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Against Patterson's chances, he felt, was the champion's proven susceptibility to straight punches, the kind Liston throws.
No sport for ladies
It would be financially advantageous for Johansson if Liston were to win, since another Patterson-Johansson fight is most unlikely, whereas a Liston-Johansson fight would be a distinct and lucrative possibility. But Johansson likes Patterson as a person and shudders to think what would happen to boxing if a man of Liston's background were to win the title. The welfare of the sport means much to him.
"I wish with all my heart that Patterson would win," he said. "Boxing is not a sport for ladies, but you have to keep a standard and it would hurt boxing if Liston is champion. I would like to fight Liston and if he wins I would get a chance at the title again, but I am sure Patterson would not fight me again. So if Liston wins, it is good for me. But I would not want to see him win."
Still mulling over the probabilities after what he had seen, drawing on his deep knowledge of Patterson's abilities and weaknesses, he suggested that Patterson should not attack with his left hook because in doing so he would run the risk of Liston's long-armed jab.
"Neither should he stand and look," Ingemar continued. "If I may give him advice, I would say that he should start all the time with the left jab—left jab. He should do this for a couple of rounds and Liston will tire very fast because he is used to always coming in. That is what made him look good and made the others tired very soon. But if someone does it to him then he is the one who will be tired."
" Liston is not putting his body into the hook," he explained. "It is all his arm. There is no power in it, which he could have if he used his body.
" Patterson cannot wait. He cannot let Liston come to him. I keep saying that because Liston is coming all the way and that gives him more speed than he has. He is always starting before the other fellow. Patterson must not let him start."
Johansson recalled how he had fired Liston's latest opponent, the ludicrous German, Albert Westphal, as a sparring partner in United Nations exhibitions on the Gaza Strip. Westphal could not even offer a token show to entertain the crowds. Liston knocked out Westphal in the first round with his first serious punch. It was clear that Ingemar was running through his mind the possibility that Liston's reputation had been built on the bodies of many similar stiffs. To an extent this may be true, but it is also true of most fighters making the long climb to recognition.