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Before signing to defend his light heavyweight title against Bobo Olson, Archie Moore, who then weighed 196� pounds, made a painful confession. "Man," he confided, "it will take dynamite to get me to 175 pounds."
Last week at Ehsan's Training Camp, a few miles from Summit, N.J., Old Archie, who is pushing 40, was midway in his campaign to lop off those 21-odd pounds. And while the graying, cagey veteran was keeping mum on how much he's managed to shed, it was obvious that he has an exhausting battle on his hands before he ever touches gloves with Olson at the Polo Grounds next Wednesday night.
Moore would like everyone to think he has a secret formula for reducing. "I'll tell you," he taunts, "I know how to take off weight. I learned from a man in Australia, an aborigine, in 1940. It's a secret and there are other athletes like me who get overweight, they'd like to know it." But the formula, in essence, is what most overweight fighters apply: a steady diet of heavy workouts on an empty stomach.
Moore's workday at Ehsan's begins at 7 each morning with a six-mile jog. "I like to wait until the sun comes up so I can sweat good." To help nature along, Archie runs in heavy scarlet hunting pants, a woolen lumber jacket, a knitted wool cap pulled down around his ears and, underneath all this, a rubber sweat suit. In this attire he burns up more energy in one hour than an office worker does in an entire day.
After roadwork Archie showers, is rubbed down by his trainer, Cheerful Norman, and eats—or better drinks—breakfast: a large glass of iced orange juice and a cup of hot tea with a single teaspoon of sugar. Once in a while, but rarely during these corpulent days, he may also eat one egg, four strips of bacon and a slice of dry toast.
From 9 until one he relaxes and sips two more glasses of orange juice. "You see, my training is as much rest as work. You break the body down with work, then you gotta build it up with rest." Sprawled on the dingy sheets in Room No. 5 behind the barrackslike gym at Ehsan's, a small cubicle cluttered with sweat clothes and flashy suits, sneakers and suede shoes, sports magazines and comic books, Archie writes letters (as many as 40 a day) to fans and friends and listens to tape recordings that he's made of his favorite blues musicians until he falls asleep.
"BREAK THE BODY DOWN"
At 1:30, without a bite of lunch, he climbs into the ring "to break the body down" some more. Dressed like any other middle-aged sportsman on a weight-losing binge in a health club (rubber suit covered with sweat pants and a heavy T-shirt), Moore shadow-boxes for three rounds and spars two to five rounds with his habitual sparring partner, Tiger Bacon. He ends his one-hour workout with three rounds each on the light and heavy punching bags and five minutes of calisthenics with two-pound hand weights. This performance would knock anybody else Archie's age out for good.
Promptly at 5 every evening, he sits down to his one big meal: lettuce and tomato salad (no dressing), a broiled one-pound porterhouse steak (no fat), two vegetables, a slice of dry toast, tea and melon or stewed fruit. After dinner he watches television, plays cards and is in bed by 10.
"The big thing about preparing for this fight," admits his trainer, "is taking off weight. After all, Archie should know how to box by now.