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Marciano: “Floyd Should Think About Retirement”

July 23, 1963 - Former heavyweight champion Joe Louis said today he believed Floyd Patterson would retire. “After the knockout last year,” said Louis, “Patterson wanted to prove to himself and everybody that he could beat Liston. Well, the same thing happened. He threw only one real hard blow, a right to the head after the second knockdown. It didn’t even cause the champion’s eyes to blink. I think Floyd has lost all interest now and will quit.” Rocky Marciano, another former heavyweight champion, agreed. “Floyd should think about retirement,” said the Rock, “very strongly.” Both Louis and Marciano said they believed Cassius Clay would give Liston a better fight than Patterson had. “Clay has the confidence that should carry him through the first round,” Marciano observed. The irrepressible Clay bounded into the ring after Liston left, ranting and waving his arms. “It was a disgrace, a disgrace to the fight game!” the 21-year-old unbeaten contender yelled. “If I can’t whip that bum, I’ll leave the country.” Liston’s corner crew had come prepared. They held up a big sign, purporting to be a blow-up of a newspaper headline that read: “Clay has a big lip that Sonny will zip.” Clay grabbed the paper and ripped it to shreds (pictured). Cassius also stole the pre-fight show when he was introduced. He shook hands with Patterson. But at Sonny he just waved a hand in derision.

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