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PAGE 16 BOSTON POST-GAZE'I'rE, AUGUST 26, 2016 ~v Ingemar Johansson "Toonder / Johansson KOs Patterson. When the names of the great- est heavyweight champions of all time are mentioned, one name that never is heard is Ingemar Johansson. Ingo held the championship for a year and six days, from June 1959 until June of 1960. During his brief reign he was extremely popular, not only in his homeland of Sweden, but also in the United States.To watch Johansson in action is not to be impressed at first sight. That is until he lands his powerful right hand known as his Toonder and Lightning," and sometimes The Hammer of Thor." There was a bit more to him than just the right hand. Mter all, no matter how hard a boxer punches, he still has to land the blow. You can see the early signs of his method by watching his 1952 Olympic bout against American Ed Sanders, even though Ingo was disqualified in this fight for "inactivity," (actu- ally, both fighters were warned for the same infraction}. Ingmar was employing a style he would carry with him throughout his career. He would move about quickly on his feet while tossing a flicking left jab. His awkward style was meant to confuse his opponents and allow him to make an opening for a sucker right hand punch to be thrown. Once he landed the big punch, he would be all over his prey, usually finishing him off. After the Olympics, Johans- son considered giving up boxing but reconsidered and embarked on a professional career. He fought all of his pre-champi- onship fights in Europe, most of them in Sweden, beating the best heavyweights on that side of the pond. He kayoed Henry Cooper, Hein ten Hoff, Joe Erskine, and won the European Heavyweight Championship by kayoing Franco Cavicchi in Italy. He had compiled a record of 20 straight wins with 12 com- ing via knock out when he was matched against highly ranked contender Eddie Machen with the match to take place in Inge- mars hometown of Gothenberg, Sweden. On paper, it looked like the slick boxing Machen should have no problem out-boxing Johansson in training. the crude but hard-punch- ing Swede. The question was, could Machen win a decision in Sweden? I have heard rumors over the years that Eddie threw the fight in order to get a big payday and a promise at a fu- ture title shot. It wasn't until I finally got to see the footage of the bout that I learned the truth. If Machen was throwing the fight, he deserved an Acad- emy Award as he took a terrible beating in the first round, being knocked senseless by Ingo's ~l'oonder and Lightning." This victory put Johansson in fine for a shot at Floyd Patterson and the crown. Patterson was perhaps the most protected champion in boxing history. Cus D'Amato took no chances when picking an opponent for his charge, usually making sure anyone about to step into the ring against Floyd didn~ have much more than a barely readable pulse. Cus must have either thought the rumors of a dive by Machen were true or he thought it was a fluke. Johansson's rifle shot against Patterson would also be his first fight in the United States, and upon his arrival here he proved to be quite popular. He was handsome, charming, spoke de- cent English, and loved to mix with people. He was quite the contrast from the withdrawn champion who people were growing bored with. While not many people gave Ingo a chance at winning the rifle, they appre- ciated the breath of fresh air he was for boxing. People at that time expected the Heavyweight Champion to be a celebrity. He was, after all, one of, ff not, the most famous men on the planet. Patterson just did not have that star power, and he was further and Lightening" hurt by the fact he avoided all of the top contenders. He had actually become somewhat of an embarrassment to boxing and to himself, dohansson's arrival would change all of this. The fight was set for June 26, 1959, at Yankee Stadium. The match was postponed for a day due to rain which continued on fight night. A crowd of 21,961 still showed up for what was expected to be another Pat- terson mismatch. Well, it did turn out to be a mismatch, but just not in the way most people thought it would. After a slow first two rounds, Ingo's ~Hammer of Thor" made contact with Floyd's chin, and he was on his way to a Viking Funeral. After Patterson had been on the deck seven times in that single round, the referee mercifully stopped the slaughter. Years later I spoke with Cus D'Amato about Johansson's strategy in the fight. What he told me brought me back to the Sander's fight in the Olympics. He pointed out that Ingo never really threw a serious left jab. While he was sticking his left out there quite often, his intent was not to land it, but instead to distract Patterson with it. He would flick it out at eye level and then hop backwards and sideways. He would very rarely throw the right hand or a left hook. The purpose was to keep Patterson from seeing his right hand as well as lull him into a sense of forgetfulness about the right hand that Ingo kept cocked under his chin. dohansson was also quite fast on his feet. This method worked perfectly as Ingmar was able to neutral- ize Patterson's left hook while setting him up for a right hand which he delivered beautifully in the third round. It might also be noted that while Ingo did throw a few right hands in the opening rounds, they were more for gauging distance than for damage. When he let it fly in the third round, the punch was short and very straight. It was also devastating. While Johansson did not hold the title long, losing it back to Patterson in a rematch, his presence on the scene was a shot in the arm for the sport. It also did something for Patterson he was not able to do for himself; it gained him the respect of the boxing public. By winning back the title he did something that had never been done before. As for Ingmar, he was a fighter with limited abilities, but he made the most of what he had. He also had a strong dislike for training, though I have heard he did enjoy running. Later in life he ran the Boston Marathon. A better schooled and better trained Ingo may have shown more, but as it is he went out and won the Heavyweight Championship of the world by fighting a smart fight and keeping hiscomposure. He had a plan and he stuck with it. He can also be credited with reviving the sport when it was against the ropes. Ingmar Johansson may have been far from great, but he was no stiff. FINALLY A DECSION, BUT ONE WITH TAXING CONSE- QUENCES -- So, he won't be performing on Causeway Street on a regular basis, he being lo- cal hockey star Jimmy Vesey who recently signed up with the New York Rangers. First, let's say that there are many admirable qualifies about Vesey-- chief of which is that he stayed all four years and gradu- ated from Harvard while playing for Head Coach Ted Donato. Along the way, Vesey capped his senior year by being named the winner of the Hobey Baker Award, presented to the best player in college hockey. The Harvard captain accomplished that by scoring 24 goals and adding 22 assists for a total of 46 points in 33 games for the Crimson last year. There followed some summer maneuvering by NHL teams, touching off what amounted to a recruiting duel among a num- ber of franchises. Nashville had held Vesey's rights all through his college years, then traded those rights to Buffalo in mid- June. The Sabres had exclusive rights to offer him a deal until mid-August, but when that passed, a number of additional teams (including the Bruins) jumped into the fray. But in the end, the Rangers won out and Vesey has the possibility of playing with for- mer Boston College player and friend Kevin Hayes. The decision by Vesey rep- resented a major success for Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton, who had served as as- sistant GM of the Bruins for seven years earlier in his career. This was an opportunity," said Gorton of Vesey's poten- tial'to help the Rangers. "A real good player became available. We're trying to replace some of the depth weYe had in the past. We're trying to get as many young players as we can. The game is getting faster and more skilled all the time. So, we're re- ally excited to get a player like this. It's very exciting for us." But the question remains whether Vesey will get the best financial deal down in NYC. You see, it all comes down to finances-- or more specifically, taxes. As a prized rookie he will receive the $925,000 maximum rookie contract, plus a possible $1.9 million in incentives. What makes a monetary difference is taxes. New York City has a city in- come tax, so anyone who lives or works in New York City must pay three income taxes -- feder- al, state, and city. Given the size of his contract and incentives, Vesey will pay the maximum in city taxes -- 3.87 percent. That's in addition to the maxi- mum federal income tax (39.60 percent} and the maximum New York state income tax (8.82 percent}. It can add up. You see, that city income tax amounts to $38,800 per $1 million. So if all the incentives come through, he's looking at 3.87 percent of just under $3 million -- or about $116,000 for good old NYC. Back some years ago, NBA star LeBron James was being wooed by the New York Knicks, but wound up signing on with the Miami Heat. Now there's a smart man. Down in the Sun- shine State, you only fill out one income tax form -- the federal one. There isn't a Florida state income tax and there most certainly isn't a City of Miami income tax. Someone at the time wrote a whole article about this, es- timating that just by choosing to play for Miami rather than New York James saved mil- lions of dollars in taxes over the multi-year life of his contract. But eventually, even LeBron's heart won out. He moved back to Cleveland which has a city income tax (2.0 percent to go with the Ohio state income tax of 5.33 percent}. Perhaps after Jimmy spends a few years signing those triple tax forms every April, he may well change his tune and move back to Massachusetts (he's a Chelmsford native}. Anyway, right now New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor William de Blasio are his biggest fans. LEAVING THE HEIGHTS -- There was a time when athletes stayed in coUege, pursued an academic program, and gradu- ated with a degree. Is Harvard's Jimmy Vesey (see above} a symbol of a declining situation? Consider the scenar- io that's unfolded over the sum- mer just a few short miles away at Boston College, where seven players that were members of the BC men's hockey team last year will not be returning to campus this fall. All seven have something in common. They all left early -- after one, two, or three years -- to pursue a career in the pros, rather than complete an academic degree that would link them with an academic legacy of alumni that would last a lifetime. Those who will be absent from the Heights this coming season include goalie Thatcher Demko, defensemen lan McCoshen and Steve Santini, plus forwards Miles Wood, Zach Sanford, Alex Tuch, and Adam Gilmour. When we read about athletes leaving early, we think aboutthe students who really wanted to go to a particular college -- but didn get in. Right now, some- where, there are some sad stu- dents who really wanted to go to BC. It was their first choice, but they weren't admitted. They~l go on to another college, but it will be their second or third choice. We feel bad for them. Most, perhaps all, of the seven will probably not play in the NHL this season. This coming year, when they are at some forlorn minor league rinks, they will think about the Beanpot, the Hockey East Tournament, and the NCAA Regionals. Hoist- ing the trophies at those events are priceless experiences that can't be duplicated. Those who left early are about to find that out. WWW. BO,(;TON POSTGAZETTE.( :OM