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Floyd Patterson (January 4, 1935 – May 11, 2006 in Wacomarker, North Carolinamarker) was an American 2-time world heavyweight boxing champion. At 21, Patterson was then the youngest man to win the world heavyweight championship and, later, the first to regain it. He had a record of 55 wins 8 losses and 1 draw, with 40 wins by knockout.

Childhood and amateur career

Born into a poor family in Wacomarker, North Carolinamarker, Patterson was the youngest of eleven children and experienced an insular and troubled childhood. His family moved to Brooklyn, New Yorkmarker, where Floyd was a truant and petty thief. At age ten, he was sent to the Wiltwyck School for Boys, a reform school in upstate New Yorkmarker, which he credited with turning his life around. He stayed there for almost 2 years.

At age fourteen he started to box, trained by Cus D'Amato at his Gramercy Gym. Aged just 17, Patterson won the Gold medal in the 1952 Helsinkimarker Olympics as a middleweight. 1952 turned out to be a good year for the young Patterson; in addition to Olympic gold Patterson won the National Amateur Middleweight Championship and New York Golden Gloves Middleweight championship.

By the 1950s, Patterson was a resident of Rockville Centre, New Yorkmarker.

Olympic Results



Patterson's amateur record over 44 fights was 40-4, with 37 knockouts.

Patterson carried his hands higher than most boxers, in front of his face. Sportswriters called Patterson's style a "peek-a-boo" stance.

Early Pro career

Patterson turned pro and steadily rose through the ranks, his only early defeat being an eight-round decision to former light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim on June 7, 1954, at the Eastern Parkway Arena in Brooklyn, New York.

Champion

Although Patterson fought around the light heavyweight limit for much of his early career, he and manager Cus D'Amato always had plans to fight for the heavyweight championship.In fact, D'Amato made these plans clear as early as 1954, when he told the press that Patterson was aiming for the heavyweight title. However, after Rocky Marciano announced his retirement as heavyweight champion of the world on April 27 1956, Patterson was ranked by Ring magazine as the top light heavyweight contender. After Marciano's announcement, Jim Norris of the International Boxing Club stated that Patterson was one of the six fighters who would take part in an elimination tournament to crown Marciano's successor. Ring then moved Patterson into the heavyweight rankings, at number five.

After beating Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson in an elimination fight, Patterson faced light heavyweight champion Archie Moore on November 30, 1956, for the world heavyweight championship. He beat Moore by a knockout in five rounds, and became the youngest world heavyweight champion in history, at the age of 21 years and 10 months. He was the first Olympic gold medalist to win a professional heavyweight title.
After a series of defenses, Patterson met Ingemar Johansson of Swedenmarker, in the first of three fights. Johansson triumphed over Patterson on June 26, 1959, with the referee Ruby Goldstein stopping the fight in the third round after the Swede had knocked Patterson down seven times. Johansson became that country's first world heavyweight champion, thus becoming a national hero in Sweden as the first European to defeat an American for the title since 1933.

Patterson knocked out Johansson in the fifth round of their rematch on June 20, 1960, to become the first man to regain the undisputed world heavyweight title. Johansson hit the canvas hard, seemingly out before he landed flat on his back. With glazed eyes, blood trickling from his mouth, and his left foot quivering, he was counted out. Johansson lay unconscious for five minutes before he was helped onto a stool.

A third fight between them was held on March 13, 1961, and while Johansson put Patterson on the floor, Patterson retained his title by knockout in the sixth round to win the rubber match in which Patterson was decked twice and Johannson once in the first round.

Patterson faced a variety of lesser contenders, including 1956 Olympic Champion Pete Rademacher fighting in his first professional match, which led to charges that Patterson was ducking number one contender Sonny Liston. Patterson, stung by the criticism, agreed to fight Liston.

Patterson lost his title to Liston on September 25, 1962, by a first-round knockout. The two fighters were a marked contrast. In the ring, Liston's size and power proved too much for Patterson's guile and agility. Ten months later, on July 22, 1963, Patterson attempted to become the first boxer to win the heavyweight title three times, but Liston once again knocked him out in the first round.

Following these defeats, Patterson went through a depression. However, he eventually recovered and began winning fights again, including victories over Eddie Machen and George Chuvalo. Patterson became the number one challenger for the title then held by Muhammad Ali. On November 22, 1965, in yet another attempt to be the first to win the world's heavyweight title three times, Patterson lost by technical knockout at the end of the 12th round, in a bout in which Ali was clearly dominant.

Despite this loss, Patterson was still a legitimate contender. In 1966 he traveled to England and knocked out British boxer Henry Cooper in just four rounds at Wembley Stadium. In comparison, Ali never scored a knockdown against Cooper in their two bouts.

In September 1969 he divorced his first wife, Sandra Hicks Patterson, who wanted him to quit boxing while he still had hopes for another title shot. When Ali was stripped of his title for refusing induction into the military, the World Boxing Association staged an eight-man tournament to determine his successor. Patterson lost a controversial 12-round decision to Jerry Quarry in 1967. Subsequently, in a third and final attempt at winning the title a third time, Patterson lost a controversial 15-round referee's decision to Jimmy Ellis in Sweden despite breaking Ellis' nose and scoring a disputed knockdown.

Patterson continued on, however, defeating Oscar Bonavena in a close fight over ten rounds in early 1972. However, a final defeat by Muhammad Ali in a rematch for the North American Boxing Federation heavyweight title on September 20, 1972, convinced Patterson to retire at the age of 37.

Retired life

In retirement, he and Johansson became good friends who flew across the Atlanticmarker to visit each other every year, and he became chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission. He was also inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Famemarker.

In 1982 and 1983 he ran the Stockholm Marathon together with Ingemar Johansson.

Patterson lived in New Paltz, New Yorkmarker for many years and was known as a true gentlemen around town. He was a Latin Rite Catholic convert and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

His adopted son, Tracy Harris Patterson, was a world champion boxer in the 1990s and was trained by Floyd during part of his career.

The New Paltz High School football field was named "Floyd Patterson Field" in 1985.

Death

The grave of Floyd Patterson
Patterson suffered from Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer and had been hospitalized for a week prior to his death. He died at home in New Paltz in 2006 at age 71. He is buried at New Paltz Rural Cemetery in New Paltz, Ulster County, New Yorkmarker.

Pop Culture References

  • In the Japanesemarker boxing manga and anime series Hajime no Ippo (Fighting Spirit), the title character Makunouchi Ippo is taught the "Gazelle Punch" which is a recreation of the leaping blow Patterson used to defeat Johansson in their first rematch fight. Conversely, the character Takeshi Sendo's main technique, the Smash, is modeled after Donovan "Razor" Ruddock's technique, created to beat Mike Tyson's impenetrable defense.


  • He is a character in the popular Fight Night Round 3 video game, although he is portrayed as a slow, wild punching slugger, he was a quick, sharp punching boxer.




  • Patterson is mentioned in the Swedish rock group Eldkvarns song "Alice", that deals with childhood memories from Norrköpingmarker in the 1950s. The line: "Sen kom Floyd Patterson på ett lastbilsflak" refers to Floyd Patterson touring Sweden in August 1960. He was paraded through Norrköping on a flat bed truck waving to the crowds.


  • In the Mad Men episode Six Month Leave, Patterson is noted as being at the same underground casino as the show's characters. He does appear on-screen. Insult comic Jimmy Barrett speaks to him after being punched by another character.


Quotes

  • "It's easy to do anything in victory. It's in defeat that a man reveals himself."


  • "They said I was the fighter who got knocked down the most, but I also got up the most."


  • "When you have millions of dollars, you have millions of friends." [24724]


  • On boxing: "It's like being in love with a woman. She can be unfaithful, she can be mean, she can be cruel, but it doesn't matter. If you love her, you want her, even though she can do you all kinds of harm. It's the same with me and boxing. It can do me all kinds of harm but I love it."


See also



Professional boxing record

55 Wins (40 knockouts, 15 decisions), 8 Losses (5 KO, 3 Decisions), 1 Draw
Res.
Opponent
Type
Rd., Time
Date
Location
Notes
Loss
Muhammad Ali
TKO
7
1972-09-20
New York, NY, USA
Win
Pedro Agosto
TKO
6
1972-07-14
Queens, NY, USA
Win
Oscar Bonavena
Decision
10
1972-02-11
New York, NY, USA
Win
Charlie Harris
KO
6
1971-11-23
Portland, OR, USA
Win
Vic Brown
Decision
10
1971-08-21
Buffalo, NY, USA
Win
Charley Polite
Decision
10
1971-07-17
Erie, PA, USA
Win
Terry Daniels
Decision
10
1971-05-26
Cleveland, OH, USA
Win
Roger Russell
TKO
9
1971-03-29
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Win
Levi Forte
KO
2
1971-01-16
Miami, FL, USA
Win
Charley Green
KO
10
1970-09-15
New York, NY, USA
Loss
Jimmy Ellis
Decision
12
1968-09-14
Stockholm, Sweden
Loss
Jerry Quarry
Decision
12
1967-10-28
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Draw
Jerry Quarry
Decision
10
1967-06-09
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Win
Bill McMurray
KO
1
1967-03-30
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Win
Willie Johnson
KO
3
1967-02-13
Miami, FL, USA
Win
Henry Cooper
KO
4
1966-09-20
London, United Kingdom
Loss
Muhammad Ali
TKO
12
1965-11-22
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Win
Tod Herring
TKO
3
1965-05-14
Stockholm, Sweden
Win
George Chuvalo
Decision
12
1965-02-01
New York, NY, USA
Win
Charley Powell
KO
6
1964-12-12
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win
Eddie Machen
Decision
12
1964-07-05
Solna, Sweden
Win
Santo Amonti
TKO
8
1964-01-06
Stockholm, Sweden
Loss
Sonny Liston
KO
1
1963-07-22
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Loss
Sonny Liston
KO
1
1962-09-25
Chicago, IL, USA
Win
Tom McNeeley
KO
4
1961-12-04
Toronto, Canada
Win
Ingemar Johansson
KO
6
1961-03-13
Miami, FL, USA
Win
Ingemar Johansson
KO
5
1960-06-20
New York, NY, USA
Loss
Ingemar Johansson
TKO
3
1959-06-26
Bronx, NY, USA
Win
Brian London
KO
11
1959-05-01
Indianapolis, IN, USA
Win
Roy Harris
Corner Retirement
12
1958-08-18
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Win
Pete Rademacher
KO
6
1957-08-22
Seattle, WA, USA
Win
Tommy Jackson
TKO
10
1957-07-29
New York, NY, USA
Win
Archie Moore
KO
5
1956-11-30
Chicago, IL, USA
Win
Tommy Jackson
Decision
12
1956-06-08
New York, NY, USA
Win
Alvin Williams
KO
3
1956-04-10
Kansas City, MO, USA
Win
Jimmy Walls
TKO
2
1956-03-12
New Britain, CT, USA
Win
Jimmy Slade
TKO
7
1955-12-08
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Win
Calvin Brad
KO
1
1955-10-13
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Win
Dave Witlock
KO
3
1955-09-29
San Francisco, CA, USA
Win
Alvin Williams
TKO
8
1955-09-08
New Brunswick, Canada
Win
Archie McBride
KO
7
1955-07-06
New York, NY, USA
Win
Yvon Durelle
Corner Retirement
5
1955-06-23
New Brunswick, Canada
Win
Esau Ferdinand
KO
10
1955-03-17
Oakland, CA, USA
Win
Don Grant
TKO
5
1955-01-17
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win
Willie Troy
TKO
5
1955-01-07
New York, NY, USA
Win
Jimmy Slade
Decision
8
1954-11-19
New York, NY, USA
Win
Joe Gannon
Decision
8
1954-10-12
New York, NY, USA
Win
Esau Ferdinand
Decision
8
1954-10-11
New York, NY, USA
Win
Tommy Harrison
TKO
1
1954-08-02
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win
Jacques Royer Crecy
TKO
7
1954-07-12
New York, NY, USA
Loss
Joey Maxim
Decision
8
1954-06-07
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win
Jesse Turner
Decision
8
1954-05-10
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win
Alvin Williams
Decision
8
1954-04-19
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win
Sammy Brown
TKO
2
1954-03-30
Washington DC, USA
Win
Yvon Durelle
Decision
8
1954-02-15
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win
Dick Wagner
TKO
5
1953-11-14
Louisville, KY, USA
Win
Wes Bascom
Decision
8
1953-10-19
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win
Gordon Wallace
TKO
3
1953-06-01
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win
Dick Wagner
Decision
8
1961-04-19
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win
Chester Mieszala
TKO
5
1953-01-28
Chicago, IL, USA
Win
Lalu Sabotin
TKO
5
1952-12-29
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win
Lester Johnson
TKO
3
1952-10-31
New York, NY, USA
Win
Sammy Walker
TKO
2
1952-10-06
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win
Eddie Godbold
KO
4
1952-09-12
New York, NY, USA


References



  • Victory Over Myself by Floyd Patterson with Milton Gross. Published by Bernard Geis Associates, distributed by Random House, 1962. Library of Congress Catalog Number: 62-15657.


External links



References and Notes

  1. Nichols, Joseph C. "30,000 EXPECTED AT POLO GROUNDS; Johansson's First Defense Likely to Bring Receipts of $750,000 at Gate", The New York Times, June 19, 1960. Accessed December 8, 2007. "Ingemar Johansson, a 27-year-old native of Goteborg Sweden, will make the first defense of his world heavyweight championship tomorrow night. He will oppose the previous title-holder, Floyd Patterson of Rockville Centre, L.I., in a fight scheduled for fifteen rounds at the Polo Grounds."



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