wasn't," Ali said. "I just ain't ready. You hit me."
He never kidded
himself about things like that. So he knew very well that he was ready in
Lewiston, and he did just what we had decided he should do. He walked out of
his corner and—blip!—he hit Sonny a good shot in the mouth and knocked him
right out of whatever plan he had for this fight. I guess Liston would have
liked to wait and stalk and make Ali commit himself, but after Ali gave him
that token of what had happened in Miami Beach he came after the champ. And he
got tagged with a perfect right hand and was knocked out. That punch was a
counter over a left jab that missed, leaving Liston coming in off balance with
his head down. The right caught him flush on the side of the face. He never saw
After the fight
in Lewiston my contract was changed so that I got 10% of the group's share of
Ali's earnings. They were splitting 60-40 with Ali then, and I got 10% of their
40. Sometimes it was tough settling, because Ali always wanted to be paid off
right away, but they were always scrupulously fair. When the six-year contract
with the Louisville group ran out, Ali made a contract with Herbert Muhammad,
not with the Muslims as an organization. This contract was 60 for Ali and 40
for Herbert, and I got my pay from Herbert. He guaranteed me a minimum of
$10,000 a fight, and he paid promptly. Most trainers get paid off the top,
though. Patterson's two trainers Set 7�% apiece and Joe Frazier's gets 15%. But
I have a bonus arrangement, too, which helps.
After the second
Liston fight we made some exhibitions in Puerto Rico and Sweden and England,
then signed for the Patterson fight in Las Vegas. This was for November 22,
1965 and it was one of the few fights Ali had that I was worried about, because
of the way he felt about it. It wasn't a fight as much as a crusade for Ali,
mostly because of the things Floyd said about Ali's religion. Patterson got
under his skin more than any other opponent he ever fought. I knew Ali was in
great physical condition for the bout, but he wasn't in great mental shape.
You have to
understand that at the time Ali was very sensitive about his religion. No one
had made much of a point about it before, certainly not any of his opponents.
There had been talk of the Muslims threatening Liston in Lewiston before the
second fight, but it was only speculation and it had no effect on Ali. But
before this fight, because Patterson brought it up, a lot of people asked Ali
about it and he got irritated. The more apparent it became that this bothered
Ali, the more reporters asked him about it and the madder he got. I was afraid
that he would do something silly in the ring.
Patterson did not figure to be too much of a problem. Ali has always had
trouble with tall fighters and left-handers, and Patterson wasn't either. He
was too small, really. But what most people don't realize about Patterson is
that if you don't take him out quick, you don't take him out at all. The longer
he goes, the better he takes a punch, which is true of most fighters. So I
wanted Ali to knock him out in a hurry.
He made me sick
to my stomach in the first round when he danced around Floyd and never threw a
punch. He wanted to show Floyd who was the king. When he said before the fight
that he wanted to punish Patterson, he meant it. By the time we reached the
sixth and seventh rounds I was chewing him out for not going after Floyd, but
by that time I think it was too late.
"Get him out
of there," I told him.
trying," he said. "I can't hit him with the right. It hurts."
He'd hurt his
right hand on Patterson's head and it hurt him like hell. He couldn't hook to
the head anymore, so he was hooking to the stomach with his right and jabbing
and hooking to the head with his left. They talk about how Patterson's back was
bad and that was why he couldn't fight hard toward the end of the bout. Well,
it was bad, but that was Ali's doing. I have never told anyone about this, but
Ali used to hurt his sparring partners in the back with his jab during
training. It's a hard, mean jab, and that was what made Patterson's back go