get disrespectful!”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Look, I don’t like the way you’re jumping around me.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Take these handcuffs off me!”

[starts loudly banging on something]

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Get him off me. Move! Get him out of the way. Just stay right over there. Jumping across the table. You must be crazy! Get on back over there!”

GENE KINISKI:

“I’m tied down, and I can’t stand those insults you’re throwing my way. I think you’re a very, very spoiled brat, and I’d like to [uninteligible] and spank you publicly.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Listen. You are so ugly your face should be declared a disaster area!”

GENE KINISKI:

“Well, I might just battle you Monday night!”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I’ll whoop you. As soon as I… Listen, are you gonna come to my fight? Watcha gonna do that night?”

GENE KINISKI:

“I am wrestling, and we’re gonna have a sellout. How do you think you’ll do?”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“No… You’re not wrasslin’. Are you wrasslin’ Monday night? And you have the nerve to say on this show… Who’s gonna come and watch you wrassle?”

GENE KINISKI:

“It’ll be sold out. I’ll guarantee you.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Who’s gonna come to watch you wrassle?”

GENE KINISKI:

“We’re gonna show a profit, and you’ll show a big zero!”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Listen. No one shall come to your show. When Muhammad Ali is in town, nothing should be on the card that night. Everybody. I’m the draw!”

GENE KINISKI:

“If you’re the greatest, why do you have to give away a $100 dollar ticket to come to see you fight? When they come to see me, they have to pay.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“They pay a dollar and a half apiece!”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Listen, this show is designed to give people… to give away a $200 ticket, and if I knew I had to go through all this, just to let someone win a prize, I’d gave the tickets away myself. And I consider this highly insulting for a fighter as beautiful and as great as me to be on a show with something [referring to Kiniski] as this. To have given him the honor to talk back to me like he did.”

GENE KINISKI:

“If you’re such a great athlete…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Shut up the pair of you because I’m running the show, and I’ll close your microphone.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Who do you think you’re talking to?”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Your microphones are closed; nobody can hear ya, so relax!”

GENE KINISKI:

[barely audible] “I should just punch you in the face.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“And that’s City Mike (mic) for tonight but quite possibly the most ridiculous, nonsensical, stupid City Mike- but it’s different anyway. With ugly Clay and even uglier Kiniski.”

GENE KINISKI:

[barely audible] “Turn my mic back on.”

Here, in their second encounter, on May 1st, 1972, a battered George Chuvalo holds his own against Muhammad Ali.
Here, in their second encounter, on May 1st, 1972, a battered George Chuvalo holds his own against Muhammad Ali. [Photo: macleans.ca]

JACK WEBSTER:

“Careful now. Silence. Can I have some attention in the studio, please? Muhammad Ali, sit forward and pay attention, please. You too, Kiniski.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Well, if he sits forward, he’s too close to me; I can’t stand him.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Go ahead, please.”

[Ali is practicing his poem out loud in the background, trying to find a word that rhymes with Kiniski]

JACK WEBSTER:

“Speak up again, ma’am.”

OLDER WOMAN:

“That has got to be the most RIDICULOUS display of nonsense I have ever heard. Here we are raising children trying to get them interested in sports, and you get these men on the radio behaving like nonsensical idiots.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Well, you shouldn’t have put me on the show and shouldn’t have brought me here! I’m too great to have something like this talking back to me before the public, and I’ll just get up and walk out before I be considered an idiot!”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Well, of course, Kiniski admits he’s an idiot.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I’m not gonna settle for this and let him talk to me like this! I don’t like people talking to me like he do!”

GENE KINISKI:

“I admit no such thing.” [referring to Webster].

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“He talks too much!”

GENE KINISKI:

“Just what has happened is that Muhammad Ali has let the wind of anger blow out the light of reason, and he’s yelling and screaming, and there’s no need for it.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Well, let’s have a little bit of composure while this caller gets in. Go ahead, please.”

CALLER:

“Yes, I’d like to address a question to Gene Kiniski.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Fire away.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Well, carry on, then speak up.”

CALLER:

“Yeah, I’d just like to know how old Gene Kiniski is.”

GENE KINISKI:

“I’m 40 years old.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“He must be in his ’50s.”

CALLER:

[Seems to agree with Ali] “40? Yeah, [’50s] that’s what I was thinking.”

GENE KINISKI:

“For a guy in his ’30s, you look pretty good, too, Muhammad.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“He’s got to be in his ’50s; you should see the wrinkles and gray hair.”

CALLER:

“Yeah, that’s true.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“What hair?”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I’m sorry, no hair.”

Like Harley Race, Gene Kiniski (left) was a true pro who wouldn't mince words and backed everything up in the ring.
Like Harley Race, Gene Kiniski (left) was a true pro who wouldn’t mince words and backed everything up in the ring. [Photo: Pinterest]
JACK WEBSTER:

“Ok, thank you. Go ahead, please.”

[Another caller]

WOMAN CALLER:

“Is that me?”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Yes, that’s you, ma’am.”

WOMAN CALLER:

“Oh, thank you, Mr. Webster. I was just listening to your program and never got a chance to get through before because we were on…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“C’mon. Come to the point.”

WOMAN CALLER:

“Well, you’re priceless. To get three big mouths on one station and nobody but CKNW can do it.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Come off you.”

WOMAN CALLER:

“You know what’s missing?”

JACK WEBSTER:

“No, what’s missing?”

WOMAN CALLER:

“[Phil] Gaglardi.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Thank you, ma’am. [Explaining to Ali] Gaglardi is a local cabinet minister to whom I normally don’t speak…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I think I’m priceless, and I don’t like nobody saying you’re priceless. I’m priceless. You can find people like you every day, and this so-called what’s his name, I never even heard of him. I’m the priceless one.”


JACK WEBSTER:

“Go ahead, please.”

CALLER:

“Mr. Kiniski.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Fire away.”

CALLER:

“Mr. Kiniski.”

GENE KINISKI:

“My name is Gene, never mind the ‘Mr.'”

CALLER:

“Ok, Gene. Ah… what’s with Dutch Savage? How come he’s turned good now?”

GENE KINISKI:

“I don’t know. I think everybody’s good. But just fans are starting to cheer for him; he’s a lesser of two evils…I figure Savage is a nice guy now. Muhammad Ali, if you recall, a few years ago, they hated him. They wouldn’t even let him fight. And now what’s happening, they’re letting him on the air with a great celebrity like yours truly, and they’re even letting Jack Webster on the air with me.”

CALLER:

“Yeah, but Gene, I mean…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Just a minute. When Muhammad Ali is a has-been, he, of course, can come into your show biz caper, can’t he, and wrestle?”

GENE KINISKI:

“Oh, you’re a real wise guy, aren’t you, Webster?”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I’ll never be a has-been!”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Another five years, and you’re done!”


GENE KINISKI:

“Jack, let me say something. All these sarcastic remarks are uncalled for. Now, if you people want to make remarks like that, come down to the Agrodome or the [Maple Leaf] Gardens, and you can meet Muhammad Ali or Gene Kiniski face-to-face. Just jump in the ring, and if you’re so tough and you want to back up your comments so much, I’ll meet anybody, anytime, anyplace. Now, when you’re over the…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Why do you open your mouth so wide?”

GENE KINISKI:

“Aw, Shut up! You’re pretty tough [still referring to caller] when you are hundreds of miles away and safe hiding behind a telephone. I’m sure your mother, your wife, and your children are impressed with how tough you are. But if you’re really tough, c’mon and do it in the ring.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Take a breath, will ya? I gotta take a break and make a buck for us.”

Although Kiniski knew his role as a heel, he deeply respected Muhammad Ali and all athletes. He always tried elevating wrestling in the eyes of the people and mainstream media.
Although Kiniski knew his role as a heel, he deeply respected Muhammad Ali and all athletes. He always tried elevating wrestling in the eyes of the people and mainstream media. [Photo: Wikipedia]

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Before you take another call, I wanna say one thing- this is me, Muhammad Ali. I want to know one thing. Would you please just tell me- I left a country called Kenya on my African tour- and I heard some African people talking about this Kiniski or ‘Convinsi,’ whatever it is…”

GENE KINISKI:

“The name’s Kiniski. You know what it is.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Wha, wha, what was you doing in Africa?”

GENE KINISKI:

“I’ll tell you what I was doing in Africa. I was teaching the Maus Maus how to fight dirty.”

[Laughter]

JACK WEBSTER:

“Gene, you’re now picking up a Southern accent! You’re a born imitator.”

GENE KINISKI:

“I’m not an imitator; I’m the real McCoy.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“When a wrestler is a real McCoy…”

GENE KINISKI:

“Often imitated but never duplicated, ‘Canada’s Greatest Athlete.'”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Even with me, you couldn’t break my arms.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“As the lady said, this is an insult. I have a few more minutes. How much longer do I have to stay here? Coz I can’t take this…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Either go along with the rules of the game or get out of here, Ali. One or the other!”

GENE KINISKI:

“If you want to throw in the towel, go ahead. This is a 15-round contest, and the fight is not over until one man can sing.”

Kiniski continues, “Now if you want [Angelo] Dundee (Ali’s trainer and cornerman) to throw in the towel, he better get a little practice because that’s what he’s going to do Monday night when my fellow Canadian George Chuvalo… like a couple of years ago in the Maple Leaf Gardens when you couldn’t put him away in 15 rounds, what makes you think you can put him away in 12?”

[Then a huge commotion is heard involving many people in the studio]

JACK WEBSTER:

“Ladies and Gentleman. Order! Ladies and gentlemen. Order!”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“[Talking to Kiniski]. You come see what I do to Chuvalo! You come see what I do to Chuvalo!”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Oh, shut up, Muhammad! Be your age. What is your real age? 35? 36? Now shut up for the moment. You too, Kiniski, you big bag of wind. Go ahead, caller.”

CALLER:

“Mr. Webster… Mr. Webster.”

 JACK WEBSTER:

“Yes.”

CALLER:

“Will you spare me a little time for the younger generation?”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Is that you?”

CALLER:

“Yeah, that’s me.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Uh-huh.”

CALLER:

“You know something, I’ve taught PE, wrestling, boxing, judo…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Fair enough; what’s your point?”

CALLER:

“Ok, my point is this. Send your boy to a wrestling school but not to Kiniski’s. Kiniski is the biggest bag of wind I ever saw.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Here! Here!”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“That’s right; you’re a bag of wind! That’s right, sir, that’s what he is. A phony! That’s what he is, a big bag of wind, and I’ll knock it out of him.”

GENE KINISKI:

“You just go ahead. I’ll drop toe hold you so fast…

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Toe hold who?”

GENE KINISKI:

“I’ll drop toe hold you so fast that they’ll hear you screaming all the way to Louisville, Kentucky!”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Ok. Thanks, ole lad, I’m glad…”

CALLER:

“Would you permit me to say one thing else?”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Yes, uh uh…” Ok, one thing quickly.”

CALLER:

“Ok. Send your boy, send your son to a wrestling school…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“But not Kiniski’s. [caller is gotten rid of] Go ahead, please.”

[Another caller]

CALLER:

“Yes, I’d just like to ask Gene Kiniski if when he’s being interviewed by Ron Morrier (host of All-Star Wrestling in BC for 20 years) if he’s charged for the cleaning bill with all the sweat he drops on Ron’s good Fred Ashers (suits).”

GENE KINISKI:

“Thanks for the plug. I’m sure Fred Asher appreciates that. There are times when you leave the ring, you are perspiring rather heavily, and anybody would have uh perspiration dropping off his brow…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“That’s it, Gene.”

GENE KINISKI:

“But in Muhammad Ali’s case, on Monday, it won’t be dropping off his brow; it’ll be dropping off the bottom of the canvas with George Chuvalo standing over the top of him…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“You be there!”

GENE KINISKI:

“I’ll be there. And when the referee says ’10,’ I’ll be one of the…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“The day George Chuvalo stands over me, I’ll retire! I’ll say that here on this show!”

GENE KINISKI:

“This show is being taped, and you won’t be able to retract any of your statements. So, you’re saying officially that Monday, May 1st, you’re going to retire.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“If Chuvalo stands over Muhammad Ali, I will retire.”

GENE KINISKI:

“He’ll be standing over you. You couldn’t put him away in 15; what makes you think you can put him away in 12?”

After a chat with the incomparable Gorgeous George and seeing how people in the crowd reacted to him, Muhammad Ali understood how important it was to play to the crowd and market himself.
After a chat with the incomparable Gorgeous George and seeing how people in the crowd reacted to him, Muhammad Ali understood how important it was to play to the crowd and market himself. [Photo: wrestlepedia.fandom.com]

We have hundreds of great Pro Wrestling Stories, but of course, you can’t read them all today. Sign up to receive our five most popular pro wrestling stories, plus subscriber-exclusive content. A special gift from us awaits after signing up!

A caller wishes Muhhamad Ali luck

GENE KINISKI:

“Just a minute. First of all, in the fight game or in any sport, there’s no such thing as luck. It’s skill and science.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Nah. He’ll need luck on Monday. Go ahead, please.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I don’t need luck.”

CHILD CALLER:

“Hey uh, Kiniski?”

JACK WEBSTER:

“That’s Mr. Kiniski to you.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Go ahead, son. Speak up, don’t be nervous.”

CHILD CALLER:

“If you went the rounds with Muhammad, you’d be knocked down for sure.”

[people laughing]

JACK WEBSTER:

“Thank you, son.”


JACK WEBSTER:

“Go ahead, please. Are you there? Speak up, ma’am.”

WOMAN CALLER:

“Your caller said there are gentlemen?”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Well, I’m a gentleman; I don’t know about Ali and what’s his name, Kiniski.”

WOMAN CALLER:

“Well, I know you are Mr. Webster. Are your guests, gentleman?”

JACK WEBSTER:

“They’re passing for them tonight.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Are you a lady?”

WOMAN CALLER:

“Yes, I’m a lady.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Well, I’m a gentleman, and I’m sure Muhammad Ali- even though he doesn’t act like it- is a gentleman. Basically, I think he has all the qualities necessary to be a gentleman, and I think he is an asset to the sporting world. So, let us not get carried away with uh…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I’m an asset!”

GENE KINISKI:

“A bit of an asset, yes.”

WOMAN CALLER:

“Alright. Mr. Kiniski?”

GENE KINISKI:

“Yes.”

WOMAN CALLER:

“I understand that you have the hardest head in wrestling.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Oh, I wouldn’t go along with that.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“That is right. I will vouch for that.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Well, I use it. That is the part of my body which I’ve developed a great deal.”

[people laughing]

JACK WEBSTER:

“He’s got more muscles in his head than any other ten wrestlers in the ring!”

GENE KINISKI:

“I am able to use that gray matter between my ears.”

WOMAN CALLER:

“I understand that he dented a car, and I think it was in Edmonton?”

[Webster laughs]

GENE KINISKI:

“Yes, I did. It was one of those foreign-made cars, I think from Japan. That’s what happens when you buy a foreign product. Whatever you buy…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“You dented it with your head?”

GENE KINISKI:

“That’s right, whatever you buy, make sure it says, ‘Made in Canada.'”

JACK WEBSTER:

“That’s the only time he ever won by a knockout.” [laughs]

GENE KINISKI:

“Oh, you’re real funny, aren’t you, Webster?”

WOMAN CALLER:

“And someone threw him right out of the ring, out of the arena, and bashed his head into a car.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Yes, that is true, most unfortunate.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Who was it?”

GENE KINISKI:

“Oh, I don’t know. I think it was Dr. Bill Miller.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Some punk.”

GENE KINISKI:

“No, I wouldn’t say he’s a punk. He’s a great athlete.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Thank you, ma’am.”


JACK WEBSTER:

“Go ahead, please.”

CALLER:

“Yeah, Jack, I’d like to say one thing in favor of Muhammad. At least he isn’t wrapped up in crime like the rest of those boxers: Liston and Floyd Patterson…”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Nah, nah… they’re not wrapped up in crime.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Never been involved in anything.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Never involved in the thing. I don’t think… not Patterson.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I’m wrapped up in one crime, and that’s being here with Kiniski!”

GENE KINISKI:

“How dare you make a statement like that!”

A caller praises Muhammad Ali for his continued success in the ring despite his trouble with the government and then addresses Gene Kiniski

CALLER:

“One word for Kiniski.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Go ahead.”

CALLER:

“Geno!”

GENE KINISKI:

“Yes.”

CALLER:

“You are Canada’s number one athlete.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Thank you! Truer words were never spoken.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“He’s the number one middle-aged athlete.”


JACK WEBSTER:

“Go ahead, please.”

WOMAN CALLER:

“Hello. I’m getting awful frustrated.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Well, now’s a chance to get rid of your frustration.”

WOMAN CALLER:

“Yeah, Ok. Umm… the operator can’t get through on your cable.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“You mean 522-2711? It’s jammed. You’ll just have to wait and try again, my dear.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Why’s it always when I’m on your show, the phone line is jammed?”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“It ain’t because of you. It’s because of me. You think it’s because of you this phone is jammed?”

GENE KINISKI:

“It’s that loud mouth of yours that is causing a draft, and what is happening is that…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“You’re sitting here with an internationally known…”

GENE KINISKI:

“… you’re causing a disturbance in the air, and the phone lines have come off the poles! So will you please shut it off for a while, Muhammad!”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Thank you.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Save that wind for George Chuvalo Monday at the [Pacific] Coliseum.”

[another caller]

JACK WEBSTER:

“Go ahead, please.”

CALLER:

“Yeah, for Muhammad Ali. I’d like to say that I’ve been in boxing and involved a little for the last 45 years, and you’re the best. And you won’t need luck. You got the ability.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Thank you. Tell Kiniski that.”

CALLER:

“Well, Kiniski, I believe that the best-developed muscle you have is your tongue.”

[people laugh]

GENE KINISKI:

“Thank you very, very much. That tongue is very well developed, and I can back it up physically.”


When another caller says that the lines are jammed, Jack Webster tells her to simply try again, and Kiniski says she’s been drinking. The call continues below:

WOMAN CALLER:

“I’m wondering, though, why they stoop to this kind of publicity?”

GENE KINISKI:

“Yeah, she’s looped.”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Well, they want to sell some tickets for Monday night. Well, Kiniski doesn’t need any tickets.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I’m not going to be selling no tickets. I don’t have to come on this show to sell no tickets. My name speaks for itself.”

WOMAN CALLER:

“Muhammad Ali is enough; he doesn’t need to do this on the air, does he?”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Have you bought your tickets yet?”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“What did she say?”

JACK WEBSTER:

“She says that you don’t need to do this kind of garbage on the air.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“No, I didn’t know myself. It’s a trick. I was told I was coming on to have an interview with a great wrassler, and I found out he’s a bum. Then you come tell me George Chuvalo is gonna come and walk in here, and I’m upset. This has been a whole setup, and it’s belittling to me. And just for that, I’ve written a poem while I’ve been here on this show.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Muhammad, before you go any further, I know that you brought in 10 script writers…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I don’t need scriptwriters.”

GENE KINISKI:

“…from Los Angeles, California.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I don’t need no scriptwriters. [commotion starts] Keep him off of me!”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Let’s hear the poem.”

WOMAN CALLER:

[barely audible] “I want to hear the poem.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“[Poem] I am on the air with this wrasslin’ bum. A man whose tongue is never numb. But he’ll know pretty soon that I’m the best because my talent has proved tests. Now Kiniski will rant, and rave, and shout, but you out there without a doubt, you’ll know that I’m not a clout. Kiniski is a frog, a bag of wind, and I’m the best, the humble king.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Anybody who spent $100 to have that rubbish written has to be a little foolish. They’re taking advantage of you. Do you realize if you keep on spending hundred-dollar bills like that so foolishly, you’ll have to keep on fighting for the rest of your life!”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“Listen. I’m writing a poem while I’m sitting here on the air talking to you now.”

GENE KINISKI:

“You’re not sitting. You’re bouncing up and down like a sewing machine. You’re so nervous and excited…”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“I’m writing a poem right now, and this poem explains how it feels to be as great as me.”

GENE KINISKI:

“Stop putting your finger in my face! You get that hand out of my face!”

JACK WEBSTER:

“Let’s hear the poem.”

MUHAMMAD ALI:

“This is it, the greatest short poem ever written, and it explains how it feels to be as great as me. This is it: ‘Me, weeee!'”

Aftermath

They continued taking calls and promoting Ali-Chavalo II, with Kiniski and Ali going at it verbally throughout.

As for the fight itself, Chuvalo again took Ali the distance in a scrappy affair but lost in a 12-round decision.

Four years later, on June 26, 1976, Muhammad Ali faced Antonio Inoki in Tokyo, Japan, for their infamous mixed martial arts exhibition. It became Ali’s last foray into the squared circle against a wrestler.

Ali was one of the many celebrities involved in the first WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden, though, and had a lifelong love for professional wrestling.

Unfortunately, Ali, “The Greatest,” and Kiniski, “Canada’s Greatest Athlete,” never met in the ring or even on the radio again, although it was a natural rivalry that brought out the best in each other.

So after reading the transcript, who do you think won the “Battle of the Mouths,” Ali or the quick-tongued Kiniski?

You can learn here about the Jack Webster Foundation, which celebrates excellence in journalism to protect the public interest of British Columbians. The annual Webster Awards are presented to the best journalists in various categories.

These stories may also interest you:

Can’t get enough pro wrestling history in your life? Sign up to receive our five most popular pro wrestling stories, plus subscriber-exclusive content. A special gift from us awaits after signing up!

Want More? Choose another story!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Got a correction, tip, or story idea? Reach out to our team!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us provide free content for you to enjoy!


https://www.thelogbook.com/popcultureretrorama/author/javierojst/

Javier Ojst is an old-school wrestling enthusiast currently residing in El Salvador. He's been a frequent guest on several podcasts and has a few bylines on TheLogBook.com, where he shares stories of pop culture and retro-related awesomeness. He has also been published on Slam Wrestling and in G-FAN Magazine. He can be contacted by e-mail at jojst1@gmail.com.