I WAS blessed with a long and successful career, during which I fought a lot of top names. Back in the 1980s, it was a wonderful time for the heavyweights, and I boxed six heavyweight champions in total. We were all together, [fighting] in a round-table. There was me and Tim Witherspoon and Greg Page and [James] “Bonecrusher” Smith. The top promoter [Don King], he had every fighter and he matched us up together. My best night was when I won the WBA title beating Greg Page. I was young then and fast, but I also had great experience.
I had worked with Muhammad Ali, and he taught me a whole lot. I sparred him for the second fight he had with Leon Spinks. The first spar I ever had with Ali, I was just 16 years old, and he broke my nose. He told me I had fast hands, it was just a matter of me knowing what to do with them in a fight.
The championship fight with Greg Page, he was a little cocky at that time. He and I had boxed before, five times as amateurs, and he beat me three times. He was taller than me back then and he had a longer reach. Going into the [title] fight, he said he was going to knock me out. But I told him that I was a different Tony Tubbs now, that I had grown up and matured a whole lot. I told him to get ready for a surprise.