If he followed this pattern, it was felt, Patterson could expect to deprive Moore of his major weapon, sudden power, and pave the way for a knockout punch. It was a great deal to expect that a youngster with Floyd Patterson's eager soul could so restrain himself in the excitement of a championship fight, stick to the outlined strategy and never deviate from it, even when stung.
In the Moore camp, the light heavyweight champion's strategy was apparent immediately to those who watched his workouts. It was foreordained that Archie, a supreme stylist of a very special mold, would conserve energy for the ultimate moment when he could take advantage of inexperienced youth and crash fist against jaw with knockout force. Meanwhile, Archie would be hidden behind that strange crisscross of arms and elbows, waiting like a tensed panther for the moment to lunge. He would thus be secure, and all he needed was to seize the moment when it came.
These were the plans. As the day of the fight neared, it became evident that, of the two, Patterson was in better shape to carry them out. He was in superb condition; but Moore, though he slammed sparring partners about, was far less fit. Archie went through one workout—two rounds of boxing, shadowboxing, light-and heavy-bag punching—and emerged so puffed that he could hardly talk. But at other times he talked beautifully in roguish prose.
As he had twitted Marciano, so he teased Patterson. D'Amato was mere "comic relief." Advised that Patterson was so relaxed he was sleeping "like a baby," Archie promised to "put him to sleep." He spoke mysteriously of his diet, learned from an Australian aborigine, no less, and of a wonderful Tasmanian salve, imported at great expense to bring his weight down in selected areas. He challenged Patterson to make the weight and fight for both the light heavyweight and heavyweight championships.
Patterson was amused, up to a point. He announced finally that Archie must be talking for a triple purpose—to build up the gate, to intimidate Patterson and, above all, to reassure Archie. In the end Floyd had the retort perfect—a left hook to the jaw.
But at fight time Archie was favored, though the odds swung through an arc from 12-5 to 6-5 and back to 8-5. Many favored Moore on the basis of Patterson's showing against Hurricane Jackson, whom he defeated in 12 rounds, on a split decision, with a broken right hand.
It had been believed that Patterson broke his hand in the sixth round of the Jackson fight. Actually he broke it in training two weeks before the fight. At that time, puzzled by a desultory workout in which Patterson punched poorly, this reporter went up to talk to him and shook hands. Patterson winced. He said nothing then, however, and, in fact, said not a word until almost an hour after he beat Jackson. D'Amato and Florio had sent their man into the ring believing him fully sound.
"I didn't want to miss the chance," Patterson explained to them when, horrified, they asked why he hadn't mentioned the injury before the fight.
So his showing against Jackson was by no means Patterson at his best, except in self-confidence.
Patterson at his best was a lean 182½ pounds—four pounds more than he weighed against Jackson—facing the supreme challenge of his life, the 187¾-pound Moore, one of the world's most experienced, craftiest, hardest-punching fighters. Their age difference—with Moore rated at 39 years, as he counts it—favored Patterson in speed and stamina, Moore in ring learning.