Floyd Patterson

World Heavy Weight Champion 1956-59

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

Floyd Patterson was born on 4th January 1935 he was to become one of the few men to hold the heavy weight boxing championship two times. in his day he was the youngest man to win the World heavyweight championship being just 21 years old.

 

His boxing record was 55 wins 8 losses and 1 draw. 40 of his wins came by knockouts.

 

Throughout most of his early career Patterson fought as a light heavyweight however he always maintained that he and his manager Cus D'Amato had plans to move upto heavyweight. D'Amato announced as early as 1954, that Patterson was aiming for the heavyweight title.

When Rocky Marciano announced his retirement as heavyweight champion of the world on 27th April, 1956, Patterson was ranked by Ring magazine as the top light heavyweight contender. Jim Norris of the International Boxing Club stated that Patterson was one of the fighters who would take part in an elimination tournament to crown Marciano's successor. Ring moved Patterson into the heavyweight rankings, at number five.

 

Patterson won his elimination fight against Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson he then went onto face light heavyweight champion Archie Moore on November 30, 1956, for the world heavyweight championship. Knocking Moore out in five rounds Patterson became the youngest heavy weight champion of the world. He also became the first Olympic Champion to win an heavyweight title.

 

Patterson won a series of defences when he was paired with Ingemar Johansson of Sweden, 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 Patterson had been knocked to the canvas for the seventh time. Johansson became Sweden's first world heavyweight champion.

 

A rematch was made for 20th June 1960 and Patterson knocked Johansson out in the fifth to recover his title.

 

Johansson wanted a rematch, so on the 13th March 1961 saw these two giants of the ring pitted against each other for the third time. For a while it looked as though Johansson was going to win this match especially after putting Patterson down however he was soon up and he again won by a knockout this time in the sixth round. After this Patterson met a bunch of lesser contenders and at one stage was accused of trying to avoid the number one contender Sonny Liston.

 

Finally Patterson agreed to fight Liston and the two stepped into the ring on 25 September 1962 he was no match for the power and ferocity that was Sonny Liston. Ten months later he failed again to regain his title and went through a period where he couldn't win an argument.

 

Finally the class that was Patterson's emerged and he began to win fights again and soon became the number one contender for the title held by Muhammad Ali. He took Ali to 12 rounds and lost on a TKO. Patterson travelled to England In 1966 he travelled where he fought and knocked out Henry Cooper in just four rounds at Wembley Stadium. If you compare this with Ali's showings against Henry Cooper Ali never even knocked Henry down.

 

September 1969 saw him divorce his wife Sandra Hicks Patterson.

 

The WBA staged an 8-man tournament to determine Ali's successor. Patterson lost a twelve round decision to Jerry Quarry in 1967. Then, in a third and final attempt at winning the title a third time, lost to Jimmy Ellis in Sweden.

 

Patterson went on, defeating Oscar Bonavena in a close fight over ten rounds in early 1972. However, a final defeat to 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.