Alejandro (“Don’t call me Lavo”) Lavorante, the giant Argentine heavyweight who risks his ring future against Cassius Clay one week from tonight at the Sports Arena, has turned into a rabid movie fan.
And his favorite film star is Mr. Clay.
Acting very much like a red-eyed film addicted football coach, Lavorante bought movies of Clay’s last fight with Billy Daniels, and Alex has been spending almost all of his extra moments here at Andrade’s fight camp studying Cassius the Great in celluloid. Lights out, please.
“He’s found out some interesting things,” said manager Pinkie George Thursday as Alex toiled four rounds with main eventer Otis Fuller in the same outdoor training ring that once produced world title triumphs for Ray Robinson, Davey Moore and Don Jordan.
“We don’t want to talk too much about it, but Clay’s weaknesses are easy to spot,” said George.
The hint in this particular sparring session was that Lavorante figures Clay’s novice habit of leaning back away from jabs makes him an easy target for long, looping rights.
Lavorante sizzled home a series of jarring rights to the retreating Fuller’s chin during the 12 minute drill.
“He’s just hitting his peak,” enthused George. “Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be the climax. We’ll up the workouts to seven rounds a day, then taper off starting Monday. Look at him. He’s getting really mean, just the way we want him.”
The movie bit offers an interesting comparison.
Only other time Lavorante charted films of an opponent was for Zora Folley in 1961. Net result was the stunning upset knockout victory that first put the 26-year-old Argentine on the fistic map.
Lavorante, who’s now toiled a total of 70 rounds here in the simmering San Jacinto heat, shows no scars from his March 30 10th round KO loss to Archie Moore, a setback which reduced him from a No. 3 title contender’s ranking to No. 9.
“The Moore loss didn’t hurt anything but Alex’s pride,” said Pinkie. “The main thing is that he learned from the experience. But we’re not kidding ourselves. We know the Clay fight is IT. If Alex loses this one it’s back to the minors.”
Note: This article was originally published on July 16, 1962.