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Floyd: “I Won’t Run”

July 17, 1963 - “I won’t run,” said Floyd Patterson today as the challenger and heavyweight champion Sonny Liston wound up boxing drills for next Monday night’s rematch in Las Vegas. “I have no fear of Liston,” added Patterson. Despite these repeated vows of confidence, there was a resigned note of defeat in Floyd’s actions and conversations all week. He even admitted he brought his famous fake beard with him just in case. It’s the same disguise he donned last Sept. 25 when he left Chicago in secrecy after losing his title to Liston in a shocking one-round Comiskey Park execution (pictured). “I don’t feel I’ll lose,” said Patterson today, “but I have no control over my brain absorbing punches. If I should lose, I’ll wear the beard again. I’ll do it because I’ll be so ashamed.” In man-to-man betting in Vegas, it’s 4-1 the beard will make another appearance. Although his hands remain fast and his weight is up to 195 — he scaled 189 in Chicago — Floyd still looks like a flea next to Liston. In his workout today, Patterson was leaping and lunging and totally unimpressive — it was all strain and labor. Liston, meanwhile, breezes through his sessions with ridiculous ease and confidence. The champion shows every sign of being colossally bored with the whole affair.


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