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Liston: "I Just Want To Prove Myself"

May 2, 1962 - Sonny Liston said today that he was not upset by the New York Athletic Commission’s refusal to give him a license to challenge Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight crown in New York in September. The commission, citing Liston’s criminal record and his association with persons of unsavory background, said these factors could be detrimental to the best interests of boxing. “I only want a chance to prove myself,” said Liston. “I don’t think anyone should worry about me if I should win the title. My ambition now is to make myself a respected citizen. I am still taking religious instruction, I go to church, and I am fully aware of how I should conduct myself to win the admiration of young people and old ones, too. This is my aim, and I’m not just talking through my hat.” He made it clear that anything he says about Patterson or any other fighter was not any expression of anger or hate. “I have long ago given up those thoughts,” he said. “In this business, we go into the ring to beat the other fellow. And I guess all of us think we are the best.” Regarding the Patterson fight, he said, “I think maybe it won’t go more than three or four rounds.”

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