Archie Moore has now moved into Chicago for his final training period before the Nov. 30 championship fight with Floyd Patterson, and bulletins and pronouncements in Archie's best style have already begun to crackle out to the press. ("I am not without pity for the boy," etc.) Archie's battle cries, of course, are part of the public and professional Archie and among other things are intended to have a stimulating effect on the gate.
A fortnight ago, when Martin Kane, our boxing writer, visited him at his California training camp—up in the rattlesnake country, miles from telephones and the now-attendant press—Archie was in a more reflective mood.
At night, sitting by the fire in his ranch cabin, Old Archie's eyes misted over when he talked about the years of his disappointment—the long years when he spent the strength of his youth in tank towns and became one of the ring's great fighters—knowing, accomplished, courageous, terribly dangerous. Now he has come, late, into the center of the stage against a strong youngster who is still sharpening the tools of his trade, and Old Archie, who knows better than anyone how sharp his own tools once were, cannot help but wonder if the years have dulled them too much.
Still, Old Archie is confident because it is the nature of the man to be confident, and he took a long, hard look at Patterson during the signing in Chicago and came to some conclusions.
"I size up Patterson," he said, "as a man that is definitely cunning and not naive. He doesn't let you see himself. I have a good suspicion that he's an awful good fighter, even at this stage.
"In Floyd's heart," he said, "he wants the championship. I have it in my heart to win, too. I've been fighting over a span of 22 years. I'd be the only light heavyweight champion ever to win the heavyweight championship. I'd be the oldest to win it. I know they kick Jersey Joe Walcott's age around the same as mine, but I'd be the oldest.
"I'd like to close out a beautiful career with that."
Archie husbanded the strength left to him. Some days he skipped his road work, some days he did not box. When he did, he hit hard although he was as gentle as he could be with his sparring partners, Windy Wenbourne and Clint (Tiger) Bacon. "He isn't out to kill us," Tiger explained.
Old Archie was clearly overweight, perhaps as much as 10 pounds over the 183 or so which would be his best fighting weight now, but it did not seem to worry a man who can make the light heavyweight limit at will.
He drove his latest sports car—a red TR3—down to Ramona most mornings. There he chatted with friends, did the camp's grocery shopping and usually stopped at the home of an octogenarian couple to leave a basket of food. They live in a $40,000 home, own a Lincoln and are destitute.