Floyd had won, but the victory was not sweet. It was rather as if he had awakened from the desperate dream and stumbled, thick with sleep, into reality. The empty space was filled, but not the way it should have been. "I thought I was up in time," protested Ingemar later, wearing a red tie and black eye. "I heard the count all the way. I heard nine and he say 10 when I was up."
It was, as Comedian Joe E. Lewis had predicted, a taxing fight. Joe E. had been referring to Johansson's troubles with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, which claims he owes over a half million in back income taxes. Ingo contends he is a Swiss resident, the sole asset of a "holding" firm called Scanart and not a taxable property. He says he owns no stock in Scanart. When pressed to divulge who owns it, he said airily, "Oh, a couple of people in Geneva." "Who's that?" said Joe Louis (the one who used to fight), listening in. "Your mother, your father and your brother?"
Ingemar can ponder his financial future the next few days while he takes in some sun. "I must catch up with my brother," he said. "He's got the nice sun tan and in Sweden it is still winter and a sun tan is much envied."
Even in victory, Floyd must consider the darker realities of his future. He had won, yes—but why had he looked so bad? Had he, again, been overtrained? Is he of too compassionate a nature to be a truly demanding and vicious fighter? Should he have his hair cut the day before a fight, as he did, wondering if, like Samson, it would weaken him?
Before him, almost unavoidably, is that amiable b�te noire, Sonny Liston. Floyd has said he would fight him if Liston gets rid of the tough guys who own and move him, and Manager Cus D'Amato has said the same. But if Floyd is eventually to take on Liston and be hopeful of winning he will need not only the passionate savagery of the second Johansson fight but the admirable execution of punches as well. He must, then, at 26, recapture the past, always a hard undertaking.
But as he lay in his bed Tuesday morning, lying on his back on his board—he has had a back condition and has not been able to sleep on his stomach for years—Floyd had no need to feel ashamed. He has a proud and first-rate heart. It brought him up from peril and darkness in the first round and, surpassing his lapsed skills, bore him on. He is a good man and a good champion, and may he sleep easy. Ingemar, too.