No rain in the face, no ice on the wings, no wire struts whining in the slip stream; no midnight landings on flare-marked wheat fields. Just helmets and slide rules and dials, and higher and higher speeds. It's a little as if Mickey Mantle were to hit .470 with an automatic bat.
AFTER THE FIGHT
Although the fight last week between-Floyd Patterson and Tommy (Hurricane) Jackson sometimes resembled a dark, uncomfortable dream out of Dostoevsky of a man beating a horse, the scene did provide a certain amount of enlightenment. It showed that Patterson is not only a skillful, hard-hitting champion, but a mature, compassionate young man. When he heard that Jackson had been taken to the hospital for the treatment of his injuries, Floyd said, "Which hospital?" and "Let's go." With his manager, Cus D'Amato, and his wife Sandra, he hurried to Jackson's bedside and wished him well.
The fight also demonstrated that Promoter Emil Lence, sardonic predictions to the contrary, could run an orderly show. It was marred by only two flaps. The first was a "fight's off" flash that went out over the air seven hours before ringtime, blaming bad weather—followed a quarter of an hour later by a "fight's-on-after-all" dispatch that never entirely caught up with the erroneous first report. Promoter Lence and NBC are still in diplomatic disagreement as to how the first flash came about—though Lence admits he told the network he might have to postpone the show till the following night. In any event, Commissioner Helfand, who, under the law, has to approve a postponement, quickly set almost everybody straight: no postponement.
The other incident occurred on the televised program. A Buick commercial went on immediately after Referee Ruby Goldstein stopped the bout, so that the viewers missed the official decision. In a refreshing apology, Vice-president Edward T. Ragsdale of General Motors said: "As a fight fan myself, I was incensed at the inept handling and bad timing... I feel that a public apology is in order."
Rocky Marciano got to see the Floyd Patterson-Hurricane Jackson fight on television in Maywood Park, Ill. He was serving as master of ceremonies for an outdoor Italian festival; the TV set had been brought to a platform behind the open-air stage. Rocky hunched forward on a folding chair, the screen only a foot or so from his face. When the bell rang for Round One, he clenched his fists and stared ahead. As Patterson knocked Jackson down, there was a yell from the 20 or so onlookers gathered behind Marciano. Someone asked what he thought. "Patterson landed some good punches," he answered softly. "To me, it's very interesting. It's very interesting to me."
In Round Three the set went out of focus. Bill Corum's voice came through, but the picture did not. "Fix it, fix it," the onlookers screamed, and finally someone did. Rocky watched quietly as Patterson stalked his victim. A photographer, leaning around the TV set, ordered, "Rock, make a motion with your fist." Rocky did so. "Rock, close your eyes tight." Rocky refused. "I want to watch the fight," he protested. At the end of the round, though, Rocky closed his eyes, and the photographer got his picture.
"Looks like Patterson is having it pretty easy," said Rocky at the end of Round Four. Would the fight go the distance, someone wanted to know. "Doesn't look it," said Rocky.
"Set up a left and throw it," said the photographer in Round Five. Rocky threw a left without taking his eyes from the screen. "See," said the photographer to an associate, "just tell him what to do."