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Floyd Patterson

Floyd Patterson
Floyd Patterson 1962.jpg
Real name Floyd Patterson
Nickname(s) The Gentleman of Boxing
Rated at Light heavyweight
Nationality USA
Birth date January 4, 1935(1935-01-04)
Birth place Waco, North Carolina, U.S.
Death date May 11, 2006 (aged 71)
Death place New Paltz, New York, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 64
Wins 55
Wins by KO 40
Losses 8
Draws 1
No contests 0

Floyd Patterson (January 4, 1935 ' May 11, 2006 in Waco, North Carolina) 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. He won gold for the United States at the 1952 Olympic Games as an amateur middleweight.


[edit] Childhood and amateur career

Born into a poor family in Waco, North Carolina, Patterson was the youngest of eleven children and experienced an insular and troubled childhood. His family moved to Brooklyn, New York, 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 York, 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 Helsinki 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 York.[1]

[edit] Olympic results

Olympic medal record
Men's Boxing
Competitor for  United States
Gold 1952 Helsinki Middleweight

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.

[edit] 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.

[edit] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.

Ingemar Johansson knocks out Floyd Patterson and becomes boxing heavyweight champion of the world, June 26, 1959.

After a series of defenses (Hurricane Jackson, Pete Rademacher, Roy Harris and Brian London), Patterson met Ingemar Johansson of Sweden, the number one contender, 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 Sweden's first world heavyweight champion, thus becoming a national hero 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.

[edit] Patterson vs. Liston

After the third Johansson fight Patterson defended the title on December 4, 1961 against Tom McNeeley and retained the title with a fourth-round knockout. However he did not fight number one contender Sonny Liston. This was due in part to Cus D'Amato, who did not want Patterson in the ring with a boxer with mob connections. As a result D'Amato turned down any challenges involving the International Boxing Club (IBC). Eventually due to a monetary dispute with Jimmy Jacobs, Patterson removed D'Amato from handling his business affairs and agreed to fight Liston.

Leading up the fight, Sonny Liston was the major betting line favorite, though Sports Illustrated predicted that Patterson would win in 15 rounds. James J. Braddock, Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles, Rocky Marciano and Ingemar Johansson picked Patterson to win. The fight also carried a number of social implications. Liston's connections with the mob were well known, and the NAACP was concerned about having to deal with Liston's visibility as world champion and had encouraged Patterson not to fight Liston fearing that a Liston victory would tarnish the civil rights movement. [4] Patterson also claimed that John F. Kennedy did not want him to fight Liston either.[5]

Patterson lost his title to Liston on September 25, 1962 in Chicago, by a first-round knockout in front of 18,894 fans. The two fighters were a marked contrast. In the ring, Liston's size and power proved too much for Patterson's guile and agility. However Patterson did not use his speed to his benefit. According to Sports Illustrated writer Gilbert Rogin, Patterson didn't punch enough and frequently tried to clinch with Liston. Liston battered Patterson with body shots and then shortened up and connected with two double hooks high on the head. The result at the time was the third-fastest knockout in boxing history.[6] After being knocked out, Patterson left Comiskey Park in Chicago wearing dark glasses and a fake beard for the drive back to New York. After the fight questions were raised on whether or not the fight was fixed to set up a more lucrative rematch. Overnight Patterson seemed to lose his public support as a result of his swift knockout.[7]

The rematch was set for April 1963, however Liston injured his knee swinging a golf club and the fight was delayed to July 22, 1963. In Las Vegas that night 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. Patterson lasted four seconds longer than in the first bout.

[edit] Later career

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.[8] Ali called Patterson an "Uncle Tom" for refusing to call him Muhammad Ali, (Patterson continued to call him Cassius Clay) and for this outspokenness against Black Muslims.[9] Instead of scoring a quick knockout, Ali mocked, humiliated and punished Patterson throughout the fight.[10]

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.

[edit] Retired life

In retirement, he and Johansson became good friends who flew across the Atlantic 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 Fame.

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

Patterson lived in New Paltz, New York for many years and was known as a true gentleman 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. Floyd also trained Canadian heavyweight Donovan "Razor" Ruddock in 1992 for this fight with Greg Page.[11]

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

[edit] Death

The grave of Floyd Patterson

Floyd 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 York.

[edit] Pop Culture References

  • In the November 21, 1962 episode of The Dick van Dyke Show "The Night the Roof Fell In", Rob Petrie is explaining to his son Richie that when parents are arguing, it is a "discussion" rather than a "fight":

Rob: The difference between a fight and a discussion is uh, well, now you've seen boxers in the ring hitting each other? Now that's a fight!

Richie: You mean like Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston?

Rob: Well, a lot of people thought that was more of a discussion.

  • Patterson is mentioned in the Swedish rock group Eldkvarns song "Alice", that deals with childhood memories from Norrköping 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.
  • In the episode "Hearts and Minds" of the reimagined tv series, V, Patterson is mentioned as being the favourite boxer of Fifth Column member, Kyle Hobbes.

[edit] 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." (This quote was used in the tenth episode of the 2009 TV series, V.)
  • "When you have millions of dollars, you have millions of friends." [1]
  • 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."

[edit] See also

[edit] Professional boxing record

55 Wins (40 knockouts, 15 decisions), 8 Losses (5 KO, 3 Decisions), 1 Draw[12]
Res. Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Loss Muhammad Ali TKO 7 (15) 1972-09-20 United States New York, NY, USA Fight was for NABF Heavyweight title
Win Pedro Agosto TKO 6 (10) 3:00 1972-07-14 United States Queens, NY, USA
Win Oscar Bonavena Decision (unanimous) 10 (10) 1972-02-11 United States New York, NY, USA
Win Charlie Harris KO 6 (10) 2:41 1971-11-23 United States Portland, OR, USA
Win Vic Brown Decision (unanimous) 10 (10) 1971-08-21 United States Buffalo, NY, USA
Win Charley Polite Decision 10 (10) 1971-07-17 United States Erie, PA, USA
Win Terry Daniels Decision (unanimous) 10 (10) 1971-05-26 United States Cleveland, OH, USA
Win Roger Russell TKO 9 (10) 1:29 1971-03-29 United States Philadelphia, PA, USA
Win Levi Forte KO 2 (10) 1971-01-16 United States Miami, FL, USA
Win Charley Green KO 10 (10) 1:15 1970-09-15 United States New York, NY, USA
Loss Jimmy Ellis Decision 12 (12) 1968-09-14 Sweden Stockholm, Sweden Fight was for WBA World Heavyweight title
Loss Jerry Quarry Decision (majority) 12 (12) 1967-10-28 United States Los Angeles, CA, USA
Draw Jerry Quarry Decision (majority) 10 (10) 1967-06-09 United States Los Angeles, CA, USA
Win Bill McMurray KO 1 (10) 2:37 1967-03-30 United States Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Win Willie Johnson KO 3 (10) 2:05 1967-02-13 United States Miami, FL, USA
Win Henry Cooper KO 4 (10) 2:10 1966-09-20 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom
Loss Muhammad Ali TKO 12 (15) 2:18 1965-11-22 United States Las Vegas, NV, USA Fight was for World Heavyweight title
Win Tod Herring TKO 3 (10) 0:40 1965-05-14 Sweden Stockholm, Sweden
Win George Chuvalo Decision (unanimous) 12 (12) 1965-02-01 United States New York, NY, USA
Win Charley Powell KO 6 (10) 1:21 1964-12-12 Puerto Rico San Juan, Puerto Rico
Win Eddie Machen Decision 12 (12) 1964-07-05 Sweden Solna, Sweden
Win Santo Amonti TKO 8 (10) 1964-01-06 Sweden Stockholm, Sweden
Loss Sonny Liston KO 1 (15) 2:09 1963-07-22 United States Las Vegas, NV, USA Fight was for World Heavyweight title
Loss Sonny Liston KO 1 (15) 2:05 1962-09-25 United States Chicago, IL, USA Lost World Heavyweight title
Win Tom McNeeley KO 4 (15) 2:51 1961-12-04 Canada Toronto, Canada Retained World Heavyweight title
Win Ingemar Johansson KO 6 (15) 2:45 1961-03-13 United States Miami, FL, USA Retained World Heavyweight title
Win Ingemar Johansson KO 5 (15) 1:51 1960-06-20 United States New York, NY, USA Won World Heavyweight title
Loss Ingemar Johansson TKO 3 (15) 2:03 1959-06-26 United States Bronx, NY, USA Lost World Heavyweight title
Win Brian London KO 11 (15) 0:51 1959-05-01 United States Indianapolis, IN, USA Retained World Heavyweight title
Win Roy Harris Corner Retirement 12 (15) 1958-08-18 United States Los Angeles, CA, USA Retained World Heavyweight title
Win Pete Rademacher KO 6 (15) 2:57 1957-08-22 United States Seattle, WA, USA Retained World Heavyweight title
Win Tommy Jackson TKO 10 (15) 1:52 1957-07-29 United States New York, NY, USA Retained World Heavyweight title
Win Archie Moore KO 5 (15) 2:27 1956-11-30 United States Chicago, IL, USA Won vacant World Heavyweight title
Win Tommy Jackson Decision (split) 12 (12) 1956-06-08 United States New York, NY, USA
Win Alvin Williams KO 3 (10) 1:58 1956-04-10 United States Kansas City, MO, USA
Win Jimmy Walls TKO 2 (10) 2:29 1956-03-12 United States New Britain, CT, USA
Win Jimmy Slade TKO 7 (10) 2:05 1955-12-08 United States Los Angeles, CA, USA
Win Calvin Brad KO 1 (10) 2:58 1955-10-13 United States Los Angeles, CA, USA
Win Dave Witlock KO 3 (10) 0:52 1955-09-29 United States San Francisco, CA, USA
Win Alvin Williams TKO 8 (10) 1955-09-08 Canada New Brunswick, Canada
Win Archie McBride KO 7 (10) 1955-07-06 United States New York, NY, USA
Win Yvon Durelle Corner Retirement 5 (10) 1955-06-23 Canada New Brunswick, Canada
Win Esau Ferdinand KO 10 (10) 2:49 1955-03-17 United States Oakland, CA, USA
Win Don Grant TKO 5 (10) 1:13 1955-01-17 United States Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win Willie Troy TKO 5 (8) 1955-01-07 United States New York, NY, USA
Win Jimmy Slade Decision (unanimous) 8 (8) 1954-11-19 United States New York, NY, USA
Win Joe Gannon Decision (unanimous) 8 (8) 1954-10-12 United States New York, NY, USA
Win Esau Ferdinand Decision (unanimous) 8 (8) 1954-10-11 United States New York, NY, USA
Win Tommy Harrison TKO 1 (8) 1:29 1954-08-02 United States Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win Jacques Royer Crecy TKO 7 (8) 1954-07-12 United States New York, NY, USA
Loss Joey Maxim Decision (unanimous) 8 (8) 1954-06-07 United States Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win Jesse Turner Decision (unanimous) 8 (8) 1954-05-10 United States Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win Alvin Williams Decision (unanimous) 8 (8) 1954-04-19 United States Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win Sammy Brown TKO 2 (12) 1:40 1954-03-30 United States Washington DC, USA
Win Yvon Durelle Decision (unanimous) 8 (8) 1954-02-15 United States Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win Dick Wagner TKO 5 (8) 1953-11-14 United States Louisville, KY, USA
Win Wes Bascom Decision (unanimous) 8 (8) 1953-10-19 United States Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win Gordon Wallace TKO 3 (8) 0:52 1953-06-01 United States Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win Dick Wagner Decision (split) 8 (8) 1961-04-19 United States Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win Chester Mieszala TKO 5 (6) 1:25 1953-01-28 United States Chicago, IL, USA
Win Lalu Sabotin TKO 5 (8) 1:30 1952-12-29 United States Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win Lester Johnson TKO 3 (6) 1:26 1952-10-31 United States New York, NY, USA
Win Sammy Walker TKO 2 (6) 0:47 1952-10-06 United States Brooklyn, NY, USA
Win Eddie Godbold KO 4 (6) 1:39 1952-09-12 United States New York, NY, USA

[edit] 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.

[edit] External links

[edit] 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."
  2. ^ Weston, Stanley (editor) (1996). The Best of the Ring. Chicago, IL: Bonus Books. pp. 183. ISBN 1-56625-056-0. 
  3. ^ Daniel, Dan (August 2005). ""I Won't Be Back," Says Marciano". The Ring 84 (8): 90'91 
  4. ^ Esquire covers commemorate boxing's prime
  5. ^ http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/11/sportsline/main1610954.shtml Ex-Champ Floyd Patterson Dies At 71
  6. ^ Sonny Liston: The Facts http://www.thesweetscience.com/boxing-article/705/sonny-liston-facts/
  7. ^ The Facts About The Big Fight http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1147918/index.htm
  8. ^ Johnson, Chuck (2006-05-11). "Ex-heavyweight boxer Floyd Patterson, 71, dies". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/boxing/2006-05-11-floyd-patterson-obit_x.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  9. ^ http://observer.guardian.co.uk/osm/story/0,,1072751,00.html Ali: The Legacy
  10. ^ http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00242468.html
  11. ^ http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1003844/index.htm Floyd Patterson: His Own Man
  12. ^ "boxer: Floyd Patterson". http://www.boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=9038&cat=boxer. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Rocky Marciano
World Heavyweight Champion
Succeeded by
Ingemar Johansson
Preceded by
Ingemar Johansson
World Heavyweight Champion
Succeeded by
Sonny Liston

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