Floyd Patterson predicted that he'd "do better this time" in his heavyweight title bout with Sonny Liston at Las Vegas last night, and indeed he did. The formidable Liston required a full 2:10 of-the first round to dispose of the exchamp, four seconds longer than it took him in their first encounter.
Liston flattened Patterson three times during the round, and his awesome display of power left little doubt that there is no one in the heavyweight division capable of wresting from him the throne which he took from Patterson in Chicago last September.
Patterson eluded his 215-pound foe for a minute, and then Liston connected with a pair of vicious right uppercuts, followed by a virtual sledgehammer blow to the head. Patterson went down for the first time. Liston then backed Patterson against the ropes, pummeled him across the ring, and floored the broading boy from Scarsdale, N.Y. with a solid left.
Dazed, Patterson staggered up once again, only to meet a left to the stomach and a brutal left to the head, which sent him to the canvas for the last time.
The fight will probably stand as more of a tribute to modern press-agentry than boxing. The fight grossed $1.8 million, which is a miracle in view of the fact that Liston's victory was a foregone conclusion after his 126-second win 10 months ago. Floyd, however, had an improved mental attitude going into the fight, which no doubt accounted for his improved performance.
The fight could mark the end of Patterson's ring career, for he'll certainly never get another shot at Liston's crown. Floyd was probably crying all the way to the bank; he earned $330,000 for his effort, which comes to $9,138,461.53 per hour.
Brash Cassius Clay, now the leading pretender to Liston's throne, entered the ring after the bout and proclaimed, "I'm done with talking; I want to fight." And, he warned, "If he gives me any jive, I'll cut the prediction to five."
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