Like him or not—and the crescendo of boos that greeted him when he stepped into the ring made it obvious that tots of people do not—Cassius Clay showed in Las Vegas last week that he is a giant among his peers. So completely did he humble Floyd Patterson that detractors now sneer at the fight as a horrible mismatch—which is a perverse bit of nonsense, since some of them had picked Patterson to win. Clay's triumph was hardly a moment of unalloyed glory, however. He has ever been aware that unpopularity is remunerative, but this time he exceeded himself in his bad-guy role as he put on a fancy Dan display that was part impressive boxing and part exhibitionism and hysteria, as the photographs on the next two pages show. By the time he sat grumpily at his postfight press conference he was both winner and loser. A fight that permits such a contradiction raises stimulating questions—technical ones, emotional ones, personal ones. Beginning on page 45, Gilbert Rogin gives some of the answers.
Clay's domination is reflected in these contemptuous—if risky—antics.
At left, he casually ties up Floyd, then gives him back of his hand.
Later in the fight overpowering Cassius holds a disabled Patterson at arm's length and (right) seemingly hoists him off the canvas by nose.
December 6, 1965
After knockdown wooden-legged Patterson gains time when referee stops count to get haranguing Clay to neutral corner.
A Black Muslim pin on his lapel and with Bodyguard Cap'n Sam peering over his shoulder, the natty champion glowers at press after victory.
The downcast challenger, his face curiously unmarked by Clay's barrage of punches, is embraced by his mother as he makes his way from the ring.