He never once included his being aboriginal as integral to his ambitions. As far as I recall he never mentioned the word aboriginal or referred to being aboriginal himself. He was an individual focused entirely on his one ambition.
Later on when he did indeed become world champion I was struck how he appeared to have lost his confidence. He was different to when he was young. He appeared to have lost all his ambitions. He was shy on TV. He had become inarticulate. He did not like talking. He appeared to be completely intimidated by most of the other personalities on TV. He exhibited a humbleness that he never showed when he was young. He did not even seem to be the same person. His appearance and body shape had even changed somewhat. He didn't look as sleek and as fit. Or as powerful. Or as dangerous. He didn't even seem to be as good a boxer as when he was young. When he was 9 he was so good he already could have been world champ.
I did have the chance to speak to him towards the end of his life - not that I knew he was going to die so young. I would see him sometimes at the football at Waverley. We were both VFL members and he would walk up and down the concourse stopping to talk to people he knew before the match started. I was always too shy to interrupt him when he was talking to someone. I thought that if he was alone for a minute or two I would approach him and remind him of the past. But I never got the opportunity. So I never spoke to him.