Patterson in 1962
|Nickname(s)||The Gentleman of Boxing|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Reach||71 in (180 cm)|
January 4, 1935|
Waco, North Carolina, U.S.
May 11, 2006
New Paltz, New York, U.S.
|Wins by KO||40|
Floyd Patterson (January 4, 1935 – May 11, 2006) was an American professional boxer who held the undisputed world heavyweight championship. At the age of 21, he became the youngest boxer to win the world heavyweight title, and was also the first heavyweight to regain the title after losing it. As an amateur he won a gold medal at the 1952 Olympics in the middleweight division.
Although Mike Tyson later became the youngest boxer to win a world heavyweight title at the age of 20, Patterson remains the youngest undisputed heavyweight champion. He was trained by the legendary Cus D'Amato.
Early life 1
- Olympic results 1.1
- Early pro career 2
- Patterson vs. Moore 3.1
- Patterson vs. Johansson I, II & III 3.2
- Patterson vs. Liston I & II 3.3
- Post-title career 3.4
- Retired life 4
- Death 5
- Quotes 6
- Professional boxing record 7
- References 8
- Further reading 9
- Further watching 10
- External links 11
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. He attended high school in New Paltz, NY where he succeeded in all sports (to this day the New Paltz football field is named in his honor). 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.
- Defeated Omar Tebakka (France) 3-0
- Defeated Leonardus Jansen (Netherlands) TKO 1
- Defeated Stig Sjölin (Sweden) DQ 3
- Defeated Vasile Tiţă (Romania) KO 1
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. Most people think Patterson did enough to win, and Maxim's greater fame at the time helped to sway the judges.
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 World Heavyweight Champion on April 27, 1956, Patterson was ranked by The 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. The Ring then moved Patterson into the heavyweight rankings, at number five.
Patterson vs. Moore
After beating Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson in an elimination fight, Patterson faced former 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, 10 months, 3 weeks and 5 days. He was the first Olympic gold medalist to win a professional Heavyweight title.
Patterson vs. Johansson I, II & III
After a series of defenses against fringe contenders (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 in history to regain the Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship. 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 Johansson once in the first round. Johansson had landed both right hands over Floyd's left jab. After getting up from the second knockdown Floyd abandoned his jab and connected with a left hook that knocked down Johansson. After that, Patterson came on with a strong body attack that wore down Johansson. In the 6th round, Johansson caught Patterson with a solid right. But the power in Ingemar's punches was gone. Patterson won the fight in the 6th round by knockout.
Patterson vs. Liston I & II
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 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 to the fight, Sonny Liston was the major betting line favorite, though Sports Illustrated predicted that Patterson would win in 15 rounds. Jim Braddock, Jersey 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. Patterson also claimed that John F. Kennedy did not want him to fight Liston either.
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. 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 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.
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.
Following these defeats, Patterson went through a depression. However, he eventually recovered and began winning fights again, including top victories over Fight of the Year" award.
Patterson was now the number one challenger for the title held by Muhammad Ali. On November 22, 1965, in yet another attempt to be the first to win the World Heavyweight title three times, Patterson lost by technical knockout at the end of the 12th round, going into the fight with an injured sacro-iliac joint in a bout in which Ali was clearly dominant. 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. Instead of scoring a quick knockout, Ali mocked, humiliated and punished Patterson throughout the fight before knocking him out in the 12th round. 
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 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 fought Jerry Quarry to a draw in 1967. In a rematch four months later, Patterson lost a controversial 12-round decision to Quarry. 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, defeating Oscar Bonavena in a close fight over ten rounds in early 1972.
At age 37, Patterson was stopped in the seventh round in a rematch with Muhammad Ali for the NABF Heavyweight title on September 20, 1972. The defeat proved to be Patterson's last fight, although there was never an announcement of retirement.
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 1991.
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.
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 his fights with Greg Page, Phil Jackson, and Lennox Lewis.
The New Paltz High School football field was named "Floyd Patterson Field" in 1985.
DeathAlzheimer'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.
- "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."
- 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."
Professional boxing record
|55 Wins (40 knockouts, 15 decisions), 8 Losses (5 knockouts, 3 decision), 1 Draw|
|Loss||55–8–1||Muhammad Ali||TKO||7 (12)||20/09/1972||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States||For NABF Heavyweight title.|
|Win||55–7–1||Pedro Agosto||TKO||6 (10)||14/07/1972||Singer Bowl, Flushing, Queens, New York, United States|
|Win||54–7–1||Oscar Bonavena||UD||10||11/02/1972||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States|
|Win||53–7–1||Charlie Harris||KO||6 (10)||23/11/1971||Portland, Oregon, United States|
|Win||52–7–1||Vic Brown||UD||10||21/08/1971||Peace Bridge Arena, Buffalo, New York, United States|
|Win||51–7–1||Charley Polite||UD||10||17/07/1971||Erie Arena, Erie, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||50–7–1||Terry Daniels||UD||10||26/05/1971||Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, United States|
|Win||49–7–1||Roger Russell||TKO||9 (10)||29/03/1971||Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||48–7–1||Levi Forte||KO||2 (10)||16/01/1971||Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida, United States|
|Win||47–7–1||Charley Green||KO||10 (10)||15/09/1970||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States|
|Loss||46–7–1||Jimmy Ellis||PTS||15||14/09/1968||Solna Fotbollsstadion, Stockholm, Sweden||For WBA Heavyweight title.|
|Loss||46–6–1||Jerry Quarry||MD||12||28/10/1967||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States||Elimination tournament for WBA Heavyweight title.|
|Draw||46–5–1||Jerry Quarry||MD||12||09/06/1967||Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Win||46–5||Bill McMurray||KO||1 (10)||09/06/1967||Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||45–5||Willie Johnson||KO||3 (10)||13/02/1967||Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States|
|Win||44–5||Henry Cooper||KO||4 (10)||20/09/1966||Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom|
|Loss||43–5||Muhammad Ali||TKO||12 (15)||22/11/1965||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||For World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||43–4||Tod Herring||TKO||3 (10)||14/05/1965||Johanneshov, Stockholm, Sweden|
|Win||42–4||George Chuvalo||UD||12||01/02/1965||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States||Fight was named The Ring Magazine Fight of the Year for 1965.|
|Win||41–4||Charlie Powell||KO||6 (10)||12/12/1964||Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||40–4||Eddie Machen||TKO||3 (10)||05/07/1964||Hiram Bithorn Stadium, Solna, Sweden|
|Win||39–4||Santo Amonti||TKO||8 (10)||06/01/1964||Johanneshov, Stockholm, Sweden|
|Loss||38–4||Sonny Liston||KO||1 (15)||22/07/1963||Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||For World Heavyweight title.|
|Loss||38–3||Sonny Liston||KO||1 (15)||25/09/1962||Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States||Lost World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||38–2||Tom McNeeley||KO||4 (15)||04/12/1961||Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada||Retained World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||37–2||Ingemar Johansson||KO||6 (15)||13/03/1961||Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida, United States||Retained World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||36–2||Ingemar Johansson||KO||5 (15)||20/06/1960||Polo Grounds, New York, New York, United States||Won World Heavyweight title. Fight was named The Ring Magazine Fight of the Year for 1960. Patterson became the first person to regain the World Heavyweight title.|
|Loss||35–2||Ingemar Johansson||TKO||3 (15)||26/06/1959||Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, United States||Lost World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||35–1||Brian London||KO||11 (15)||01/05/1959||Fairgrounds Coliseum, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States||Retained World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||34–1||Roy Harris||RTD||12 (15)||18/08/1958||Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California, United States||Retained World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||33–1||Pete Rademacher||KO||6 (15)||22/08/1957||Sick's Stadium, Seattle, Washington, United States||Retained World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||32–1||Tommy Jackson||TKO||10 (15)||29/07/1957||Polo Grounds, New York, New York, United States||Retained World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||31–1||Archie Moore||KO||5 (15)||30/11/1956||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, United States||Won vacant World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||30–1||Tommy Jackson||SD||12||08/06/1956||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States||World Heavyweight Title Eliminator.|
|Win||29–1||Alvin Williams||KO||3 (10)||10/04/1956||Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Missouri, United States|
|Win||28–1||Jimmy Walls||TKO||2 (10)||12/03/1956||New Britain, Connecticut, United States|
|Win||27–1||Jimmy Slade||TKO||7 (10)||08/12/1955||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Win||26–1||Calvin Brad||KO||1 (10)||13/10/1955||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Win||25–1||Dave Whitlock||KO||3 (10)||29/09/1955||Winterland Arena, San Francisco, California, United States|
|Win||24–1||Alvin Williams||TKO||8 (10)||08/09/1955||Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada|
|Win||23–1||Archie McBride||KO||7 (10)||06/07/1955||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States|
|Win||22–1||Yvon Durelle||RTD||7 (10)||23/06/1955||Newcastle, New Brunswick, Canada|
|Win||21–1||Esau Ferdinand||TKO||10 (10)||17/03/1955||Auditorium, Oakland, California, United States|
|Win||20–1||Don Grant||TKO||5 (10)||17/01/1955||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||19–1||Willie Troy||TKO||5 (8)||07/01/1955||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States|
|Win||18–1||Jimmy Slade||UD||8||19/11/1954||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States|
|Win||17–1||Joe Gannon||UD||8||22/10/1954||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States|
|Win||16–1||Esau Ferdinand||UD||8||11/10/1954||St. Nicholas Arena, New York, New York, United States|
|Win||15–1||Tommy Harrison||TKO||1 (8)||02/08/1954||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||14–1||Jacques Royer Crecy||TKO||7 (8)||12/07/1954||St. Nicholas Arena, New York, New York, United States|
|Loss||13–1||Joey Maxim||UD||8||07/06/1954||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||13–0||Jesse Turner||UD||8||10/05/1954||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||12–0||Alvin Williams||UD||8||19/04/1954||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||11–0||Sammy Brown||TKO||2 (10)||30/03/1954||Turner's Arena, Washington, United States|
|Win||10–0||Yvon Durelle||UD||8||15/02/1954||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||9–0||Dick Wagner||TKO||5 (8)||14/12/1953||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||8–0||Wes Bascom||UD||8||19/10/1953||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||7–0||Gordon Wallace||TKO||3 (8)||01/06/1953||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||6–0||Dick Wagner||SD||8||13/04/1953||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||5–0||Chester Mieszala||TKO||5 (6)||28/01/1953||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Win||4–0||Lalu Sabotin||TKO||5 (8)||29/12/1952||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||3–0||Lester Johnson||TKO||3 (6)||31/10/1952||Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States|
|Win||2–0||Sammy Walker||TKO||2 (6)||06/10/1952||Eastern Parkway Arena, Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Win||1–0||Eddie Godbold||KO||4 (6)||12/09/1952||St. Nicholas Arena, New York, New York, United States|
- Sonny Liston: The Facts http://www.thesweetscience.com/boxing-article/705/sonny-liston-facts/
- The Facts About The Big Fight http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1147918/index.htm
- http://observer.guardian.co.uk/osm/story/0,,1072751,00.html Ali: The Legacy
- http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1003844/index.htm Floyd Patterson: His Own Man
- , p. 263Floyd Patterson: A Boxer and a GentlemanAlan Howard Levy.
- Mulvaney, Kieran, Patterson an all-time great outside the ropes. ESPN.com, May 12, 2006.
- 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.
- Ingemar Johansson versus Floyd Patterson. 1wn0YclbKR0
- Professional boxing record for Floyd Patterson from BoxRec
- Sports E-Cyclopedia's Memoriam to Floyd Patterson
- Floyd Patterson - Daily Telegraph obituary
- Floyd Patterson at Find a Grave
- SPORT magazine, November 1960
- svenska.yle.fi/arkivet: Interview with Floyd Patterson and Ingemar Johansson
-  The Official Site of Floyd Patterson
World Heavyweight Champion
November 30, 1956 – June 26, 1959
World Heavyweight Champion
June 20, 1960 – September 25, 1962
Youngest Heavyweight Champion
November 30, 1956 – November 22, 1986
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
Edward J. Neil Trophy
(BWAA Fighter of the Year)
Edward J. Neil Trophy
(BWAA Fighter of the Year)