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Patterson’s Manager Sees Uphill Fight Against Liston

July 16, 1963 - Cus D’Amato (left in 1957), manager of Floyd Patterson (right), admitted in Las Vegas today that “it’ll take the greatest fight of Floyd’s career to beat Sonny Liston.” Showing more than considerable respect for the champion, D’Amato said, “Liston will stand with the best of them. I honestly feel Patterson has more ability, but he’ll have to be at his absolute best to do the job. He’ll have to be as good as he was in 1955 against Don Grant. That was Floyd at his peak. But he’s looking strong. I’ve never seen him so fierce in training.” Billy Conn, however, who gave Joe Louis one of his toughest fights back in 1941, expressed no confidence in Patterson. “The kid has no chance,” declared Conn today. “Patterson still fights like he did when he was in the amateurs. Sonny can knock him out with his shoelace.” Meanwhile, Nevada Governor Grant Sawyer left the door open today for an out-of-state referee at the Liston-Patterson fight, which takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center next Monday night. Gov. Sawyer said: “The state will permit an outside referee if our Athletic Commission chooses one. We sometimes go outside the state for talent in other fields.” When champion Liston was asked if he objected to an outside referee, he said: “I don’t care who referees. He won’t have to work more than five rounds.” Asked if he would “carry” Patterson for the sake of the closed-circuit television audience around the country, Sonny said: “Yes — right out.”


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