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Liston on Clay Fight: “It Won’t Go Past Two”

Jan. 2, 1964 - The world heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston, said today he didn’t think it would take him more than two rounds to knock out Cassius Clay in Miami on Feb. 25. “I don’t think it’ll go past two,” said Liston. “It better not go past three.” Liston explained that he has bet a friend a wristwatch that he will silence the challenger in three rounds. The champion, looking cheerful and fit, also explained why he was training in Las Vegas instead of Miami. “I don’t like to hear that loudmouth,” he said, referring to Clay. “If I was in Florida, I’d hear it.” Liston added that a forecast of bad weather kept him from training in Denver, his home.

Liston’s last two fights have not totaled six minutes because he knocked out the former champion, Floyd Patterson, in less than three minutes each time. Asked if this lack of fight time bothered him, Liston said, “No. This time, I’m going to try to fight about 64 seconds.” He did not explain how he had arrived at that number. Turning serious, he said: “I’m going to train harder for Clay than I did for Patterson. I don’t want him to catch me short. I want to catch him short.” A questioner pointed out that Clay has the reputation for being fast. “That’s what they say about all of them,” said Liston. “It looks like I’m just a little bit faster.”


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