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Sonny Liston: a smell of rain and victory
Jack McKinney
August 27, 1962
A relaxed heavyweight challenger decks his sparring partners with punches and his hangers-on with laughs as he wraps up 12 jolly weeks of training in New York's Borscht Circuit
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August 27, 1962

Sonny Liston: A Smell Of Rain And Victory

A relaxed heavyweight challenger decks his sparring partners with punches and his hangers-on with laughs as he wraps up 12 jolly weeks of training in New York's Borscht Circuit

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The cups of the brain

"See, the different parts of the brain set in little cups like this," he declared, placing the knuckles of one fist into the grooves between the knuckles of his other fist. "When you get hit a terrible shot—pop!—the brain flops out of them cups and you're knocked out. Then the brain settles back in the cups and you come to. But after this happens enough times, or sometimes even once if the shot's hard enough, the brain don't settle back right in them cups, and that's when you start needing other people to help you get around."

On another morning Sonny philosophized about the monotony of training. "When that bell rang this morning I felt so lazy I didn't want to hear it. 'What's the difference if I tell myself just this once I don't hear it?' I asked myself. 'Because there's another bell ringing about now just a couple hundred miles from here and Patterson's hearing that one,' I told myself. That's the way it has to be from here on in. I'll hear my bell and he'll hear his bell and we'll both get up and do just about the same thing and keep doing it until it finally comes up the night we both hear the same bell and we're inside those ropes together with the whole rest of the world looking in from the outside.

"Someday they'll write a blues song just for fighters," Sonny Liston predicted dreamily. "It'll be for slow guitar, soft trumpet and a bell."

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