These prizefighters are Eddie Machen (white trunks) and Zora Folley (black trunks). Prizefighters are commonly referred to, by their managers, as tigers. The resemblance of Machen and Folley to tigers lies in the fact that they have stripes on their trunks. The lioness in the other pictures, caught in a similar attitude of affection, has neither stripes nor trunks and she is tame, too. She was tamed by Paulette Lloyd Greame of Kenya (in unstriped black slacks). Who tamed Machen and Folley we will never know.
Machen and Folley, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, behind Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson, were contending for a legitimate claim on boxing's biggest prize, a shot at the heavyweight title. They responded to challenge and opportunity with so desultory an exhibition of fierce desire on Wednesday night that San Francisco's massive Cow Palace rocked with ardent boos.
Out of the fight might have come a stern and all but irresistible demand that Cus D'Amato, Patterson's manager, abandon his war on the International Boxing Club (see page 66) and accept the winner as an opponent, which D'Amato had refused to do. The National Boxing Association had urged something of the sort. The World Championship Committee was standing by, ready to proclaim. A Congressman from California and a Congressman from Arizona had put their twin heads together and had already proclaimed that if Patterson did not fight the winner there would be legislative ructions. The IBC had solemnly proclaimed, too, that a Patterson vs. Winner fight would be for the good of boxing.
After the fight only Representative Stewart L. Udall of Folley's home state, Arizona, was still proclaiming. You could have written all the other proclamations on the head of a pin. There was silence, broken only by the desolate sobbing of the fighters' managers and the booing of some 12,000 fans who had paid up to $20 to see as poor a show as ever closed in an out-of-town tryout.
April 21, 1958
There was, indeed, no winner. By a freak of official judgment, if that is the explanation, the fight was declared a draw, though Folley had clearly won. Folley won a newspaper decision, not so much by earnest striving as by sticking a defensive, needlessly deterrent left into the face of Machen who rose to his greatest heights when he snarled, showing his mouthpiece whitely, or twitched a shoulder in furious imitation of a fighter about to throw a punch. Both gestures were made, you may be sure, at a safe distance. When Machen closed on his man it was generally to hug him. A SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reporter's notes ticked off no fewer than 84 clinches in the 12-round bout, but the fellow admits he may have missed a dozen more. He got bored jotting them down.
There was general agreement afterward that if both men were to fight Patterson on the same night there would be only two rounds of boxing.
Machen mourned in his dressing room that he had injured a left shoulder muscle in the fifth round, a reprise of a claim that had caused the fight to be postponed three weeks. It seemed curious, then, that he did his best work after the fifth round.
The whole affair—fight and decision—was curious. Its best effect was to inspire some bright comment.
Jimmy Cannon, New York Post: "Mankind will avoid extinction in this age of violence if the governments of the earth emulate the gentle dispositions of Eddie Machen and Zora Folley."
Red Smith, New York Herald Tribune: "Machen and Folley gave evidence that Whistler's Mother could take on either of them without risking a hair of her dear gray head."
Dan Parker, New York Mirror: "[The bout] reached its finest moment when...an inspired TV program director switched on a deodorant commercial."
Cus D'Amato, looking shrewdly amused and having the last word: "What were they afraid of? That they'd have to fight Patterson?"