Richard Pryor’s past experience as an amateur boxer was useless when it came to facing Muhammad Ali.
During a December 1978 stand-up show, which was later released in 1979 as “Richard Pryor: Live in Concert,” the legendary comedian recalled his preparation for a benefit fight earlier that year at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles with the former heavyweight champ.
Despite Pryor expressing his enthusiasm for the fight, he was more concerned about Ali having a flashback to one of his legendary bouts with former rival Joe Frazier.
“Ali came out, he threw about eight punches, man. About a quarter inch from my nose. I said, ‘Shiiiiiiit.’ And I was happy to be in the in the ring with the champ, you know it was really nice. But my mind kept saying, ‘What happens if this ni**a has one of those Joe Frazier flashbacks?’ You know what I mean like, ‘Round 11, Joe Frazier. BOOM!’ It’ll give me brain damage for life.”
Judging from the below photo taken at the benefit event, which also included Marvin Gaye and Sammy Davis Jr., we can only imagine some of the other thoughts going through Pryor’s head.
Watch a clip of Richard Pryor’s memorable story at Live Leak.