"When a man that punch get in the ring with a man that can't punch," the old champion said, "the man that can't punch he better be awful fancy and this man just ain't fancy enough."
Promoting out of native ability and ignorance, with veteran Jack Hurley as consultant, Bill Rosensohn proudly contemplated success. The previous California record gate, the Sugar Ray Robinson-Bobo Olson middleweight title fight of 1956, was promoted by the very experienced International Boxing Club and was topped in this case by $852.25. Patterson also holds the Pacific Coast gate record, set at Seattle against Pete Rademacher.
Patterson's share of the net gate was $101,384.41. In addition he may get as much as $300,000 more from TelePrompTer, which handled the theater TV, and a possible $60,000 from the movies. Out of his share Patterson paid Harris a $100,000 guarantee. The champion will net close to $300,000.
Certain lessons may be drawn from the fight:
1) Cus D'Amato, Patterson's manager, has won his war with the IBC. He has established that the manager of a champion can make money for his fighter (and, importantly, for other fighters) outside the IBC pale. It is a lesson that he expects will be read and understood by other managers. "This breaks the back of the IBC," a D'Amato follower said in a postfight glow of glee. "It was a very successful promotion." Whether or not it gave the IBC even a bad case of lumbago, it vaulted D'Amato into a position of extraordinary power in boxing. He now has two well-heeled promoters, Emil Lence and Bill Rosensohn, eager to handle his champion's fights. Lence is attempting to get Madison Square Garden for late October or early November, so that Patterson may fight in New York, though no one knows the opponent. D'Amato has also committed Patterson to a June 1959 fight at Colorado Springs, again against an undetermined opponent. This would be in celebration of Colorado's centennial, Rush to the Rockies, and highlight an exceptional, months-long sports program, ranging from skiing to track.
2) Patterson must fight oftener. At 23, he should be close to his peak but a year's layoff has dulled his once-sharp weapons. Now he may well fight three or four times a year, as he desires. Thus his sharpness can be preserved. These fights probably will be against ranking contenders, too, for now that D'Amato has established that he alone rules the heavyweight roost this amazingly stubborn manager can, without loss of face, take on even such so-called "IBC fighters" as Zora Folley, Eddie Machen and Willie Pastrano.
3) Having won his war, D'Amato now faces a moral obligation to see that Patterson, his loyal champion, achieves recognition as one of the great heavyweights. This can be done only by letting him fight all comers of sufficient ranking.
4) The big fights for a long time hereafter will be dominated by theater television. Theater TV audiences were impressed by the enormous size of the fighters on the big screen and by a sense of presence and participation that resulted from being in a big, responsive crowd instead of being seated before a small screen with a few friends in the living room. They laughed, booed and cheered like fight crowds anywhere and few of them will ever again prefer to see a big fight on a little screen if they can see it in a theater. This alone is enough to put the IBC, tied so intimately to home television, in second place. Such organizations as TelePrompTer and Theater Network Television (TPT and TNT) have the money and the potential income to offer the fighters guarantees far beyond anything they would get from stadium promoters or free home television, or both. Home television sponsors, who once laid out a $300,000 guarantee for the Rocky Marciano-Jersey Joe Walcott second fight (a one-round fiasco), are not likely to try that again. So fight fans will have to pay to see the really big fights hereafter. If you are a fighter that will seem only fair.
5) When pay television enters the home in the far distant future, as is certain when the FCC can tune in on the possibilities of the medium it rules, a championship gate of $5 million will be ordinary.