Prizefighting: Anything Goes

The heavyweights are everybody's heroes, with their tomato-red Cadillacs and gold-lamè sport coats, their 18-in. biceps and sledgehammer fists. When they fight, the whole world watches. So what happens? One punch, and it's goodbye Charley, let's do this again next year. It doesn't even seem to matter where the punch lands: Cassius Clay taps Sonny Listen on the arm, and Sonny takes the pipe sitting on his stool.

Humbug. For old-fashioned prizefighting, nothing beats the welterweights. Take Emile Griffith and Luis Rodriguez, both 146 Ibs., soaking wet. Griffith, a soft-spoken Virgin Islander,...

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