MIAMI BEACH (UPI) -- Britain's bush-haired Beatles met boxing's Baron of Bray, Cassius Clay, Tuesday and it ended up in clowning, off-key pandemonium.
Boxing and singing probably were set back 100 years when Gaseous Cassius teamed up with the rock n' roll entertainers to render this refrain, made up on the spot by Clay:
"When Liston reads about the Beatles visiting me, he'll get so mad I'll knock him out in three."
Clay, the young fighter who puts all his bragging on the line next Tuesday night when he meets champion Sonny Liston for the heavyweight title, clowned around with the four mop-haired singers during a break in training at the Fifth Street gym.
"Man, you guys are the greatest. The whole world is shook up about you," said Clay, apparently a longtime Beatle fan.
The raucous meeting represented two firsts:
Clay admitted that someone other than himself is "great," for the first time, and he predicted that he will flatten Liston in three rounds, even though the brash 22-year-old contender is a 6-1 underdog at the moment.
The Beatles, dressed in flashy sport shirts, snow-white vests and beach shoes, enjoyed the meeting as much as Clay.
They entered the training ring with a "yeah, yeah, yeah" and pretended to attack Clay en masse.
Clay shouted "no, no, no" and feigned horror.
NOISE, MORE NOISE
It was about what you'd expect from Clay - Beatle meeting: noise, poems and more noise.
Photographers had a field day during the clowning, which didn't end until trainer Angelo Dundee reminded Clay that he had a date in exactly one week.
Before they left, Clay lifted Beatle drummer Ringo Starr two feet off the floor, tossed him up and wished him good luck.
The other three Beatles, George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, watched laughing.
For the Beatles, the confrontation with Clay was the kickoff of a leisurely day on the beach. They have no more appearances to make and are vacationing until Friday when they return to London.
For Clay, it was a respite from the serious business of hard training. Loudmouth or not, Clay apparently realizes what he is here for. He snapped back into the routine as soon as the Beatles left.
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