Joe Tepper insisted his setback was only temporary, and, in fact, he remained a reasonably good prospect to promote the second Johansson-Patterson fight, if only because he has a reputation for honesty and a total lack of criminal associations. His principal handicap is Johansson's antipathy for persons who talk as long and hard and relentlessly as Joe Tepper. But that is not insurmountable if the champion is otherwise satisfied.
A cool head in the ring or in a business conference, and a man with a profound sympathy for the problems of prizefighters, Ingemar made it clear that Floyd Patterson is his chosen opponent for his next fight, partly because he expects the match to draw the best of any that can be arranged but also because he has a sincere admiration for Patterson as a man. Patterson has made no excuses for being knocked out, has made no attempt to disparage Johansson's victory as the mere result of a lucky punch. The former champion has maintained a decent and dignified silence ever since the fight, and Johansson, a quiet man himself, respects him for it.
When Tepper announced that a consummation in Gothenburg was impossible without clarification of the New York situation, he paused as if for once that was all he had to say. Ahlquist prompted him.
"You forget something," Ahlquist said.
Tepper looked blank, but Ingemar knew what Ahlquist meant.
"There is going to be a fight with Patterson," Ingemar said firmly, "I don't know if Tepper will promote, but one thing I know—it will be Floyd Patterson. Floyd Patterson is a good sportsman. Even if our contract is null and void I am standing by my promise. Floyd Patterson is a nice boy and they are not taking his license away, even though they take away D'Amato's."
Neither Johansson nor Ahlquist seemed to care particularly whether Tepper promotes the fight or who his backers are. Ahlquist pointedly told the Gothenburg press that "it is unimportant what the names of the backers are because there is plenty of Swedish money available here and in America to promote the fight."
Granted that Tepper or another suitable promoter can be found, the fight will take place in New York next June. If Johansson wins the return bout the chances are that he will make his second defense in Gothenburg at the very modern Nya Ullevi Stadium, possibly against Zora Folley, ranked No. 2 behind Patterson. Ahlquist believes that such a fight in September would warrant $100 ringside tickets, draw $1,200,000 at the gate alone and sell out the 60,000 seats in a couple of weeks. On the night that Johansson knocked out top-ranked Eddie Machen in a single round, before Ingemar was seriously considered as a challenger, the stadium was almost filled. Now that he is champion, Sweden's very first, it would seem that Ahlquist is not just being optimistic.
Johansson, letting promotional nature take its course, starts a Caribbean and Latin American exhibition tour at Ciudad Trujillo on December 2, winding up at Trinidad in mid-December. While this is going on, Ahlquist may well turn up in New York to look at Joe Tepper on his native soil and discuss affairs of state with Joe's potential backers.