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CASSIUS CLAY MUST BE BEATEN
Floyd Patterson
October 11, 1965
Floyd Patterson will fight Cassius Clay for the world heavyweight championship on November 22 in Las Vegas. Here, with Writer Jack Mahon, he tells why he believes he is going to win the title fight, and why he feels that he must win it
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October 11, 1965

Cassius Clay Must Be Beaten

Floyd Patterson will fight Cassius Clay for the world heavyweight championship on November 22 in Las Vegas. Here, with Writer Jack Mahon, he tells why he believes he is going to win the title fight, and why he feels that he must win it

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I was very tired near the end of the fight, but inside—mentally, that is—I felt great. Part of it was the wonderful feeling I experienced when the Madison Square Garden crowd began calling, "Come on, Floyd. Come on, Floyd." I can't tell you what that meant to me. It was more impressive because my opponent was white. Usually in mixed fights the majority of the crowd is for the white boy. Weeks before my fight Cassius Clay called Chuvalo the "White Hope." But during the fight I became the "White Hope."

The roar of that crowd, a crowd yelling for me, was a tremendous incentive. I never thought I'd be accepted that way in New York—which is one of the reasons I have not fought there in so many years. A crowd actually pulling for me gave me a feeling I had never experienced before. It was like coming home after a long absence.

All of these things—the way the Chuvalo fight developed, my new confidence and the feeling that perhaps I haven't a "china chin" after all—give me a very healthy mental attitude toward the fight with Cassius Clay. A fighter's mental attitude—his peace of mind and ability to think clearly—is very important. I know, because my thinking, as much as anything, caused me to disgrace myself in the two Liston fights.

For the Clay fight I know exactly what I am going to do. Clay has a good but not particularly dangerous punch. At least he has not shown one so far. I am sure I punch harder than he does. I also have a great deal more experience than Cassius, and this will be a big factor in our fight.

I have been fighting since 1952—that's 13 years. I have fought all kinds of opponents; big men, small men, southpaws, every kind of style. Clay has been fighting only about five years as a pro and has never once really been in trouble. It is when a man is under heavy fire that experience truly pays off. I think Clay is the type who could be easily confused if things did not go just the way he had planned.

Most fighters dislike following orders. They feel they should be the boss in the ring. They want to run things their own way. I know. I have disobeyed instructions, and I don't like to remember what happened to me.

I do not mean to imply that I question Clay's ability to fight back if he is hurt. No, indeed. After all, he took too many liberties with Sonny Banks and got knocked down. He was also knocked down by Henry Cooper. Both times he got off the floor to win. Then, too, Cassius was in difficulty in the first round of his fight with Doug Jones. Doug almost put him down with a right hand to the head, but Clay pulled himself together and went on to win the decision.

These things indicate that Clay does not lack a fighting heart. They also indicate he will go down if he is tagged with a solid punch.

You do not get into trouble unless you make mistakes. I have watched some of Clay's fights and have seen several flaws in his style. Naturally, I do not care to discuss all of them here. One, which is no secret to fight fans, is Clay's tendency to carry his hands too low. He drops his hands after delivering a punch. Though Banks and Jones caught him doing this, they didn't follow through. Cassius would not get away with this against a more experienced fighter.

Clay fights this way because he is very conscious of his speed. He has a wonderful pair of legs and relies on them to keep him—or to get him—out of trouble. He is very young and determined. He is also, I think, careless. He is going to learn that his legs won't keep him out of difficulty indefinitely.

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