PDA

View Full Version : R.I.P. Floyd Patterson 5/11/06



Ron Lipton
05-11-2006, 12:54 PM
Moments ago I learned that Floyd passed away at his home.
I am so grief stricken at hearing this as we had done so many things together. Just so sad for us all.

Here is the article I wrote on him which always paid homage to his kind heart.
Rest in peace Great Warrior, Gentle Soul, may you find eternal peace and bliss.

love,
Ron


http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/boxing/w0505-lipton.html

Steve McV
05-11-2006, 01:05 PM
The man was all a fighter should be.

OMG65
05-11-2006, 01:12 PM
RIP Floyd.

From everything I have ever read,a wonderful man.

KOJOE90
05-11-2006, 01:15 PM
I'm so sad to hear this news. Boxing has lost another fine warrior.

Floyd was a tremendous fighter and by all accounts a kind and gentle man.

I'm sure he is now in the big Boxing gym in the sky now, maybe sparring Joe Louis.

We will never forget you Floyd.

Rest In Peace Champ.

rocky111
05-11-2006, 01:19 PM
What a shock. This was the man I felt who should have carried the torch at Atlanta IMO. What a fine sportsman he was. I have seen him in interview after interview as a winner and as a loser and he never ever disapointed. He always carried himself with class, manhood and respect. I just loved the guy. Pound for pound amonst the finest fighters of the century and I feel just a bit older right now for his passing. R.I.P. great great warrior.

Todd
05-11-2006, 01:26 PM
Patterson dies, was once youngest heavyweight champ
Associated Press

Floyd Patterson, who avenged an embarrassing loss to Ingemar Johansson by beating him a year later to become the first boxer to regain the heavyweight title, died Thursday. He was 71.

Patterson died at his home. He had Alzheimer's disease for about eight years and prostate cancer, nephew Sherman Patterson said. [More (http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/boxing/news/story?id=2441248)]

kikibalt
05-11-2006, 01:29 PM
http://i3.tinypic.com/xpq1pz.jpg

http://i2.tinypic.com/xpqwcm.jpg

http://i3.tinypic.com/xpr2b7.jpg

Roberto Aqui
05-11-2006, 01:32 PM
His passing was a blessing for Floyd. He'd done his part on this earth and more and now he passes on to a better place.

I remember as a little kid being so scared for him against Liston who seemed like such a monster. Floyd was the guy who insisted on the match and rematch. God bless him, he was a brave soul who proved it in and out of the ring.

Kid Achilles
05-11-2006, 01:36 PM
RIP Floyd Patterson. I'll remember him as a fighter before my time who made up for what he lacked in size with his heart, work ethic, and God given ability.

By all accounts he was a gentleman in and out of the ring. He may not have been in Joe Louis's class as a fighter, but it would be difficult to name a kinder, warmer athlete. I remember the footage of Ali visiting him in training camp, egging him on with the carrots and the whole rabbit shtick, and Patterson refusing to go along with it. He looks embarrassed and a little humiliated in that footage, yet he never responds with rage. Patterson was a truly nice guy at heart, who just happened to be an exceptional athlete and fighter.

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 01:36 PM
Floyd Patterson 1935-2006
By Max Boxing Brief

Former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, one of the classiest boxers to ever lace up the gloves, passed away today at the age of 71.

Patterson had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and prostate cancer, and according to the Pioneer Press, he had been hospitalized a week ago.

An Olympic Gold medalist in 1952, Patterson - a North Carolina native who grew up in New York – compiled a 55-8-1 with 40 KOs record over the course of a 20 year pro career. He won the vacant heavyweight title in 1956 with a fifth round knockout of Archie Moore, and defended it four times before losing it to Ingemar Johansson in 1959.

Patterson became the first man to regain the heavyweight title a year later by knocking out Johansson a year later, and defended the crown twice more before losing it for good to Sonny Liston in 1962.

A cerebral man who was a favorite subject of writers throughout his career, Patterson retired in 1972 after a second loss to Muhammad Ali and became an ambassador of the sport and later the New York State Athletic Commissioner.

He is survived by his second wife and four children

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 01:48 PM
Floyd was really my first heavyweight champion. I was 5 when Marciano retired so I really was to young to connect with him. I'll never forget Patterson's trilogy with Ingo, the two devastating defeats against Liston & how he remarkably rebuilt his career & regained legit top 5 contender status after his championship days.

Strangely enough Patterson may well have been a better fighter after he lost his title to Liston.

An honorable & sensitive man. & an honorable fighter.

R.I.P. Floyd, a life well lived ...

GorDoom

KOJOE90
05-11-2006, 02:04 PM
Strangely enough Patterson may well have been a better fighter after he lost his title to Liston.

Thats a point I have considered myself from time to time.

He seemed to gain a little in confidence post-Liston.

Just a thought.

hawk5ins
05-11-2006, 02:09 PM
Hopefully he will be missed and more appreicated in death than when he was alive. Whihc unfortunately, I think he was given a pretty short shrift.

As a Heavyweight, I would not go so far as to call him a Great Champion. But he certainly was very formidible and IMO exceptional.

Floyd's death brings this question: Does this make Ingemar Johansson the Oldest living Heavyweight champion now? Actually with Floyd having been three years younger than Ingo, his death would not change that.

I possibly am missing some one obvious, but with Schmeling having passed away a few years back, and having held that title for so long, is Ingo our oldest living Former Heavyweight titlest?

Hawk

StingerKarl
05-11-2006, 02:09 PM
This is terrible news as he was one of my real Ring Idols.
Condolences to his family.
Karl

Ted Spoon
05-11-2006, 02:19 PM
I'm really saddened to here this news.

Floyd was all heart in the ring and the most polite boxer you could ever meet.

Truly a fine fine boxer. His battles with Ingo, Chuvalo, Quarry and Ellis all showed his class. He brought excitement to the crowd and his effect on the sport will never be forgotten..

-Kid Achilles, I hated Ali for doing his 'routine' on Patterson. The man never deserved such an indignity, may he rest in eternal peace.

Juan C Ayllon
05-11-2006, 02:35 PM
Wow. Unfortunately, this is part of being human. Floyd Patterson always struck me as being a real class act.

Here's a link to where I posted it at the CBZ Newswire page:

Floyd's Passing (http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/news/archives/00002009.htm)

Regards,



Juan C. Ayllon

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 02:38 PM
FLOYD PATTERSON'S CAREER RECORD

Floyd Patterson

Born: January 4, 1935 Waco, NC

Height: 5ft. 11.5 in
Reach: 71 in.
Manager: Cus D'Amato
Amateur Record: 40-4 (37 KO)

Professional Record: 55-8-1 (40 kayos)
Amateur Highlights
1951
N.Y. Golden Gloves Champion (160 lb. open)
Eastern Golden Gloves Middleweight Champion

1952
NY Golden Gloves 175-Pound Champion
Eastern Golden Gloves 175-Pound Champion

Olympic Gold Medalist Helsinki Middleweight (165 lb.) Class

Omar Tebakka Helsinki, Finland W Dec
Leonardus Jansen Helsinki, Finland KO 1
Stig Sjolin Helsinki, Finland WDQ 3
Aug 2 Vasile Tita Helsinki, Finland KO 1 (1:14)
(Gold Medal Match)

Professional Record
1952
Sep 12 Eddie Godbold New York TKO 4
Oct 6 Sammy Walkerr Brooklyn TKO 2
Oct 21 Lester Johnson New York TKO 3
Dec 19 Lalo Sabotin Brooklyn TKO 5

1953
Jan 28 Chester Mieszala Chicago TKO 5
Apr 3 Dick Wagner Brooklyn W 8
Jun 1 Gordon Wallace Brooklyn TKO 3
Oct 19 Wesbury Bascom Brooklyn W 8
Dec 14 Dick Wagner Brooklyn TKO 5

1954
Feb 15 Yvon Durelle Brooklyn W 8
Mar 30 Sam Brown Washington, DC TKO 2
May 10 Jesse Turner Brooklyn W 8
Jun 7 Joey Maxim Brooklyn L 8
Jul 12 Jacques Royer-Crecy New York TKO 7
Aug 2 Tommy Harrison Brooklyn TKO 1
Sep 14 Alvin Williams Brooklyn W 8
Oct 11 Ferdinand Esau New York W 8
Oct 22 Joe Gannon New York W 8
Nov 19 Jimmy Slade New York W 8

1955
Jan 7 Willie Troy New York TKO 5
Jan 17 Don Grant Brooklyn TKO 5
Mar 17 Ferdinand Esau Oakland, CA TKO 10
Jun 23 Yvon Durelle Newcastle, DE TKO 5
Jul 6 Archie McBride New York KO 7
Sep 8 Alvin Williams Moncton, New Brunswick TKO 8
Sep 29 Dave Whitlock San Francisco TKO 3
Oct 13 Calvin Brad Los Angeles KO 1
Dec 8 Jimmy Slade Los Angeles TKO 7

1956
Mar 12 Jimmy Walls New Britian, CT TKO 2
Apr 10 Alvin Williams Kansas City KO 3
Jun 8 Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson New York W 12
(World Heavyweight Title Elimination)
Nov 30 Archie Moore Chicago KO 5
(Wins Vacant World Heavyweight Title)

1957
Apr 13 Julio Mederos Kansas City Exh 4
Apr 17 Julio Mederos Minneapolis, MN Exh 4
Apr 19 Julio Mederos Joplin, MO Exh. 4
Apr 23 Alvin Williams Wichita, KS Exh. 4
Apr 26 Alvin Williams Ft. Smith Exh. 4
Jul 29 Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson New York TKO 10
(Retains World Heavyweight Title)
Aug 22 Pete Rademacher Seattle KO 6
(Retains World Heavyweight Title)

1958
Feb. 4 Dusty Rhodes Exh. 3
Feb. 25 Dusty Rhodes Exh. 3
Mar. 25 Dusty Rhodes Exh. 3
Aug 18 Roy Harris Los Angeles TKO 13
(Retains World Heavyweight Title)

1959
May 1 Brian London Indianapolis KO 11
(Retains World Heavyweight Title)
Jun 26 Ingemar Johansson New York TKO by 3
(Loses World Heavyweight Title)

1960
Jun 20 Ingemar Johansson New York KO 5
(Regains World Heavyweight Tile)

--- -- Engaged in several exhibitions in Sweden, Germany,
England, and Italy

1961
Mar 13 Ingemar Johansson Miami Beach KO 6
(Retains World Heavyweight Title)
Dec 4 Tom McNeeley Toronto KO 4
(Retains World Heavyweight Title)

1962
Sep 25 Sonny Liston Chicago KO by 1
(Loses World Heavyweight Title)

1963
Jul 22 Sonny Liston Las Vegas KO by 1
(For World Heavyweight Title)

1964
Jan 6 Sante Amonti Stockholm, Sweden TKO 8
Jul 5 Eddie Machen Stockholm, Sweden W 12
Dec 12 Charlie Powell San Juan KO 6

1965
Feb 1 George Chuvalo New York W 12
May 14 Tod Herring Stockholm, Sweden TKO 3
Nov 22 Muhammad Ali Las Vegas TKO by 12
(For World Heavyweight Title)

1966
Sep 29 Henry Cooper London KO 4

1967
Feb 13 Willie Johnson Miami Beach KO 3
Mar 30 Bill McMurray Pittsburgh KO 1
Jun 9 Jerry Quarry Los Angeles D 10
Oct 28 Jerry Quarry Los Angeles L 12
(WBA Heavyweight Elimination Tournament)

1968
Sep 14 Jimmy Ellis Stockholm, Sweden L 15
(For WBA Heavyweight Title)

1969
Inactive

1970
Sep 15 Charlie Green New York KO 10

1971
Jan 16 Levi Forte Miami Beach TKO 2
Mar 29 Roger Russell Philadelphia TKO 9
May 26 Terry Daniels Cleveland W 10
Jul 17 Charley Polite Erie, PA W 10
Aug 21 Vic Brown Buffalo W 10
Nov 23 Emperor Harris Portland, OR KO 6

1972
Feb 11 Oscar Bonavena New York W 10
May. 6 Emperor Harris --- Exh 5
Jul 14 Pedro Agosto Flushing, NY TKO 6
Sep 20 Muhammad Ali New York LT 7
(For NABF Heavyweight Title)

ShawnTheBleeder
05-11-2006, 03:03 PM
Thanks for posting the news. Does anyone know if Floyd reconciled with his son? I remember HBO making a big deal about that during Tracy's bouts with Gatti I believe.

RIP Floyd. I'm sure Chauncy will let you hold the CBZ Heavyweight Title today.
Shawn

brutu
05-11-2006, 03:30 PM
I rember reading in an interview were Tommy morrison said that Floyd Patterson was one of his favorite boxers.
That shows you how much impact he has had over the years.

No Dice
05-11-2006, 03:39 PM
Apparently Tracy and Floyd did reconcile somewhat. Tracy talks glowingly about his father in this article, which was just 6 months ago.

http://www.recordonline.com/archive/2005/12/26/sports-kgthp26-12-26.html

RIP Champ.

kikibalt
05-11-2006, 03:48 PM
http://i2.tinypic.com/xpueqg.jpg

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 04:21 PM
From AOL Sports News

Former Heavyweight Champion Patterson Dies
Boxer Became First to Regain Heavyweight Crown


(May 11) - Floyd Patterson, an undersized champion who avenged an embarrassing loss to Ingemar Johansson by beating him a year later to become the first boxer to regain the heavyweight title, died Thursday. He was 71.

Patterson died at his home in New Paltz, N.Y. He had Alzheimer's disease for about eight years and prostate cancer, nephew Sherman Patterson said.

Patterson's career was marked by historic highs and humiliating lows. He won the title twice, but took a beating from Muhammad Ali in a title fight and was knocked out twice in the first round by Sonny Liston.

Patterson, who weighed only 189 pounds for the first fight, was a tenacious boxer who often fought bigger opponents - and almost as often found himself on the canvas. He was down a total of 19 times in his career, getting up 17 of them.

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

Following the first knockout to Liston, Patterson was so embarrassed he wore a disguise. The two fought a rematch only 10 months later in Las Vegas, in 1963, and Patterson fared even worse.

Liston dropped him to the canvas three times before the fight was halted at 2:09 of the first round.

Patterson emerged from a troubled childhood in Brooklyn to win the Olympic middleweight championship in 1952.

In 1956, the undersized heavyweight became, at age 21, the youngest man to win the title with a fifth-round knockout of Archie Moore.

But three years later, Patterson was knocked down seven times in the third round in losing the title to Johansson at the Polo Grounds in New York City.

Patterson returned with a vengeance at the same site in 1960, knocking out Johansson with a tremendous left hook to retake the title.

Despite his accomplishment, he was so humiliated when he lost the title on a first-round knockout to Sonny Liston in 1962 that he left Comiskey Park in Chicago wearing dark glasses and a fake beard. Patterson again was knocked out in the first round by Liston in 1963.

Patterson got two more shots at winning the title a third time. Battered and taunted for most of the fight by Muhammad Ali, Patterson was stopped in the 12th round in 1965. He lost a disputed 15-round decision to WBA champion Jimmy Ellis in 1968.

Overall, Patterson finished 55-8-1 with 40 knockouts. He was knocked out five times and knocked down a total of at least 15 times. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.

After retiring in 1972, Patterson remained close to the sport. He served twice as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission.

His second term began when he was picked in 1995 by Gov. George Pataki to help rebuild boxing in New York.

On April 1, 1998, Patterson resigned the post after a published report said a three-hour videotape of a deposition he gave in a lawsuit revealed he couldn't recall important events in his boxing career.
Fantasy Golf Majors Challenge

Patterson said he was very tired during the deposition and, "It's hard for me to think when I'm tired."

Patterson, one of 11 children, was in enough trouble as a youngster to be sent to the Wiltwyck School for Boys. After being released, he took up boxing, won a New York Golden Gloves championship and then the Olympic gold medal in the 165-pound class at Helsinki, Finland.

"If it wasn't for boxing, I would probably be behind bars or dead," he said in a 1998 interview.

He turned pro in 1952 under the management of Cus D'Amato, who in the 1980s would develop another heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson. Patterson fought as a light heavyweight until becoming a heavyweight in 1956.

After regaining the title, Patterson was on the verge of losing it again when he was knocked down twice by Johansson in the first round in 1961. But Patterson knocked down Johansson before the round was over, then won on a sixth-round knockout.

He made a successful defense, then lost the title to Liston in a fight a lot of people didn't want him to take. In fact, taking the match caused a split between Patterson and D'Amato.

Patterson said in 1997 that another person who didn't want him to fight Liston was President Kennedy.

"I'm sorry, Mr. President," Patterson said he told Kennedy. "The title is not worth anything if the best fighters can't have a shot at it. And Liston deserves a shot."

Patterson retired after been stopped by Ali in the seventh round of a non-title match in 1972 at Madison Square Garden.

Patterson and his second wife, Janet, lived on a farm near New Paltz, N.Y. After leaving the athletic commission, Patterson counseled troubled children for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

He also adopted Tracy Harris two years after the 11-year-old boy began hanging around the gym at Patterson's home. In 1992, Tracy Harris Patterson, with his father's help, won the WBC super bantamweight championship.

Funeral services will be private.

Boxscribe
05-11-2006, 04:23 PM
In a time of trash-talking punks it is a real shame that a class act like Floyd Patterson is not around and in his prime today.

Hard to imagine that he was 71. It sometimes seems that the legends of the sport are somehow ageless, but they, like everyone else are mortal and when they go it seems a part of your own life goes with them.

Rest in peace champ.

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 04:52 PM
Floyd Patterson quotes

“Fear was absolutely necessary. Without it, I would have been scared to death.”
Floyd Patterson quote

“You get into serious trouble when - during a heated exchange - the mind starts to ask questions about your behavior prior to the fight. That's why many times we see a fighter doing quite well in the ring, hitting the other guy almost at will and suddenly, after a couple of rounds of failing to put his rival down or out, he starts to think about the wrong things he did during training.”
Floyd Patterson quote

“It's not so bad for politicians and Pulitzer Prize poets and certain intellectuals in this country to sign petitions and speak out against the war in Vietnam, but when Cassius Clay did it he paid a heavy price for Freedom of Speech.”
Floyd Patterson quote

“The fighter loses more than his pride in the fight; he loses part of his future. He's a step closer to the slum he came from.”
Floyd Patterson quote

“What I expect from the police department is an adequate and timely response to keep the streets orderly and safe. Whatever resources they need to do that is up to them,”
Floyd Patterson quote

“I could never be with a woman during training. Because my knees would get very weak. My opinion is based on personal experience.”
Floyd Patterson quote

“For if you train hard and responsibly your confidence surges to a maximum.”
Floyd Patterson quote

“A prizefighter who gets knocked out or is badly outclassed suffers in a way he will never forget.”
Floyd Patterson quote

“I've been knocked down more than any heavyweight champion in history.”
Floyd Patterson quote

“There is so much hate among people, so much contempt inside people who'd like you to think they're moral, that they have to hire prizefighters to do their hating for them. And we do. We get into a ring and act out other people's hates.”

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 04:56 PM
Patterson 'very involved' despite memory loss

By STEVE PINTO
Record Correspondent

The day after Floyd Patterson stepped down as chairman of the State Athletic Commission, a spokeswoman for the commission admitted the former champion suffers from "short-term memory loss."
Yet Gwen Lee of the NYSAC said Patterson's condition did not affect his job performance.
Patterson, a former two-time heavyweight champion, resigned Tuesday after the New York Post reported the 64-year-old New Paltz resident is suffering from severe memory loss.
According to Lee, Patterson "has good days and bad days." However, he remained "a very involved chairman."
"There wasn't a cover-up," Lee said. "He has been through a full battery of tests and doctors have pronounced him healthy."
Lee insists Patterson was mentally capable of handling the job Gov. George Pataki assigned him to in June of 1995. Lee pointed to a Senate committee hearing last May where Patterson read a prepared statement concerning the creation of a pension fund for retired fighters. He also answered questions.
"That's the Floyd Patterson I know," she said. "Floyd's first concern was the fighters. There wasn't anyone more capable of determining whether a fighter should fight or not than Floyd Patterson."
Patterson was forced to answer questions under oath last week concerning a lawsuit filed against the commission by promoters of Ultimate Fighting, a controversial submission sport. In the video deposition, Patterson had trouble answering a series of questions ranging from his secretary's name to who he defeated to win the heavyweight championship in 1956.
Pataki officials said they may name Patterson an "honorary chairman" of the commission. Pataki has yet to name a successor, and according to Lee, no replacement has been mentioned.
Ron Lipton of Walden, a licensed referee in New York, was "deeply saddened" by the news of Patterson's resignation.
"Floyd Patterson was always my hero and still is," he said. "His knowledge of boxing makes him more qualified than anybody to be the best chairman New York ever had."

kikibalt
05-11-2006, 05:00 PM
http://i2.tinypic.com/xpxyck.jpg

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 05:06 PM
FLOYD PATTERSON FIELD
2.3 acres

This park honors Floyd Patterson (1935- ), a boxing legend who was the world heavyweight champion from 1956-59 and 1960-62. Patterson was born in Waco, North Carolina, and moved with his family to Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, when he was a small child. While attending the Wiltwyck School for Boys in Esopus, New York, Patterson learned how to box. In 1952, he won nine amateur boxing crowns, including the Olympic middleweight gold medal at the summer games in Helsinki, Finland.

Patterson began his professional career in December 1953 with a win against Dick Wagner. Three years later, Patterson knocked out heavyweight titleholder Archie Moore in the fifth round, and became what was then the youngest champion ever at the age of 21. Patterson lost the belt to Ingemar Johansson on June 26, 1959, but regained the title in a rematch with Johansson a year later. This time Patterson’s reign lasted until September 25, 1962, when he lost to Sonny Liston.

Patterson’s last fight was in 1972, when he was knocked out by Muhammad Ali. After 19 years of professional boxing, Floyd Patterson retired at 37 with a career record of 55 wins, eight losses, one draw, and 40 knockouts. After retiring from the ring, Patterson worked with many charitable organizations and became a member of the New York State Athletic Commission, serving as one of the state’s three boxing commissioners.

In 1981, Brooklyn Councilmen Enoch Williams and Abraham Gerges sponsored a local law to name this parkland after the boxing great. Located in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, Floyd Patterson Field is surrounded by more than 5,000 units of public housing. At the dedication ceremonies in June 1981, Mayor Edward I. Koch noted that Patterson had devoted much of his post-boxing life working with young people. “It is especially meaningful, therefore, that this park be named in his honor,” Koch said, “It will provide recreational enjoyment for the residents of the many housing developments in the area.”

The surrounding neighborhood of Brownsville was named by real estate developer Charles S. Brown, who in 1865 built 250 frame houses in the area and put them up for sale. Further development of the neighborhood came slowly. Several garment makers opened businesses in the area towards the end of the century, and the neighborhood became a largely Jewish enclave. In 1889, the Fulton Avenue elevated railway opened, and tenements and two-family houses sprouted up along the train tracks. In the first few decades of the twentieth century, Brownsville was known as a center of labor radicalism, and socialists were elected to the state assembly from 1915 to 1921. Famous residents who grew up in Brownsville include actor Danny Kaye, composer Aaron Copeland, and heavyweight boxing champions Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe.

The property on which this park stands was acquired by the City in the early 1970s for urban renewal purposes. In 1981, the land was assigned to Parks by the Department of General Services, and was developed with Federal Community Development funds. A large sod area surrounded by a 16-foot tall fence is used for football, soccer, and baseball games. In addition, there is a 150-seat concrete amphitheater on the Newport Street end, which hosts live performances. The ball fields received a $885,000 reconstruction, funded by Council Member Priscilla A. Wooten, in 1997. Floyd Patterson Field bears the name of a champion, and provides a place for future champions to play and to grow.

Saturday, Dec 01, 2001

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 05:16 PM
NEW YORK TIMES OBIT


Floyd Patterson, Boxing Champion, Dies at 71


By FRANK LITSKY
Published: May 11, 2006
Floyd Patterson, who turned his troubled young life around with boxing and became, despite a gentle disposition, the world heavyweight champion, died today in New Paltz, N.Y. He was 71.

He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for about eight years and also had prostate cancer, said his nephew Sherman Patterson, according to The Associated Press.

In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Patterson won the middleweight gold medal with five knockouts in five bouts. Then, in a 20-year professional career, he won 55 bouts, lost 8 and fought to 1 draw. His total purses reached $8 million, a record then.

He won the heavyweight title twice, knocking out Archie Moore and Ingemar Johansson. He lost it twice, defended it successfully seven times and failed three times to regain it. He generally weighed little more than 180 pounds, light for a heavyweight, but he made the most of mobility, fast hands and fast reflexes.

He was a good guy in the bad world of boxing. He was mild, sweet, retiring, reclusive, impassive and ascetic. He spoke softly and never lost his boyhood shyness. Constantine (Cus) D'Amato, who died in 1985, trained Patterson throughout his professional career and called him "a kind of a stranger." Red Smith, The New York Times sports columnist, called him "the man of peace who loves to fight."

Patterson acknowledged his sensitivity.

"You can hit me and I won't think much of it," he once said, "but you can say something and hurt me very much."

W. C. Heinz, the boxing columnist, found a fundamental difference between Patterson the fighter and Patterson the person.

"In expressing himself as a fighter," Heinz wrote, "Patterson knows almost complete security. Outside the ring, he knows no such security. A shy, sensitive soul-searcher, he volunteers little. He might be called a conversational counterpuncher. When he does speak out, however, it is with a purity reminiscent of Joe Louis."

Floyd Patterson was born Jan. 4, 1935, in a cabin in Waco, N.C., the third eldest of 11 children. His father, Thomas, was a manual laborer and his mother, Annabelle, was a domestic who later worked in a bottling plant until the family moved to the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

Above the youngster's bed was a picture of him with two older brothers and an uncle, all boxers. He often told his mother, "I don't like that boy," and once he scratched three large X's over his face in the picture.

He became a frequent truant who fell behind in school. At age 11, he could not read or write. He would not talk, and when someone talked to him he refused to look the person in the face.

His mother had him committed to Wiltwyck School, a school in upstate New York for emotionally disturbed boys. His new teachers helped him learn to read and encouraged him to take up boxing there, which he did.

A year and a half later, Patterson returned home. He attended Public School 614 for maladjusted children and then spent one term at Alexander Hamilton Vocational High School before quitting to help support his family.

At 14, he started working out at the Gramercy Gym on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a battered gym owned and run by the iconoclastic D'Amato. In 1950, he also started boxing as an amateur. In 1951, he won the New York Golden Gloves open middleweight title. In 1952, after his Olympic success, he turned professional.

His first pro bout earned him only $300, but by 1956 he had become a leading heavyweight. When Rocky Marciano retired that year as the undefeated champion, Patterson was matched against Moore, the light-heavyweight champion, for the heavyweight title.

For the fight on Nov. 30 in Chicago Stadium, Patterson rode to the stadium with Sam Taub, the veteran broadcaster and reporter. As Taub recalled, "He sat there gazing out of the window like he was going to the movies."

When they arrived, Patterson put on his trunks, socks, boxing shoes and robe, stretched out on a rubbing table and went to sleep. A few hours later, he stopped Moore in five rounds and at 21 became the youngest heavyweight champion to that point.

Patterson defended the title willingly but uncomfortably. In 1957, he knocked out Pete Rademacher in six rounds in Seattle and in 1958 he stopped Roy (Cut 'n' Shoot) Harris in 12 rounds in Los Angeles after both had knocked him down.


On June 26, 1959, at Yankee Stadium, Patterson lost the title when Johansson knocked him down seven times before the referee stopped the bout in the third round. On June 20, 1960, at the Polo Grounds, Patterson knocked out Johansson in the fifth round and became the first to regain the heavyweight title.

"It was worth losing the title for this," Patterson said. "This is easily the most gratifying moment of my life. I'm champ again, a real champ this time."

The glory days ended with Patterson's two title fights against Charles (Sonny) Liston. On Sept. 25, 1962, in Chicago, Liston knocked out Patterson in the first round and became the champion, and an embarrassed Patterson drove home wearing dark glasses, a mustache and a beard. But he insisted on a return bout because, he said, "If I stopped now, that would be running away. I did that when I was a kid. I've grown out of that."

The return bout came on July 22, 1963, in Las Vegas, and the result was the same, Liston by a knockout in the first round. Patterson kept fighting after that, but never at his championship level.

In 1965 in Las Vegas, with Patterson hiding a back injury, Muhammad Ali all but tortured him before winning in 12 rounds. In 1970 in Madison Square Garden, Ali opened a seven-stitch cut over Patterson's left eye and beat him in seven rounds.

Patterson persevered. He did not need the money, but he liked to fight. As Arthur Daley observed, "His was the sad and touching fate of the born loser."

After Patterson retired in 1972, he became a respected front man for his sport. In 1983, he told a Congressional subcommittee: "I would not like to see boxing abolished. I come from a ghetto, and boxing is a way out. It would be pitiful to abolish boxing because you would be taking away the one way out."

From 1977 to 1984 he was a member and from 1995 to 1998 the chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, which supervised boxing in the state. He led a successful campaign to have the state mandate thumbless gloves and thus reduce eye injuries.

In April 1998, while giving a deposition, his short-term memory failed. He could not remember the names of his two fellow commission members or his secretary or office routines. He resigned the next day.

Patterson was voted into the United States Olympic Committee Hall of Fame in 1987 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991. The public loved him. As Dave Anderson wrote in 1972 in The New York Times:

"He projects the incongruous image of a gentle gladiator, a martyr persecuted by the demons of his profession. But his mystique also contains a morbid curiosity. Any boxing fan worth his weight in The Ring record books wants to be there for Floyd's last stand. Until then, Floyd Patterson keeps boxing, the windmills of his mind turned by his own breezes."

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 06:00 PM
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Flags at half-staff at boxing hall of fame

By John Ferro
Poughkeepsie Journal


Flags were lowered to half-staff at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in upstate Canastota Thursday in memory of former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson.

The two-time champion and longtime New Paltz resident died Thursday at the age of 71.

Patterson was the Olympic gold medal winner in the 1952 Summer Games in Helsinki, Finland. He turned pro that year. Four years later, he won his first world title with a fifth-round knockout of Archie Moore.

He lost the title to Sweden's Ingemar Johansson in 1959, but regained the title in a rematch.

"Floyd Patterson was an icon, a true gentleman and a great representative of the sport of boxing,'' said Hall of Fame Executive Director Edward Brophy in a statement. "He will be missed.''

In 1991, Patterson was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 06:02 PM
Photo Gallery Of Floyd Patterson Through The Years ...

Link: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=BK&Date=20060511&Category=SPORTS&ArtNo=605110801&Ref=PH

Chuck1052
05-11-2006, 06:05 PM
I am sorry to learn that Floyd Patterson has passed away.
It is true that Patterson has had some health problems
recently, but it still is a shock to learn of his death. He
was a man of great dignity who won a gold medal as an
amateur boxer in the 1952 Olympics and then went on to
become the first man to win the world heavyweight title
twice. I hope that Patterson's family, friends, and fans
accept my condolences.

- Chuck Johnston

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 06:06 PM
SI Flashback: His own man
In the 30 years since he held the heavyweight title, the former champ has found serenity
By Michael Leahy
Reprinted from the June 1, 1992 edition of SI.

HEAD BOWED, HE SITS IN A CASINO coffee shop in Las Vegas, oblivious of a keno game going on across the way, struggling to get through his lunch, when the fifth autograph seeker in the past two minutes approaches, a florid-faced, white-haired man with an accent that announces he is Boston Irish. ''So how're they hanging, Floyd?'' the man asks. ''Any luck at the tables? What've you been doing with yourself?''

One waits for Floyd Patterson to bolt. The old Patterson, a moody, suspicious and withdrawn man, saw slights nearly everywhere. But this Patterson, seemingly dazed, is a slouching 57-year-old who, to his garrulous questioner, may or may not be -- you can see the wheels of the ruddy man spinning in search of the truth -- one more hard-luck Vegas story, one more ex-fighter turned melancholy player, struggling to stay solvent for another 24 hours.

''What're you doing with yourself, Floyd?'' the white-haired man repeats. ''How are ya?''

''Great,'' Patterson finally says, signing an autograph. Then, in a surprising torrent of speech, he brings the man up to date on his life. Patterson reports that all is well on his 17-acre spread in New Paltz, N.Y.; that he enjoys the dual challenges of being a fight trainer and a part-time Eucharistic minister for his Catholic parish; that his adopted son, Tracy, has a WBC junior featherweight title fight approaching on June 23; and that he is currently in Las Vegas to train heavyweight Razor Ruddock for a bout with journeyman Greg Page.

''Ah. Doing all that, huh?'' Palpable relief shines in the fan's blue eyes. ''Ruddock gonna get any better, Floyd?''

''He's got a lot to learn . . . but, hey, he's strong. That jab is as powerful as Lis. . . .''

The voice trails off. Lis. . . .

''Liston?'' the fan gently prods.

''Uh-huh, yes.'' While Patterson utters ''Sonny Liston'' easily in private, a public setting can leave the conqueror's name twitching thickly on his tongue. The name resurrects memories of Patterson's two ignominious one-round defeats by Liston, the sneering faces on press row, the fake beard and mustache that Patterson wore while fleeing in shame from Comiskey Park and Chicago.

''A lot of people don't understand my father,'' Tracy Patterson, 27, says. ''They think that because he goes quiet on them, he's staying a distance away from people, but it's the opposite. He's sensitive. I mean, real sensitive. He gets afraid before my fights. When things don't go good for people he knows, he gets upset. I think it reminds him of when things didn't go good for him. The first thing he thinks of is, I gotta talk to that guy.''

The compulsion to seek out those who are hurting has taken Patterson, over the years, to unlikely places. Sitting ringside at a cramped arena in Lewiston, Maine, and watching Liston get knocked out in the first round of a rematch with Muhammad Ali in 1965, Patterson sensed that he had witnessed the destruction of his old nemesis's core, his soul and self-respect. Unable to reach the loser in his dressing room after the fight, Patterson went to Liston's hotel room 90 minutes later and found the fighter alone, already abandoned by his entourage. ''What are you doin' here?'' Liston asked. Patterson said quickly, ''Look, I'm really sorry about what happened. But sometimes things don't work out the way you'd like, Sonny. I fought you twice. Twice I was so miserable. But you'll come out of it. You'll see. It'll get better.''

Liston said not a word. His baleful scowl had been replaced by a glazed softness; the dark eyes stared into nothingness. The man looked, thought Patterson, not there, as if he was thinking about the end. ''I said a little more,'' Patterson remembers, ''and he still hadn't said a damn thing. Then I started thinking, Maybe he doesn't appreciate this. Maybe I should get the hell out of here. Because Sonny did have a quick temper, you know. Truth is, you never knew with him. So I wished him the best of luck, turned around and headed for the door.''

''Floyd,'' Liston called.

Patterson turned back and saw Liston smiling wanly. ''Thanks, Floyd,'' Sonny mumbled, and Patterson walked into the night. ''I remember that empty room as much as anything,'' he says. ''I think about it when I talk to Tracy. I tell him, 'You need a couple people who will be there always.' I had that. I didn't have to worry about what fights to take, what contracts to sign, when to sleep, eat or train, or what to say to reporters. Cus took care of it all.'' A latter-day Svengali with a bodybuilder's chest and a large, balding head set on square shoulders, Cus D'Amato could command the attention of street toughs. He spoke their language and offered them discipline and a chance at greatness. Some 30 years before he rescued a floundering 13-year-old delinquent named Mike Tyson, he discovered the 15-year-old Patterson, then a tough kid who had just returned home to Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood from a two-year stint in a state reform school. D'Amato first saw Patterson in 1949 at the gym where Floyd used to carry a bag for his older brother, who was training with Cus.

''I had no self-esteem, none at all,'' Patterson recalls. ''There was not a person anywhere who was not better than me, in my mind. I was desperate to be taken apart, helped . . . shown something. Cus became like a father to me. He made me feel I mattered. Maybe he did that for Mike Tyson, too. I loved Cus. He really was like a dad. I put all my trust in him. He'd say something at a press conference, and I'd say, 'That's my answer too.' He'd put something in front of me, I'd sign it. Total trust.''

At 5 ft. 11 in. and 185 pounds, roughly his weight in the prime of his career, Patterson looks smaller than you might expect. ''I fought big men a lot,'' he says. ''Cus told me I had a real speed and reflex advantage on big men. Fear accelerates reflexes, you know? Cus proved it.''

D'Amato sold Patterson on the improbable. In December 1955 the diffident protege weighed a mere 179 pounds, yet a year later D'Amato guided his 21- year-old pupil to Rocky Marciano's vacated championship with a fifth-round knockout of 39-year-old Archie Moore. ''I was the youngest heavyweight champion in history,'' Patterson says. ''Then we started having trouble getting fights.''

It was an era in which the sport was largely controlled by the tentacles of a promotional octopus called the International Boxing Club (IBC), headed by the late Jim Norris, a businessman with mob connections who held ironclad contracts with many of the major heavyweight contenders. When D'Amato, a one- man crusade, said no to any fight for Patterson involving the IBC, his young champion found himself relegated to defending his title against lackluster and hapless opponents. Meanwhile D'Amato, worried that the IBC might injure him or ruin his reputation as a means of getting control of Patterson, took to living the careful life. He refused to take the New York City subway, fearful that someone might push him into the path of a train. He had his pockets sewn shut, to keep anyone from planting a marijuana cigarette in them. At night he slept with his cot positioned across the door, and he was armed, rumor had it, with a gun or an ax.

''I'd ask him why he was sleeping that way,'' Patterson recalls, ''and he'd say, 'To protect you.' As time went on, there'd be more doors locked and more lights left on. He was oversuspicious. You had to accept that, and I did, the same way any son would accept the strange things his father did. I loved him just the same.'' The relationship endured through Patterson's disastrous knockout loss to Ingemar Johansson in 1959, and it survived his fifth-round destruction of the Swede a year later, when Patterson regained the heavyweight title. Many people think that the relationship began to crumble in 1961, following Patterson's second victory over Johansson, because Floyd had grown weary of D'Amato's paranoia. But D'Amato's battle with the IBC had little to do with Patterson's disillusionment. Not even D'Amato knew why he had been slowly cut loose.

''There was a man close to Cus who had taken money from me,'' Patterson reveals today. ''So close that I knew it wouldn't do any good to tell Cus, that nothing good could come from telling him.'' The man was Jimmy Jacobs, later to become, along with Bill Cayton, a co- manager of Mike Tyson. Best known in the early '60s as a national handball champion, Jacobs's passion for boxing had led to a deep friendship with D'Amato, with whom he roomed for 10 years. They had a relationship akin to that ''of a very close uncle and his nephew,'' according to Cayton, who was then Jacobs's employer at Big Fights, Incorporated, a sports film production company. In 1962, with D'Amato's blessing, Jacobs sought a deal with Patterson to do a one-hour film retrospective on the fighter's career. Patterson would receive performance fees for taped interviews, along with a percentage of the profits from the film. Patterson says he agreed orally in D'Amato's presence, but after the one-hour special was aired on syndicated television, Patterson received nothing. ''Expenses ate up all the profits, Floyd,'' Jacobs insisted, according to Patterson.

Since Jacobs died in 1988, only Cayton remains to address the charges. He says, ''I'm not involved in any of this, but I believe Jim would have given Floyd a fair shake. I'm sure Floyd speaks to the best of his recollection, but it is my feeling that his memory of this is simply wrong. . . . The memory can play tricks. We have signed contracts from 1962, you see.''

Curiously, the signed ''contracts,'' two letters of agreement relinquishing the documentary film rights to Floyd Patterson's life story for the sum of one dollar, do not bear the fighter's signature, only Cus D'Amato's. A third letter of agreement, signed by Patterson himself in 1964, refers only to the use of excerpts from films of Patterson's fights, as part of a package chronicling famous knockouts by boxing greats.

''Cus couldn't give away those rights to my life, in 1962 -- only I could do that, or only I should've been able to do that,'' Patterson says. ''And it wasn't what Jacobs promised me. No percentage of what the film made, no fees, nothing. . . . Who knows what that film made? Jacobs had the records.''

''It's much fuss about nothing,'' says Cayton, who insists that the resulting film yielded no profits. ''It took in only a little over $12,000. . . . Why did Floyd wait until just now to bring this up?'' But a letter from Jacobs to Patterson indicates that the fighter sought copies of his contracts in 1977.

Whatever the truth of the Jacobs-Patterson agreement and however meager the money might have been relative to Patterson's ring earnings, the dispute doomed D'Amato and his fighter. ''I couldn't come at Cus with the truth,'' Patterson says, his voice quavering. ''So I just didn't have him handling my business affairs anymore. I booked my own fights. It wasn't like I could walk away instantly, completely. He still gave me advice; he never hesitated there.'' One important piece of D'Amato advice: Don't fight Sonny Liston. But reporters began suggesting that Patterson was scared of the menacing challenger. And Liston taunted, ''I know he won't wilt, 'cause I ain't even sure he'll get in the ring to look at me.''

Liston was tainted; he had a criminal record that included time in a Missouri penitentiary for beating up a policeman, and a reputed association with mobsters. The New York State Athletic Commission refused to license Liston, and Jackie Robinson and Ralph Bunche joined the chorus of his critics. But Patterson rebuffed them and signed to fight Sonny in September 1962, in Chicago. ''Liston served his time, paid his dues,'' Patterson says today. ''But nobody gave him a chance. I grew to like him, maybe because everybody was against him. . . . If someone had to beat me, I'm glad it was him. I don't remember much of the fight, to be honest. The whole thing was so . . . tense.''

Fueled by the sports press, the fight in Comiskey Park became a contest of Good vs. Evil. Evil was a 10-to-7 favorite; it was one of the rare times that a champion entered the ring as an underdog. ''It was just too much pressure,'' Patterson recalls. ''After I lost ((knocked out at 2:06 of the first round)), I drove back to my training camp by myself, wearing the beard and mustache. I felt small again for a while. It was hard for me to find peace as a fighter. I always had to live up to something, and the only way to do that was to win for everybody. These days I can be just me. But I wouldn't change a thing about my boxing days. It made me what I am. Cus showed me all that I could be. I owe him for that.'' Ten months later Patterson again met Liston and was decked in the first round in Las Vegas.

D'Amato would be gone for good after the Liston fights. In 1965 in Las Vegas, Patterson, who was suffering from a bad back, had an ill-fated bout against the taller, stronger and faster Ali, who taunted him ceaselessly -- ''Come on, white American. . . .'' -- while administering a beating that the referee stopped in the 12th round. Patterson fought for seven more years before concluding his career in 1972 with another loss to Ali. After that he headed back home to New Paltz, where he lives with Janet, his wife of 27 years. He has since kept busy by training young fighters, providing volunteer assistance at a senior citizens' home and molding Tracy into a contender.

With time, Patterson's trips between New Paltz and D'Amato's home in Catskill, N.Y., 35 miles away, became more frequent, and some broken threads were mended, if never fully. ''I never searched for answers with Cus,'' says Patterson. ''He was a very strange person. He went by feelings and instinct with everything. I don't think our past entered into it.''

In 1985 D'Amato lay on his deathbed in a New York City hospital. ''I hung around, and we talked and talked,'' Patterson recalls, ''but I didn't get up the nerve to tell him why I was really there. I left pretty down. A couple days later, I came back and leaned over the bed and said, 'I know you've always wondered why I walked away from you.' '' Then Patterson told D'Amato of Jacobs and the film documentary and said, ''I was angry. I thought you might know something about it, because you seemed to know everything. . . . It's not that I didn't ever want to be around you. It's that I didn't want to be around your friend.''

''You don't have to explain,'' D'Amato said softly -- looking relieved, thought Patterson. ''It's all right, Floyd.'' Patterson was not yet finished, however. He wanted to tell D'Amato one last thing. Hard as he tried, the words would not come, and D'Amato was dead by the week's end. ''I'm sorry I didn't tell him I loved him,'' Patterson says. ''I'll never make that mistake again. I tell Tracy now that he's everything to me, tell him before every fight that, win or lose, he'll always be my son and that I love him. I tell my wife. I tell my good friends that I care about them. I'm better with my feelings now. Being with Cus showed me a lot more than just boxing. I want to give like he did.''

It's what made him think, in 1988, of Tyson, who had recently served his manager, Cayton, with a lawsuit, dismissed his longtime trainer Kevin Rooney and fallen into the arms of Don King. Patterson wanted to help the floundering young man, for whom D'Amato had been legal guardian. ''I don't think most of Tyson's big problems would have happened if Cus had still been around,'' Patterson says. Through a reporter, he sent word to Tyson's people that he would be willing to train Tyson for free. Weeks passed. Patterson never heard from either Tyson or King.

''All the things I went through -- the good, the bad, the defeats -- they made me,'' Patterson says. ''I felt small once, too. I learned some lessons. I'm happy with myself today. I like myself today. That's my great accomplishment.''

At a table in the coffee shop, he sips from a glass of water, closes his eyes, then lifts his head to see a family of five beckoning for autographs. He obliges, and a man in the group tells him that he was there, ringside at the Las Vegas Convention Center, on the night in 1965 when Ali pummeled him. ''I sure loved Muhammad,'' the man says, ''but I certainly admired your sportsmanship, Floyd. You sure had a nice career. Ali was the greatest, wasn't he? Too much for you or anybody, huh?''

Floyd Patterson smiles. ''There were a lot of tough ones,'' he answers. ''And you're right, you're absolutely right -- I had a nice career. Sometimes it takes you a while before you start realizing just how nice. It's been great. . . . Oh, did I tell everybody here about my son, Tracy? See, he's got this title fight. . . .''

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 06:18 PM
Former Boxer Floyd Patterson Dies at 71
By TIM DAHLBERG AP Boxing Writer


Floyd Patterson was small for a heavyweight, but that never stopped him from taking on the giants of his time. Good enough to become the first two-time heavyweight champion of the world, he wasn't big enough to avoid taking beatings from Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston.

Patterson died Thursday at his home in New Paltz, N.Y., at the age of 71. He had Alzheimer's disease for about eight years and prostate cancer, nephew Sherman Patterson said.

A shy, quiet man, Patterson was a popular champion long after he retired, getting big ovations at fights. He was cast as the good guy in bouts against Liston and Ali, but was knocked out twice in the first round by Liston and stopped twice by Ali.

Patterson won fans because he had a big man's punch, but a small man's jaw. He could punch with the best heavyweights, knocking one opponent down 11 times in a fight. But he was also down a total of 21 times during his career, including seven times in an embarrassing loss to Ingemar Johansson, in 1959 at Yankee Stadium that cost him the heavyweight title.

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

Patterson would come back to beat Johansson and become the first man to regain the heavyweight title, then would beat him again in a third fight despite being knocked down twice in the first round.

Patterson, who won a gold medal as a middleweight in the 1952 Olympics, weighed only 182 1/4 pounds when he beat Archie Moore for the heavyweight title in 1956. He was still only 188 1/2 pounds when he was stopped in the seventh round by Ali in his last fight in 1972.

That was big enough against the fighters of the late 1950s, but Liston demolished Patterson when they met in 1962, stopping him in the first round in Chicago to win the heavyweight title.

Patterson said years later that President Kennedy had urged him not to fight Liston, who was reputed to be handled by mobsters.

"I'm sorry, Mr. President," Patterson said he told Kennedy. "The title is not worth anything if the best fighters can't have a shot at it. And Liston deserves a shot."

Patterson was so embarrassed at being knocked out in the first round of his first fight with Liston that he donned fake glasses and a beard to avoid being recognized. Liston had no trouble remembering who he was when they met a second time 10 months later in Las Vegas and Patterson was stopped in the first round again.

"He was very quick, next to Ali he was the fastest guy I fought," said George Chuvalo, who lost a decision to Patterson in a hotly contested fight that Ring Magazine named fight of the year in 1965.

Patterson fought for 10 years after losing his title to Liston, getting three more shots at the title but never regaining it.

He fought Ali in 1965, lasting until the 12th round despite taking a beating from the champion, who was angry because Patterson called him by his given name, Cassius Clay.

During the fight, Ali toyed with Patterson, peppering him with jabs and right hands, all the time asking, "What's my name?"

Former Ali business manager Gene Kilroy said the two reconciled in the early 1970s when Patterson came up to Ali while he was eating and said, "Hello, Muhammad Ali." They embraced and remained friendly after that.

"Ali always thought he was a real nice guy," Kilroy said.

Patterson's last fight was also against Ali, who stopped him on cuts and swelling on his face in the seventh round in 1972.

Patterson emerged from a troubled childhood in Brooklyn to win the Olympic gold medal and became the youngest man at the time to win the heavyweight title with a fifth-round knockout of Moore. The title was vacant at the time because of the retirement of Rocky Marciano.

But three years later, Patterson was knocked down seven times in the third round in losing the title to Johansson at Yankee Stadium.

Patterson returned with a vengeance at the Polo Grounds a year later, knocking out Johansson with a tremendous left hook to retake the title. Nine months later he stopped Johansson in the sixth round of their rubber match.

Overall, Patterson finished 55-8-1 with 40 knockouts. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.

Former welterweight champion Tony DeMarco recalled meeting Patterson for the first time in the early 1950s, when the future heavyweight champ was only about 16.

"He was quite a fighter then. He could hit and he could move," DeMarco said. "He was a sensation then. When he put on weight, he was still fast. He probably lacked a dynamite jaw, but there weren't very many guys who knocked him out, either. I thought he was maybe a better fighter than people anticipated."

After retiring in 1972, Patterson remained close to the sport. He served twice as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission.

Patterson resigned in 1998 after it was reported that a three-hour videotape of a deposition he gave in a lawsuit revealed he couldn't recall important events in his boxing career.

Patterson said he was very tired during the deposition and, "It's hard for me to think when I'm tired."

Patterson, one of 11 children, was in enough trouble as a youngster to be sent to the Wiltwyck School for Boys. After being released, he took up boxing, won a New York Golden Gloves championship and then the Olympic gold medal in the 165-pound class at Helsinki, Finland.

"If it wasn't for boxing, I would probably be behind bars or dead," he said in a 1998 interview.

He turned pro in 1952 under the management of Cus D'Amato, who in the 1980s would develop another heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson. Patterson fought as a light heavyweight until becoming a heavyweight in 1956.

A memorial service is scheduled for May 27 in Albany, N.Y.

___

Associated Press Writer Michael Virtanen contributed to this story.

phlboxarc
05-11-2006, 06:56 PM
When people want to watch Floyd at his very best, put in a tape of his bout with Henry Cooper. To these eyes his performance was flawless. He might have been the fastest heavyweight in history that night.

wildhawke11
05-11-2006, 07:32 PM
Floyd may not have been perhaps among the most elite HWs but we all seemed to love him so much and i mean everyone. Just like Gordoom i remember Patterson so well when i to was a teenager. Watching Floyd or listening to my old radio was almost like having a friend in the ring fight, at times you suffered for him. I admit i was scared stiff for Patterson when he fought Liston because i knew that he was at times to brave for his own good. Even if like me you never have met Floyd you always felt you would feel comfortable with him and not be overwhelmed like you might be in some other world champions presence. Yes Mr Patterson you were a humble and class act both in and out of the ring and we loved you for it. The highest complement i can pay you is we would not have wanted it any other way
Rest in Peace Old Timer

GorDoom
05-11-2006, 07:57 PM
Well said, Danny. I put up all these articles & links on him today as a tribute. He'll always be my first heavyweight champ & a hero to look up to.

GorDoom

kikibalt
05-11-2006, 08:15 PM
http://i2.tinypic.com/xqe74l.jpg

http://i1.tinypic.com/xqeus3.jpg

Ron Lipton
05-11-2006, 10:52 PM
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Unusually gentle man succeeded in a brutal business

By Jim Sheahan
Poughkeepsie Journal



NEW PALTZ - There was one moment in the career of former heavyweight boxing champion Floyd Patterson that exemplified the kind of man he was.

It was June 2, 1960, at the Polo Grounds in New York. Patterson
had just knocked out Ingemar Johansson in the fifth round,
avenging a humiliating loss he suffered to the big Swede a year
before.

After Johansson was counted out, Patterson ran over and cradled the man nicknamed `The Hammer of Thor' in his arms until ringside doctors could get there.

An unusually gentle man who succeeded in a brutal business,
Patterson died Thursday at the age of 71 at his home in New Paltz.
He had prostate cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

``My heart's just broken,'' said Ron Lipton, a Hyde Park resident
and a former professional boxing referee. ``Yes, he was quiet and
taciturn. If you were with him, a lot of times it was just quiet. But if
he had something to say, you could build a house on it.''

Patterson's victory over Johanssen was the second time he
had made history. He was the youngest heavyweight champion
of all time when he knocked out 42-year-old Archie Moore in 1956
at the age of 21. When he beat Johansson that night at the Polo
Grounds, he became the first heavyweight ever to regain the
title.

A smallish heavyweight even for his time, Patterson was six feet
tall and weighed between 163 and 200 pounds during his career. He had a unique style, marked by how high he kept his hands. He was also known for getting knocked down 19 times in his pro career,
but he got up 17 of those times.

``He was very mannerly and introspective,'' recalled George
Chuvalo, the former Canadian heavyweight champion who lost a
12-round decision to Patterson in 1965. ``He was a hell of a fighter. He surprised me the night we fought. I think there was a mole in my
training camp. Someone told him not to fight inside with me, and I
was just chasing him a lot.

``He's the second-fastest fighter I ever fought,'' Chuvalo added, noting that he fought Muhammad Ali twice.

Patterson was born into poverty in Waco, N.C. One of 11 children, he quickly found himself getting into trouble and eventually ended up at a reform school in Esopus, N.Y. It was there he began boxing.

He won New York Golden Gloves titles in 1951 and 1952, then
earned an Olympic gold medal in the middleweight division in Helsinki, Finland, at the age of 17. He was training at the famed Gramercy Gym in New York City under the tutelage of Cus D'Amato when he turned pro later that same year. D'Amato would later train another heavyweight, Mike Tyson, in the 1980s.

When he knocked out Moore in 1956, it was a matchup between
the youngest man ever to fight for the heavyweight title and the oldest. Rocky Marciano's retirement had created a vacancy, and Patterson filled it admirably.

``Floyd was a very unique boxer,'' said Ed Brophy, executive
director for Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y. Patterson was
inducted in 1991. ``He protected himself well and he was a smart
fighter. Although he was small for a heavyweight he had power that
could knock opponents down. He was a very respectful boxer in the
ring and always spoke well of his opponent.''

His reign as champion lasted a total of almost five years. He had
other opportunities to regain the title a third time, but he was
knocked out by Sonny Liston twice and he finished his career
with a loss to Ali in 1972. His career record was 55-8-1 with 40
knockouts.

Patterson moved to New Paltz in 1965, where he built a gym and
started helping troubled kids through boxing. He was trainer
and manager for his adopted son, Tracy Harris Patterson, when the
youngster won the super bantamweight title in 1992. Later in the 1990s, the father and son became estranged.

He was twice commissioner of the New York State Athletic Commission, but his second stint, from 1995-98, didn't end well when it appeared in a video deposition he
gave in a lawsuit that his memory was failing. He resigned under
pressure.

``It's very sad,'' said ESPN boxing expert Brian Kenny. ``Floyd
was a giant and we were just so lucky to have him in the Hudson
Valley. I trained at his gym briefly, and he was just the best. He was
everything you would hope he would be.''

Patterson had become a fixture in the New Paltz community,
often visiting schools and passing the collection basket around at
church.

His pleasant, kind demeanor and his unwillingness to say anything bad about anyone made him a beloved character in the boxing world and in his adopted hometown.

``I saw Floyd fight several times in person,'' Lipton said. ``I saw him
fight this really tough street fighter named Charlie `Devil' Green (in
1970). Well, Green starts fouling Floyd. Hitting behind the head,
hitting him below the belt, hitting him after the bell. Well, finally
Green pushes the right button and Floyd hits him with a body shot
right to the liver. It knocked Green out in the 10th round. So as they're helping Green back to his corner, what
does Floyd do? He goes over and gives the guy a big hug.

``I'll always remember him as a kind, gentle person who never
wanted to hurt anybody,'' Lipton concluded. ``He wouldn't even
want to hurt someone's feelings.''

Poughkeepsie Journal sportswriter Dan Pietrafesa contributed
to this story. Sports Editor Jim Sheahan can be reached at jsheahan@poughkeepsiejournal.com
or (845) 437-4845.

gregbeyer
05-12-2006, 12:22 AM
probably my first memories of boxing included patterson.

i sat by the radio with my old man as we listened to the johanson fights. later, after floyd became the first man to ever regain the title, we saw a film of the knockout. that thunderous left hook that left ingo a quivering ex-champ. i remember the old man shaking his head and saying "if your gonna do it thats the way to do it". that punch puncuated an entire career for me...if i close my eyes and think of floyd patterson i see that shot.

you did it right champ....go in peace.

greg

HE Grant
05-12-2006, 07:30 AM
Floyd Patterson was underated as by many and never fully outlived the defeats by Liston and tremendous disrespect directed at him by a young, mean spirited, ignorant Ali. However, he was a great fighter, remained long underated by most and was always a class act.

I hope he found peace over time. While he was not an all time great heavyweight, simply too small, he was a great fighter.

Enswell
05-12-2006, 09:13 AM
I love Floyd Patterson, and can't believe he's gone.My first memory of him is the second Hurricane Jackson fight. I must have read "Victory over Myself" about a hundred times. Rest in Peace, Champ.

thumper3852
05-12-2006, 09:23 AM
Like Gordoom and I'm sure many others, Floyd was my first heavyweight champion of the world as I was 4 yrs old when he first gained the title. I remember watching his bout against Brian London with my brother and father...we laughed like hyenas when London bowed when introduced and even moreso when Floyd knocked out the "guy that bowed". I'm so sorry to hear of his passing, I just wish his death was peaceful and any suffering or pain from his ailments were minimal. Alzheimer's seems to touch so many lives today, it's truly tragic that we haven't done more to find a cure or effective treatment.

I'll always remember Patterson as a class act all the way, in victory or defeat. I loved his fighting style and his ring wits and that he was always in excellent shape...I never saw him gassed out in any fight. Mainly, though, the thing that will always stick with me was his classy act and his deep sense of humility. Too bad more athletes haven't mimicked that style. As big of a fan as I am of Ali, I hated the way he spoke about Patterson early on and was a bit relieved that he seemed to have matured enough to can that crap for their second fight, I only wished Floyd could have at least decked him as a payback for his stupidity in '66. Floyd was a great athlete and a real credit to his sport and, more importantly, a man we could and should all admire. He reached the pinnacle of the sports world by being the heavyweight champion of the world, an achievement that affords (or used to afford) instant recognition by millions of people, but he acted like he was just the next door neighbor.

When was another time a fan saw a fighter break an opponent's fall after he landed a knockout punch???? Says a lot about the champion Floyd truly was, with or without the belt.

Rest in peace, Champ, and thank you for being the man you were.

GorDoom
05-12-2006, 10:20 AM
I recieved this article this morning from Dan Cuoco, the director of the International Boxing Research Org.:

Mike Silver and I think this is a more fitting obituary than the pathetic one put out by the AP.
Dan

Floyd Patterson, Boxing Champion, Dies at 71
By FRANK LITSKY

Text Box: Floyd Patterson, who turned his troubled young life around with boxing and became, despite a gentle disposition, the world heavyweight champion, died today in New Paltz, N.Y. He was 71.

He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for about eight years and also had prostate cancer, said his nephew Sherman Patterson, according to The Associated Press.

In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Patterson won the middleweight gold medal with five knockouts in five bouts. Then, in a 20-year professional career, he won 55 bouts, lost 8 and fought to 1 draw. His total purses reached $8 million, a record then.

He won the heavyweight title twice, knocking out Archie Moore and Ingemar Johansson. He lost it twice, defended it successfully seven times and failed three times to regain it. He generally weighed little more than 180 pounds, light for a heavyweight, but he made the most of mobility, fast hands and fast reflexes.

He was a good guy in the bad world of boxing. He was mild, sweet, retiring, reclusive, impassive and ascetic. He spoke softly and never lost his boyhood shyness. Constantine (Cus) D'Amato, who died in 1985, trained Patterson throughout his professional career and called him "a kind of a stranger." Red Smith, The New York Times sports columnist, called him "the man of peace who loves to fight."

Patterson acknowledged his sensitivity.

"You can hit me and I won't think much of it," he once said, "but you can say something and hurt me very much."

W. C. Heinz, the boxing columnist, found a fundamental difference between Patterson the fighter and Patterson the person.

"In expressing himself as a fighter," Heinz wrote, "Patterson knows almost complete security. Outside the ring, he knows no such security. A shy, sensitive soul-searcher, he volunteers little. He might be called a conversational counterpuncher. When he does speak out, however, it is with a purity reminiscent of Joe Louis."

Floyd Patterson was born Jan. 4, 1935, in a cabin in Waco, N.C., the third eldest of 11 children. His father, Thomas, was a manual laborer and his mother, Annabelle, was a domestic who later worked in a bottling plant until the family moved to the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

Above the youngster's bed was a picture of him with two older brothers and an uncle, all boxers. He often told his mother, "I don't like that boy," and once he scratched three large X's over his face in the picture.

He became a frequent truant who fell behind in school. At age 11, he could not read or write. He would not talk, and when someone talked to him he refused to look the person in the face.

His mother had him committed to Wiltwyck School, a school in upstate New York for emotionally disturbed boys. His new teachers helped him learn to read and encouraged him to take up boxing there, which he did.

A year and a half later, Patterson returned home. He attended Public School 614 for maladjusted children and then spent one term at Alexander Hamilton Vocational High School before quitting to help support his family.

At 14, he started working out at the Gramercy Gym on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a battered gym owned and run by the iconoclastic D'Amato. In 1950, he also started boxing as an amateur. In 1951, he won the New York Golden Gloves open middleweight title. In 1952, after his Olympic success, he turned professional.

His first pro bout earned him only $300, but by 1956 he had become a leading heavyweight. When Rocky Marciano retired that year as the undefeated champion, Patterson was matched against Moore, the light-heavyweight champion, for the heavyweight title.

For the fight on Nov. 30 in Chicago Stadium, Patterson rode to the stadium with Sam Taub, the veteran broadcaster and reporter. As Taub recalled, "He sat there gazing out of the window like he was going to the movies."

When they arrived, Patterson put on his trunks, socks, boxing shoes and robe, stretched out on a rubbing table and went to sleep. A few hours later, he stopped Moore in five rounds and at 21 became the youngest heavyweight champion to that point.

Patterson defended the title willingly but uncomfortably. In 1957, he knocked out Pete Rademacher in six rounds in Seattle and in 1958 he stopped Roy (Cut 'n' Shoot) Harris in 12 rounds in Los Angeles after both had knocked him down.

On June 26, 1959, at Yankee Stadium, Patterson lost the title when Johansson knocked him down seven times before the referee stopped the bout in the third round. On June 20, 1960, at the Polo Grounds, Patterson knocked out Johansson in the fifth round and became the first to regain the heavyweight title.

"It was worth losing the title for this," Patterson said. "This is easily the most gratifying moment of my life. I'm champ again, a real champ this time."

The glory days ended with Patterson's two title fights against Charles (Sonny) Liston. On Sept. 25, 1962, in Chicago, Liston knocked out Patterson in the first round and became the champion, and an embarrassed Patterson drove home wearing dark glasses, a mustache and a beard. But he insisted on a return bout because, he said, "If I stopped now, that would be running away. I did that when I was a kid. I've grown out of that."

The return bout came on July 22, 1963, in Las Vegas, and the result was the same, Liston by a knockout in the first round. Patterson kept fighting after that, but never at his championship level.

In 1965 in Las Vegas, with Patterson hiding a back injury, Muhammad Ali all but tortured him before winning in 12 rounds. In 1970 in Madison Square Garden, Ali opened a seven-stitch cut over Patterson's left eye and beat him in seven rounds.

Patterson persevered. He did not need the money, but he liked to fight. As Arthur Daley observed, "His was the sad and touching fate of the born loser."

After Patterson retired in 1972, he became a respected front man for his sport. In 1983, he told a Congressional subcommittee: "I would not like to see boxing abolished. I come from a ghetto, and boxing is a way out. It would be pitiful to abolish boxing because you would be taking away the one way out."

From 1977 to 1984 he was a member and from 1995 to 1998 the chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, which supervised boxing in the state. He led a successful campaign to have the state mandate thumbless gloves and thus reduce eye injuries.

In April 1998, while giving a deposition, his short-term memory failed. He could not remember the names of his two fellow commission members or his secretary or office routines. He resigned the next day.

Patterson was voted into the United States Olympic Committee Hall of Fame in 1987 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991. The public loved him. As Dave Anderson wrote in 1972 in The New York Times:

"He projects the incongruous image of a gentle gladiator, a martyr persecuted by the demons of his profession. But his mystique also contains a morbid curiosity. Any boxing fan worth his weight in The Ring record books wants to be there for Floyd's last stand. Until then, Floyd Patterson keeps boxing, the windmills of his mind turned by his own breezes."

GorDoom
05-12-2006, 10:57 AM
Patterson’s death bittersweet reminder to ‘Irish Pat’
by John McGrath from the News tribune

Pat McMurtry picked up the phone on the third ring, and then cut to the chase before I could tell him why I called.
“Floyd Patterson died,” he said. “He was a really nice guy. We first met before we turned pro at the U.S. nationals in Boston – we were in different weight classes – and he wished me luck. I’ll always think of him as a first-class gentleman.”

McMurtry paused, as if to offer a respectful moment of silence, before finishing his thought.

“I’d have liked to have fought him.”

In the winter of 1958, a heavyweight title bout appeared inevitable between McMurtry, Ring Magazine’s No. 5 ranked contender, and Patterson, two years into a championship reign vacated by the retired Rocky Marciano.
McMurtry was fundamentally flawless inside the ring and kept a clean-cut lifestyle outside it. After his unanimous decision over Canadian champ George Chuvalo in a nationally televised bout at Madison Square Garden, the popularity of Tacoma’s favorite son was peaking.

Furthermore, Patterson’s manager, Cus D’Amato, had been accused of dodging title-defense matchups against the elite contenders of the day. D’Amato needed a credible challenger with some box-office appeal, and “Irish Pat” qualified on both counts.

But D’Amato wasn’t keen on lining up Patterson against McMurtry, who at 6-foot-1 was almost two inches taller than the champ and packed more of a jolt with his jabs.

“D’Amato didn’t want us,” said McMurtry.

A title shot was not without drawbacks on the home front: It would have forced McMurtry to move to Boston and break ranks with the promoter who also happened to be his father.

Who would’ve won a McMurtry-Patterson showdown? McMurtry didn’t want to go there, but “Irish Pat” was always better at ducking hooks than questions.

“I could have beaten him,” he said.

Patterson went on to lose his title during a 1959 bout, stopped in the third round by Sweden’s Ingemar Johansson. (Patterson regained the championship in a 1960 rematch against Johansson, then lost it for good in 1962, when the imposing 225-pound Sonny Liston – D’Amato was opposed to scheduling a fight against him, too – needed all of 126 seconds to score a knockout.)



And McMurtry? Instead of getting a chance to dethrone the world heavyweight champion, he found himself staying in the Pacific Northwest, where he had back-to-back assignments against a couple of tough customers, Nino Valdes and Eddie Machen. They would be his last two fights.
The knockout punch landed by Machen left McMurtry unconscious for 10 minutes. He regained his senses, only to be told he was the victim of a career-ending head injury.

“Boxing’s a tough sport,” said McMurtry. “Look what happened to Floyd Patterson. He caught a lot of punches, and he paid for it.”

Patterson, the 1952 Olympic middleweight champion, fought professionally for 20 years, finally retiring after Muhammad Ali knocked him out in a 1972 nontitle fight.

Renowned for the compassion he gave troubled kids – he was one himself before boxing turned him around – Patterson was appointed chairman of the New York State Boxing Commission in 1995. Three years later, he resigned. Associates were concerned that he couldn’t remember the significant events of his career.

While the hits he took plying his savage craft haven’t affected McMurtry’s memory – he can share details, with vivid clarity, of fights against opponents he took on a half-century ago – the 74-year-old wonders if maybe it’s time to consider an assisted-living arrangement.

“I’m having trouble with my eyesight,” said McMurtry. “Was boxing responsible? I’m sure it didn’t help. But because of my sight problems, I can’t drive anymore. And I can’t go to the mall, because of my equilibrium. I take a few steps and I have to sit down. I still have my pride, you know what I mean? I don’t want people to see me like this.

“My father and I used to hunt deer and elk. I can’t do that. I can’t go into the woods. I love to fish, too, and I haven’t been fishing in years.

“Whoever came up with the notion that growing old is your ‘golden years,’” said McMurtry, “is full of crap.”

Although his body may be depriving him of his fiercely coveted independence, McMurtry’s Irish spirit is alive and well.

And know this: He’ll never be a hypocrite and renounce the sport that enabled him and his late brother Mike – the 1954 NCAA champ and winner of 207 of 214 amateur fights – to become Pacific Northwest sports legends.

“I’d do it all over again,” he said. “I’ve had a hell of a good life, done a lot of things. I got to know Bing Crosby and Humphrey Bogart. I had my picture in the paper, and fought on TV. After I quit boxing I became a referee for 29 years, and traveled all over the place. I went to Australia three different times.”

One trip McMurtry hasn’t made is to Canistota, N.Y., home of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He’s been told his candidacy is under consideration.

McMurtry had a short but substantial pro career, winning 33, losing four, with a draw. He beat Hall of Famers Carl “Bobo” Olson, Ezzard Charles and Chuvalo. He also was 105-2 as an amateur.

A plaque in Canistota would be a fitting tribute to McMurtry, and soothe the frustration of missing a chance to become heavyweight championship of the world.

The guy whose title belt he wanted died Tuesday. Floyd Patterson was 71. It had been eight years since he could remember the names of his knockout victims.

GorDoom
05-12-2006, 11:00 AM
Floyd Patterson may have had his critics, but his speed and power rank him as one of the greatest heavyweights

By JIM KERNAGHAN from The Toronto Sun


The young reporter interviewing Floyd Patterson at his Catskills, N.Y., training camp remarked on the heavyweight boxer's choice of footwear.

"This is a hard business," Patterson said, looking down at his work boots in the rustic cabin. "And I want everything about my training to be hard."

It was indeed a hard business for the former champion, who died yesterday at 71, a business that treated Patterson with mercurial highs and utter lows in equal proportion.

The smallish heavyweight, who often fought at less than 200 pounds, won the 1952 Olympic gold medal in the middleweight class before turning pro under the tutelage of the legendary Cus D'Amato.

Born in poverty into a family of 11 kids in Brooklyn, Patterson advanced to become the youngest man to win the world heavyweight title when he scored a fifth-round knockout over blown-up light heavyweight Archie Moore in 1956 after Rocky Marciano had retired undefeated.


But three years later, Patterson was knocked to the canvas seven times in the third round while losing his title to Swede Ingemar Johansson.

A year later, he reversed that by getting up off the canvas to knock out Johansson with his legendary right hand -- known as "The hammer of Thor" -- with a terrific shot that left Johansson out cold.

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

Patterson won fans because he had a big man's punch but a small man's jaw. He could punch with the best heavyweights, knocking one opponent down 11 times in a fight.

But he also was down a total of 21 times during his career, including seven times in that embarrassing loss to Johansson.

Sonny Liston added further humiliation with a first-round knockout in a 1962 Chicago bout.

Years later, Patterson revealed that U.S. President John Kennedy had urged him not to fight Liston, who was reputed to be handled by mobsters.

"I'm sorry, Mr. President," Patterson said he told Kennedy. "The title is not worth anything if the best fighters can't have a shot at it. And Liston deserves a shot."

Patterson was so embarrassed at being knocked out in the first round of his first fight with Liston that he donned fake glasses and a beard to avoid being recognized. Liston had no trouble remembering who he was when they met a second time 10 months later in Las Vegas and Patterson was stopped in the first round again.

It gets worse.

Liston scored another first-round knockout over Patterson a year later.

At that time, a youngster named Cassius Clay was gaining fame and, as Muhammad Ali, provided more horrors to Patterson's career.

He fought Ali in 1965, lasting until the 12th round despite taking a beating from the champion, who was angry because Patterson called him by his given name, Cassius Clay.

Patterson, who fought from a peekaboo style and depended on a sharp left jab and lunging hooks, was completely outclassed.

During the fight, Ali toyed with Patterson, peppering him with jabs and right hands, all the time asking, "What's my name?"

Former Ali business manager Gene Kilroy said the two reconciled in the early 1970s when Patterson came up to Ali and said, "Hello, Muhammad Ali." They embraced and remained friendly after that.

"Ali always thought he was a real nice guy," Kilroy said.

But Patterson would retire with a solid record of 55 wins, eight losses and a draw with 40 knockouts over almost exclusively larger opponents.

Patterson eventually became chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, a long way from the juvenile delinquency that was transformed by his talent for boxing.

"If it wasn't for boxing, I would probably be behind bars or dead," he said in a 1998 interview.

After losing a non-title bout to Ali in 1972, Patterson retired.

He had been afflicted with Alzheimer's disease for the past eight years and had prostate cancer.

In his 1965 fight with Canadian champ George Chuvalo, Patterson won but took a terrific beating.

"He was very quick, next to Ali he was the fastest guy I fought," said George Chuvalo, who lost a decision to Patterson in a hotly contested fight that Ring Magazine named fight of the year in 1965.

After that bout, Patterson emerged from the shower afterward to speak to the young reporter and revealed he had been urinating blood.

Yes, it was a hard business.

GorDoom
05-12-2006, 11:04 AM
Sensitive fighter did not fit mold
By Dick Heller from The Washington Times


On the morning of Sept. 25, 1962, while preparing to defend his heavyweight championship that evening against menacing Sonny Liston in Chicago, Floyd Patterson carefully packed his gym bag. Included were the usual pugilistic accoutrements -- shorts, socks, shoes, supporter -- and one extremely unusual accessory: a disguise.
Into that bag Patterson tucked a fake beard and mustache, the better to escape Comiskey Park hopefully unnoticed if he lost. And he did lose, of course, succumbing to the first of two one-round knockouts by Liston that forever after labeled him as a chump rather than a champ.
Heavyweight champions from Jack Dempsey to Lennox Lewis have advertised themselves as fearless flailers afraid of no opponent. Patterson did not fit the mold. Perhaps, considering his sensitive nature, he would have been better cast as an artist, musician or -- heaven forbid! -- a sportswriter. But we all play the cards we are dealt, and Patterson had a bad hand.
After his twin debacles against Liston and a subsequent taunting and battering by Muhammad Ali, who resented Patterson's insistence on calling him "Cassius Clay," it was very easy to feel sorry for Floyd. And when he died yesterday at 71 following an eight-year struggle with Alzheimer's, the memories came flooding back of a fine man who probably was too human for his lousy profession.
Physically as well as psychologically, Patterson was ill suited to mix it up with heavyweights. True, he had an advantage -- as did Ali -- of hand and foot speed, but a mere 182 pounds rested on his 6-foot frame. In fact, trainer Dan Florio said, "if we ever put him on a diet, we'd soon have a middleweight on our hands."
Nonetheless, Patterson rose through the decimated heavyweight ranks steadily after turning pro at 17 in 1952. Fortunately, for his continued health, he never encountered Rocky Marciano while that estimable pug ruled the division. But Marciano retired undefeated in 1956, and by the time Patterson got a title shot later that year, he had only to beat the aged Archie Moore to become the youngest heavyweight champ ever at 21 years, 10 months and 26 days.
His manager was Cus D'Amato, the same gentle soul who later started Mike Tyson on the road to short-lived glory. D'Amato was much too smart to book a fight with Liston, so Patterson successfully defended against such nonentities as British bleeder Brian London, Texas cowpoke Roy Harris and even Pete Rademacher, who incredibly was fighting for the title in his first professional bout. Even back then, when some people still took boxing seriously, the sport was capable of smelling to high heaven.
Patterson -- quiet, polite and non-threatening -- somehow seemed above it all. But his world came crashing down in less than 10 minutes on June 26, 1959, at Yankee Stadium, when a heretofore undistinguished Swede named Ingemar Johansson applied his "toonder and lightning" to Floyd's jaw emphatically enough to knock him down seven times and out in the third round.
So much for invincibility. Though Patterson regained a measure of respect by flattening Johansson in two subsequent meetings and becoming the first man to regain the heavyweight title, he was an underdog to Liston in most boxing circles when D'Amato no longer could keep Sonny on the back burner.
In their two abbreviated bouts, Patterson personified Good to Liston's Evil in the minds of most fans, especially since the glowering, illiterate Sonny had done time. When Patterson met John F. Kennedy in December 1961, the president told him, "You've got to beat this guy." Presumably, such pressure did nothing to bolster Patterson's shaky psyche.
Floyd did not react well for a boxer to the specter and actuality of defeat. After losses to Joey Maxim in 1954 and Johansson in '59, he suffered from severe depression. Following the latter defeat, he sulked for weeks in his living room with the curtains drawn rather than snarling, as most fighters would, "I'll moider da bum next time."
Somehow Patterson earned a final title shot against WBA champion Jimmy Ellis in 1968, losing a 15-round decision. He was still plugging away four years later when Ali knocked him out in seven rounds, Patterson's last fight. He finished with a record of 55-8-1 with 40 knockouts, but the irony is that his two losses to Liston are remembered far more than the victories.
In later years, Floyd did his best to contribute to his ailing sport. He served two terms as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission but was forced to resign in 1998 when his televised deposition in a lawsuit revealed that he couldn't remember much about his own career -- perhaps the first sign of the Alzheimer's.
In many ways, Floyd Patterson had an unfortunate life. To his credit, he persevered under unfavorable conditions, and that's not a bad legacy for anyone.

GorDoom
05-12-2006, 11:08 AM
Boxing legend was a New Paltz fixture

By John Ferro
Poughkeepsie Journal


NEW PALTZ … Floyd Patterson was easy to find in his adopted hometown.

Longtime residents say the boxer who won an Olympic gold medal and a world heavyweight championship moved about New Paltz with unassuming grace, unfettered by fame or ego. Patterson died Thursday. He was 71.

Born in Waco, N.C., Patterson came to the mid-Hudson Valley by way of the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. Troubled times landed him in a youth home in Esopus. There, he fell in love with the mid-Hudson Valley's natural splendor. After his boxing career took off, he settled in a 17-acre farmhouse on Springtown Road in New Paltz.

If you wanted to find Floyd Patterson, it was common knowledge that your best bet might be the local ShopRite, squeezing some produce perhaps. If not there, you could have caught him visiting residents at a nursing home. One fan had a chat with him at a grand opening - of a ballet school.

But the dunking booth?
Well, almost.

Rev. William Shannon was the pastor at St. Joseph Church in New Paltz from 1987-1996. Patterson served as a eucharistic minister, giving out Holy Communion. He also was an usher, passing the collection basket.

Each year, the church hosts a well-attended summer festival, with food, music and carnival rides. One day, Shannon and Patterson were chatting about the festival, and the fact that there would be a dunking booth.

Patterson offered to be the oft-drowned target.

"He was going to do that," Shannon said Thursday in a telephone interview from Hawaii, where he is pastor of a church on the island of Kauai. "I said, `No, that's OK.' "

Shannon said Patterson went to local nursing homes to give out Communion. During church services, he would almost always be found standing in one place.

"He always would stand in the back," said Kathy Mironchik, the athletic secretary at New Paltz High School, where football and track and field teams compete on Floyd Patterson Field. "He would never sit in the front."

"You'd always see him talking to the kids after Mass," she said.

If you missed Patterson at ShopRite or St. Joseph, you could have glimpsed him at the New Paltz School of Ballet. That's where New Paltz town board member Jim Bacon first met Patterson.

Bacon was attending the grand opening of the ballet school just off of Route 32. He recalls how Patterson chatted quietly as another guest asked him about one of his fights.

"Floyd was such a gentleman to listen to the questions and to answer them," Bacon said. "I don't think I ever met anybody who was a famous celebrity who was very kind to any stranger who was talking to him about what was happening in his life."
Bacon recalls one other thing about that day - Patterson's handshake.

"What a powerful man," he said. "A seeming dichotomy, all in one. He had incredible strength and skill to be world heavyweight champion, yet such humbleness in his demeanor."

Charles Davis played Little League and pickup basketball with Patterson's adopted son, Tracy Harris Patterson, who went on to win a world boxing championship himself.

Davis was a star quarterback at New Paltz High School who went on to play at the University of Tennessee. He is now a sports commentator for the TNT cable network.

"What I remember the most is he was a regular guy," Davis said. "He brought a lot of honor to our place, and a lot of class."

GorDoom
05-12-2006, 11:16 AM
Floyd Patterson 1935-2006
Small heavyweight champ left large legacy in the ring
By Michael Hirsley from The Baltimore Sun

"He ennobled the sport," boxing historian Bert Sugar said. "He was the kindest man I ever met."

A friend of Patterson's for 35 years, Sugar recalled the champion lifting up an opponent he had knocked out.

Patterson, who had Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer, died in his New Paltz, N.Y., home yesterday at the age of 71.

In his 20-year pro boxing career, he made up for shortcomings in weight and raw punching power with speed and courage, finishing with a 55-8-1 record and 40 knockouts.

Gaining the title and making most of his defenses in the 1950s, he boxed in an era when there could be only one heavyweight champion at a time and a man could hold that crown despite weighing less than 200 pounds.

Fighting at just over 182 pounds, the 21-year-old Patterson became the youngest man to win the title when he knocked out Archie Moore in the fifth round in Chicago on Nov. 30, 1956, in a bout for the championship left vacant when Rocky Marciano retired undefeated.

It was one of the highlights of a roller-coaster career that included losing his title in 1959 to Ingemar Johansson, who won by knockout after flooring Patterson an incredible seven times in the third round. A year later, Patterson avenged the embarrassing defeat when he knocked out Johansson in the fifth round. He thereby became the first heavyweight to regain the title.

He defended his title successfully six times, lost it twice and failed to regain it in three other title bouts.

"Floyd Patterson was a great champion in and out of the ring," said World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman. "I hereby dedicate my next fight against Oleg Maskaev to honor the memory of Floyd Patterson's great career."

However, part of his reputation was sullied in 1962 and 1963, when he met what looked to be boxing's next indestructible object. Sonny Liston, outweighing Patterson by more than 20 pounds both times, knocked him out in the first round at Comiskey Park to become heavyweight champ and then repeated the feat in the rematch in Las Vegas.

Many people, from his own advisers to President Kennedy, didn't want him to fight Liston, Patterson recalled, adding that he told the president "the title isn't worth anything if the best fighters can't have a shot at it. And Liston deserves a shot."

Boxing historian Hank Kaplan and Sugar admired Patterson's boxing skills behind his signature peek-a-boo style.

"Floyd was a small heavyweight, around just before the giants arrived," Kaplan said. "He was not able to take a great punch, had a suspect chin and was not a rugged guy. But he had other assets ... fantastic speed and the ability to adapt his stature and defensive skills to survive until he reached the top of his game."

"[I remember] standing next to him, watching him train, and thinking it was unbelievable that he was the heavyweight champion," Kaplan said.

Indeed, Patterson was a 165-pound middleweight when he won a gold medal at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.

Muhammad Ali's storied career included knocking out Liston and Patterson twice each.

Despite Ali's relative ease in those bouts, his trainer, Angelo Dundee, recalled Patterson as "a remarkable fighter, with quickness."

Dundee also knew Patterson in his later role as chairman of the New York Athletic Commission, from which he resigned in 1998 amid early signs of Alzheimer's. Even then, he worked with a state agency counseling troubled children.

In 1987, Patterson was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame and he went into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.

"[Patterson] was not only a great athlete and champion but a distinguished gentleman, role model and inspiration to us all," New York Athletic Commission chairman Ron Scott Stevens said.

Said Dundee: "He was good for boxing. As commissioner, he was cognizant of boxers' problems. He was a very special man. He will be missed."

GorDoom
05-12-2006, 11:18 AM
Floyd Patterson: Great Person, Great Champion
By Don Colgan from Boxing Scene

I found out Floyd Patterson passed away Thursday morning. I had a feeling this day would come sooner than later. We all knew Floyd was very ill, the progression of Alzheimer’s over the past decade had slowly robbed him of many of the remembrances of his fine career, as well as many of the wonderful associations he nurtured over the 47 years he devoted to boxing, from a Simon Pure in the New York City Golden Gloves in the early 1950’s until his sad and sudden resignation as Commissioner of the New York State Athletic Commission in 1998.

Floyd Patterson was much more than a sports personality or Former Heavyweight Champion. He was what is a true rarity in sports today, a wonderful and positive inspiration for the youth of this nation. He left us a beloved and much admired figure, an elder statesman for the sport he championed and loved to the last.

Floyd suffered from a brutal inferiority complex as a result of his difficult childhood. As a boy he could not look a person in the eye and carry on a conversation. He was educationally and sociologically stunted. He did not like himself and did everything in his power to avoid interaction with human beings.

A turning point in Patterson’s young life was when his mother sent him to the Wiltwyck School for boys after Floyd had experienced numerous run ins with the police. To that point he was inarticulate, had no reading skills and no hope.

Patterson’s 1961 Autobiography “Victory Over Myself ” illustrated this hopelessness when Floyd confessed he once found a large hole in the wall of a New York City Subway Terminal and climbed in that hole every day, shielded himself from the humiliation he felt because of his unkept appearance and fear of even attempting to interact with children his age.

Floyd was not a great Heavyweight Champion by definition. His position is that of a lower to middle tier champion, ranked comparably to Jersey Joe Walcott, Max Schmeling and possibly Gene Tunney. He boxed consistently under 190 pounds until later in his career. Patterson has lightening fast hands, arguably faster than Ali’s. He would launch six, seven and eight punch combinations, often hurtling himself through the air while delivering the blows. He could punch and had a great left hook, the same punch that rendered Ingemar Johansson completely unconscious in the Polo Grounds on June 20, 1960, when Floyd demolished boxing’s oldest axiom about former heavyweight champions, that “They never come back!”.

It is entirely possible that the explosive left hook that separated Ingemar from the championship was a contributing factor in his condition today, as the Swede was diagnosed himself with the crippling Alzheimer’s affliction.

Patterson simply could not take a big heavyweight’s punch. Johansson dropped him nine times in three bouts. Liston destroyed him twice in the opening round. Jerry Quarry had him down three times and hurt often in their two bouts, although Floyd was robbed of the verdict in their second bout, which was a part of the WBA Elimination Series organized to determine Ali’s successor in 1968.

Floyd was once described as a “Black Tragedian” who lingered on the outer tier of the best heavyweights in the world from 1963 until his final bout, a 7th round TKO defeat against Muhammad Ali in their return bout at Madison Square Garden in 1972. He simply loved to box and never felt, even after the crushing Liston defeats and the Ali/Clay humiliation in Las Vegas that regaining the championship was out of this grasp. He came within in a whisker of earning a points verdict over Jimmy Ellis in Stockholm in 1968, a bad decision by any definition.

However, he was the kindest and most gentle and spiritual of human beings. He had an articulate and acute sense of where a boxer goes and from whence he came from. It is true that the defeated boxer is, in many ways, one step closer to the poverty from which he was born. It is a complex of survival and hunger to escape that poverty that has driven Flyweights to Heavyweights, from Ruby Goldstein, the much heralded New York City “Jewel of the Ghetto” in the 1920’s to Sugar Ray Robins, Smokin’ Joe Frazier and later Larry Holmes. It is the psychology, the mindset of a pugilist. Victory and survival!

Yet Floyd was a formidable force in the middle and late 1960’s. He outboxed and out punched a prime George Chuvalo at the Garden in 1965. He drew with an barely lost to an emergent Jerry Quarry when the Irishman was a true force to be reckoned with within the division. Patterson never became an Ezzard Charles, losing time and again to the Donnie Fleemans of the world at the end of his ring career. He remained a contender and a title threat nearly to the end and, for over twenty years, was an enduring and formidable force in the light heavyweight and heavyweight class.

Yet his legacy lies with the man himself. During his first championship reign he used to bring boys from his Rockville Centre area up to his training camp in upstate New York. He permitted them to spar, taught them the fundamentals of boxing as well as the opportunity to enjoy themselves in the beautiful New York State summertime. He became a wonderful example of what “Champion” defines. He was respectful, faithful, and thoughtful and took bold stands on issues impacting boxing.

Floyd understood the boxing remained an escape from the stranglehold of urban poverty for thousands of inner city youths. It served, and continues to serve, an important social purpose that is often overlooked by those who editorialize for it’s banishment.

Floyd Patterson did not have to grandstand to get his positive and hopeful message across to the youth of America. He accomplished this by deeds, example and perseverance. That is why America, and the sporting world, embraced the gentle champion.

He is worthy of his well earned position among the giants in American sports in the 20th century.

GorDoom
05-12-2006, 12:31 PM
Ex-heavyweight boxer Floyd Patterson, 71, dies
By Chuck Johnson, USA TODAY

Floyd Patterson, the first two-time heavyweight champion, is remembered as a great fighter who was widely respected as a great gentleman.
"That was my first true hero," Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward said of Patterson, who died Thursday at age 71 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer.

"When he lost to Ingemar Johansson, I'll never forget. I was 14 years old, and when I found out he had been knocked out, I cried."

For fans from the baby boomer generation, Patterson was the first heavyweight champion whose career they saw unfold. At 21, four years after the Brooklyn, N.Y., native won the 1952 Olympic middleweight gold medal, Patterson became the youngest to win the heavyweight title in 1956 with a fifth-round KO of Archie Moore.

Undersized for a heavyweight, Patterson made up for it with fast hands that scored in combinations. His quickness prompted Muhammad Ali, who beat Patterson twice, to derisively dub him "The Rabbit."

The defining fight of Patterson's career was his fifth-round KO of Johansson in their 1960 rematch, making him the first heavyweight champion to regain the title. A year before stopping the Swede with a tremendous left hook, Patterson was knocked down seven times in the third round and lost his title to Johansson. Both fights took place at the old Polo Grounds in New York.

"The second fight was big because nobody thought he could win," said New York bar owner Jimmy Glenn, who worked as Patterson's assistant trainer in several fights. "The difference from the first fight was that he didn't get hit. Floyd got himself in great shape, studied and did what he had to do."

Patterson was proud of the way he never gave up. "They said I was the fighter who got knocked down the most, but I also got up the most," he said.

There would be no comeback in 1962 when Patterson lost his title on a first-round KO by Sonny Liston, whose power and size overwhelmed Patterson's speed and savvy. In 1963, Patterson attempted to become the first three-time heavyweight champ, but Liston KO'd him again in the first round.

After those defeats, Patterson was depressed and often disguised himself in public. But he resumed winning to earn a title shot against Ali, who had beaten Liston twice. In 1965, Patterson was thwarted as Ali toyed with and taunted him before winning on a 12th-round knockout.

Patterson, who ended his fighting career in 1972, remained an important figure in his sport, both as a trainer and as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, a position he held until recently. Among the young boxers he trained was adopted son Tracy Patterson, who he guided to a world bantamweight championship.

New York Gov. George Pataki, who appointed Patterson to his second commission term, said in a statement: "From his signature style in the ring to his support for amateur athletics later in life, Floyd Patterson was truly the 'gentleman of boxing.' "

mike
05-12-2006, 12:33 PM
i always maintained he had the fastest hands i ever saw-a great gentleman-what more could you ask for- i do not wish ill harm on any man- but ive seen advaanced alxiehersmers and added with cancer-- mr. patterson is not suffering anymore. seemmed like such a decent man.

KOJOE90
05-12-2006, 02:25 PM
I rember reading in an interview were Tommy morrison said that Floyd Patterson was one of his favorite boxers.
That shows you how much impact he has had over the years.

Floyd Patterson was one of Marvin Haglers favourite fighters as well.

I need say no more.....

GorDoom
05-12-2006, 03:21 PM
Ron & Danny:

Done. It's gone.

GorDoom

kikibalt
05-12-2006, 03:38 PM
http://i1.tinypic.com/zjbjww.jpg
http://i3.tinypic.com/zjc7pw.jpg

GorDoom
05-12-2006, 03:47 PM
Floyd Patterson – A Tribute
By Lee Groves from Max Boxing

It was Saturday June 12, 1999 and the scene was Casolwood Golf Course in Canastota, New York. The Golf Tournament of Champions is a staple on the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Induction Weekend schedule and I had just completed an 18-hole odyssey that lasted six long hours. Because of my fair-skinned complexion I suffered a mild sunburn but I ended the round on a high note by shooting a difficult chip to within an inch of the hole. Later that day, I was given a box containing 12 golf balls, which was a good thing since I lost four during the round.

However, the biggest highlight of the day came right after the round ended. As I walked toward the exit, I glanced to my left and was surprised at what I saw. Sitting on a chair underneath a tent was Floyd Patterson, who was signing autographs for a moderately long line of admirers. Though Patterson was inducted in 1991 he was no longer a regular attendee at the weekend because of reports of ill health. Thus, his appearance was an unexpected treat for me.

I didn’t know how long he had been there, and I wasn’t sure how much longer he would stay so I rushed to the end of the line and hoped I would get his signature inside my copy of Harry Mullan’s "The Great Book of Boxing." By this time the book contained more than 100 signatures but Patterson’s would have been one of the most meaningful to me.

One of my first articles as a full-time MaxBoxing scribe was a list of my 10 "favorite guys." Upon reflection, I probably should have expanded it to a top 12 so that I could have included Patterson. When I became a fan at age nine, one of the first things I did was commit to memory the roster of heavyweight champions. While doing so, I learned that Patterson was the first former champion to regain the title. Being the type that latched on to people who achieved unique feats, I wanted to learn as much as I could about Patterson the person as well as the fighter.

Patterson the boxer was quite accomplished: As an amateur, he won the 1951 New York Golden Gloves in the 160 pound open division and added the 175-pound title the following year. On Aug. 2, 1952, the 17-year-old Patterson capped his 40-4 (37 KOs) simon pure career by knocking out Vasile Tita in just 74 seconds to capture the 165-pound gold medal at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.

Just five weeks after winning gold, Patterson embarked on what would become a 20-year professional career. The Waco, N.C. native turned New Yorker had incredibly swift hands that carried concussive power, with the hook particularly devastating. On defense, Patterson boxed behind a high guard commonly characterized as the "peek-a-boo" which allowed him to skillfully pick off blows with his gloves and elbows. He won his first 12 fights (eight by knockout) before losing a close eight-round decision to 104-fight veteran and former light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim on June 7, 1954.

Patterson returned to the ring four weeks later, knocking out Jacques Royer-Crecy in seven rounds. The victory would launch what would become a run at the heavyweight title, though Patterson remained close to the 175-pound limit most of the time. Patterson’s better wins during this stretch included the 30-2 Willie Troy (KO 5), the 15-1 Don Grant (KO 5), and grizzled veterans Yvon Durelle (retired in five), Alvin Williams (KO 8, KO 3), Dave Whitlock (KO 3) and Jimmy Slade (KO 7). Patterson then earned a chance to fill the heavyweight title vacancy created by Rocky Marciano’s retirement after beating Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson by 12 round split decision.

Five months later, the 21-year-old Patterson became the youngest man to win the undisputed heavyweight title by knocking out "The Old Mongoose" Archie Moore in five rounds with a hook to the jaw. Because manager Cus D’Amato wanted to keep the International Boxing Club away from the title, he matched Patterson only against fighters not affiliated with the organization. Patterson defended the belt four times, polishing off Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson (KO 10), 1956 gold medalist and pro debutante Pete Rademacher (KO 6), Roy Harris (KO 13) and Brian London (KO 11).

European heavyweight champion Ingemar Johansson was next in line, but Ingo had a surprise waiting for Patterson when they met at Yankee Stadium in New York June 26, 1959. After two rounds of throwing nothing but light jabs, Johansson sent Patterson flying to the canvas courtesy of his "Toonder and Lightning" right cross. In all, Patterson would hit the canvas seven times before referee Ruby Goldstein stopped the slaughter 2:03 into round three. For the first time since Primo Carnera knocked out Jack Sharkey in 1933, the heavyweight championship belt left America’s shores.

Patterson, embarrassed by the loss, left the arena wearing dark glasses and a fake beard, then sank into a deep depression that lasted for months. Six days short of one year later, Patterson made history by knocking Johansson unconscious with a pulverizing hook to the jaw in the fifth round. With his back to the prone Johansson, Patterson reveled in his victory, a beaming smile spread wide across his face. But when he turned around and saw Johansson’s foot twitching, he acted with genuine alarm as he crouched down to get a closer look at his fallen opponent. Patterson’s concern was eased when Johansson was revived a few minutes later.

With the score between them knotted at one fight apiece, the rubber match took place March 13, 1961 at Miami Beach with Patterson rising from two first round knockdowns to deck Ingo at the end of the session and putting him away for good in the sixth. Nine months later, Patterson retained the belt by flooring Tom McNeeley 11 times before stopping him in four rounds.

Meanwhile, top contender Charles "Sonny" Liston was relegated to the sidelines by D’Amato, both because of his mob ties and his mortal threat to Patterson’s reign. Stung by the criticism from both media and fans, Patterson went against D’Amato’s wishes and granted Liston the title shot on September 25, 1962 in Chicago’s Comiskey Park. The fight was over just 2:05 after the opening bell with Patterson down three times and shorn of his championship. Ten months later at the Convention Center in Las Vegas, Patterson was given a rematch but the result was the same. The only difference was that it took Liston four seconds longer to stop the former champion.

Patterson would receive two more chances to win the title a third time. On November 22, 1965 in Las Vegas, Patterson suffered the physical pain of a bad back and the mental torture of Muhammad Ali’s taunts before the fight was stopped in the 12th round. On September 14, 1968 in Stockholm, the 33-year-old Patterson turned back the clock and appeared to dominate WBA champion Jimmy Ellis, but referee Harold Valen, the sole judge, scored the bout nine rounds to six for Ellis.

Patterson would fight 10 more times over the next four years with his final fight being against Muhammad Ali on September 20, 1972 at Madison Square Garden. The 37-year-old Patterson fought valiantly and enjoyed many good moments against Ali. But Patterson’s aging skin broke apart under Ali’s razor-sharp blows, and he complicated matters by blowing his nose between rounds. The resulting swelling prompted referee Arthur Mercante Sr. to stop the fight in the seventh. Patterson (55-8-1, 40 KOs) never announced his retirement, saying he could not bear to officially say goodbye to the sport he loved so much.

In retirement Patterson remained close to boxing. He trained a variety of fighters, most notably adopted son Tracy Harris Patterson, who won WBC and IBF belts at 122 pounds. He also served two tenures as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, but stepped down in 1998 following a report that a video deposition he provided for a lawsuit revealed he couldn’t recall important events during his boxing career.

Through it all, Patterson remained an immensely popular fighter because of his humility, kindness and willingness to drop pretense and show his vulnerable side. A shy and troubled youth, Patterson ran away from his Brooklyn home and spent many days sitting in the dark by himself. He was also in trouble with the law, and he was eventually sent to the Wiltwyck School for Boys, where he learned to have confidence in himself as well as picking up the rudiments of boxing.

Patterson detailed his struggles in a book called "Victory Over Myself," which I checked out of my local library numerous times over the years. When the library made its copy available during a book sale, I immediately snatched it up and to this day it remains on one of my bookshelves.

In the early 1990s, I interviewed Patterson by phone for a Ring Magazine feature on Pete Rademacher. It was a thrill for me to speak to the man with whom I held so much reverence but when I saw Patterson sitting just a few feet away from me, I couldn’t get into that autograph line fast enough.

It was a hot day and Patterson was obviously uncomfortable. Though he continuously wiped his brow, he made sure that every fan not only got an autograph or a photo but a brief conversation as well. When my turn came about 10 minutes after I got into line, I knew it would probably be the one and only time I would get to address him.

As he signed his name across a picture of himself nailing "Hurricane" Jackson with a right to the jaw in crisp, cursive script, I told Patterson how much I admired him as a fighter but even more as a person.

"I remember reading in your book ‘Victory Over Myself’ that you used to have conversations with Joe Louis while lying in bed at night because he was such a hero to you," I began. "After reading your book as a boy, I dreamed of the day that I would get to have a conversation with you because I admire you so much. At this very moment, that dream has come true."

It must have been a bit unsettling to have a complete stranger tell him something like that, but he accepted my words with his typical grace by saying "thank you." I didn’t want to hold up the line or take up any more of his time than I needed to, so with that I thanked him for the autograph and walked back toward the clubhouse, my mind floating with exhilaration.

From time to time I still pop in tapes of Patterson’s fights to admire his speed and skill. I’ve taken some heat on the message boards for being a Patterson fan, but I didn’t care. To me, Patterson is the definitive symbol of resilience. Inside the ring he was floored 21 times but as he often declared "they said I was the fighter who got knocked down the most, but I also got up the most."

That sentiment also applied to his life as he conquered his personal demons and became the possessor of sport’s richest prize not once, but twice. For someone who thought of himself as a loser throughout most of his childhood, Floyd Patterson ended up being a winner both in the ring as well as in the larger arena called life.

On Thursday, the 71-year-old Patterson’s journey through life ended because of Alzheimer’s disease and prostate cancer. A memorial service is scheduled May 27 in Albany, N.Y.

mrbig1
05-12-2006, 08:01 PM
A great champion and an even greater man. Loved all over the world. R.I.P. Champ.

Ron Lipton
05-13-2006, 01:20 AM
Friday, May 12, 2006
Floyd Patterson memories



I refereed Tracy Harris Patterson on ESPN in a live title fight defense of his Jr.Featherweight title in Atlantic City. Floyd was in Tracy's corner for the fight in which he lost his title to Hector Acero Sanchez, standing in the ring even getting ready to referee the title fight, his presence in the ring was a force, knowing the former heavyweight champion was right there, it was an added honor. I refereed it fair and square as usual, but the honor of having him watching was illuminating.

Once I took a long ride with him to New Hampshire, it was a long drive and we were alone a long time. We talked old time boxing and I could always make him laugh. When we got to the hotel, we registered in the lobby, and there were two good looking women staring at him.

I said only as a joke, because I knew and respected his wife Janet, "Hey Floyd, those girls are giving you the eye," he slowly held up his hand thinking I was serious, showing me his wedding ring, and said, "There is only one girl for me, my wife Janet."

I think I loved him more at that moment than ever before. He was a the best kind of man God ever made.

Ron Lipton

Ron Lipton
05-13-2006, 01:33 AM
I forgot to add that I read, he died in his wife Janet's arms while she was holding him.

At least his loved one was close by.

Ron Lipton
05-15-2006, 04:14 PM
Thanks Kid,

" have a question. What Patterson fights would you recommend to me as his finest moments? I've seen the Ali fights, the second Johansson fight I believe, and highlights of his fight with Moore, but I'm planning on ordering some fights soon and I'd like to see more of him. I loved watching his victory over an old Moore. Blinding speed and really underrated power. If you don't mind answering, what is your opinion of:

1. The fight where Floyd looked to be at top form in terms of handspeed and overall quickness.
2. His greatest display of power (I'm assuming it was against Johansson- what a brutal left hook and the aftermath is still frightening to watch)
3. Fight where he had to dig the deepest and tough it out.

I hope, and this is a longshot, that they run a reprint of his autobiography. I'm heard it really is an inspiration to read and delves into his battles with depression throughout his life. I haven't seen much of his fights but from what I've read of Patterson, he was a unique individual and a credit to the sporting world. I wish there were many more like him in the fight game, but then I guess that would take away some of what made him special.

My answers:

Patterson had 64 pro fights W55 L8 D1 with 40 KO's.

His average weight for the 64 fights was approx 177.8 lbs. I did the math this afternoon.
He started out as a pro weighing less than 165lbs. His first 18 or so fights he weighed less than 170 and he was lightning fast in the amateurs and in his early days as a pro. His lightest was 163.5 lbs V Chester Mieszala.

In about his 18-23rd fight as a pro he weighed less than 180lbs and maybe the handspeed dropped with added weight but not much. His heaviest ever was 200 1/4lbs against Willie Johnson in 1967.
He dropped down to 188 against Ellis in his 48th pro fight and there was one moment I have on film where he was dazzling and looked like he dropped Jimmy against the ropes.

In his 24-25th fight he still weighed under 185 and then in his 26th fight he weighed 178. He weighed 184 1/4 against Moore. In those days and leading up to that he was like lightining.

His combinations against Tommy Hurricane Jackson, Brian London, Jimmy Slade, Cut and Shoot Roy Harris et al were brutal.

He was outweighed by Liston in the first fight by almost 24 lbs and he only weighed 189. In Ali II he was outweighed by 29.5 lbs.

In the popular montage on film taking out guys like London, Jackson twice,
Roy Harris, Rademacher he looked liked the Flash.

Most Power displayed Johansson II, One shot KO to the right rib cage against Charlie "Devil" Green, Right hand blasts on Henry Cooper, double right hands on Ingo III,

He showed the heart of a Lion against Chuvalo in the 10th round, and through the whole damn fight and against Jerry Quarry in both fights. In the first Quarry fight he gets up off the deck twice and later knocks Quarry down with a big left hook, I watched it the other night, he showed iron balls all the way.

He stood up to Bonavena, Quarry, Chuvalo, and in Ali II outweighed by 30lbs, he fought him tooth and nail, with some good shots landed.

He was a great fighter to me, a dazzling, clean living, proud pro prize fighter who was class A solid gold, and his name on a marquee always meant a class fight with a man who always came in shape into that ring.

It was an honor to have known him.

Ron

Ron Lipton
05-15-2006, 04:15 PM
Thanks Kid,

" have a question. What Patterson fights would you recommend to me as his finest moments? I've seen the Ali fights, the second Johansson fight I believe, and highlights of his fight with Moore, but I'm planning on ordering some fights soon and I'd like to see more of him. I loved watching his victory over an old Moore. Blinding speed and really underrated power. If you don't mind answering, what is your opinion of:

1. The fight where Floyd looked to be at top form in terms of handspeed and overall quickness.
2. His greatest display of power (I'm assuming it was against Johansson- what a brutal left hook and the aftermath is still frightening to watch)
3. Fight where he had to dig the deepest and tough it out.

I hope, and this is a longshot, that they run a reprint of his autobiography. I'm heard it really is an inspiration to read and delves into his battles with depression throughout his life. I haven't seen much of his fights but from what I've read of Patterson, he was a unique individual and a credit to the sporting world. I wish there were many more like him in the fight game, but then I guess that would take away some of what made him special.

My answers:

Patterson had 64 pro fights W55 L8 D1 with 40 KO's.

His average weight for the 64 fights was approx 177.8 lbs. I did the math this afternoon.
He started out as a pro weighing less than 165lbs. His first 18 or so fights he weighed less than 170 and he was lightning fast in the amateurs and in his early days as a pro. His lightest was 163.5 lbs V Chester Mieszala.

In about his 18-23rd fight as a pro he weighed less than 180lbs and maybe the handspeed dropped with added weight but not much. His heaviest ever was 200 1/4lbs against Willie Johnson in 1967.
He dropped down to 188 against Ellis in his 48th pro fight and there was one moment I have on film where he was dazzling and looked like he dropped Jimmy against the ropes.

In his 24-25th fight he still weighed under 185 and then in his 26th fight he weighed 178. He weighed 184 1/4 against Moore. In those days and leading up to that he was like lightining.

His combinations against Tommy Hurricane Jackson, Brian London, Jimmy Slade, Cut and Shoot Roy Harris et al were brutal.

He was outweighed by Liston in the first fight by almost 24 lbs and he only weighed 189. In Ali II he was outweighed by 29.5 lbs.

In the popular montage on film taking out guys like London, Jackson twice,
Roy Harris, Rademacher he looked liked the Flash.

Most Power displayed Johansson II, One shot KO to the right rib cage against Charlie "Devil" Green, Right hand blasts on Henry Cooper, double right hands on Ingo III,

He showed the heart of a Lion against Chuvalo in the 10th round, and through the whole damn fight and against Jerry Quarry in both fights. In the first Quarry fight he gets up off the deck twice and later knocks Quarry down with a big left hook, I watched it the other night, he showed iron balls all the way.

He stood up to Bonavena, Quarry, Chuvalo, and in Ali II outweighed by 30lbs, he fought him tooth and nail, with some good shots landed.

He was a great fighter to me, a dazzling, clean living, proud pro prize fighter who was class A solid gold, and his name on a marquee always meant a class fight with a man who always came in shape into that ring.

It was an honor to have known him.

Ron

Ron Lipton
05-16-2006, 10:17 PM
I did the television show today on Cablevision with Tracy Patterson and Brian Burke his cornerman.

It was a tribute by us three to Floyd.

It went very well and had some beautiful moments.

best,

Ron

As a reminder to us all to have faith during the worst times of all, Tracy told me that with a Priest at Floyd's side and with his beloved wife Janet by him,
Floyd who had lost a tremendous amount of weight and had gone down from 200lbs to what appeared to be about 110lbs from the cancer, literally said as his last words, "I have to go now, Jesus is waiting right over there for me, don't you see him standing in the corner, he is right over there, I have to go," and he passed away.

love to Floyd and believe me he is a person who appreciated the love people had for him.

I was very saddened and choked by the acount, but yet it renewed my faith, and he could not have left us here on earth with more beautiful hope and words than those.

I share it here for all so that it gives them a renewed faith and hope. That is what he truly said.

Ron

GorDoom
05-18-2006, 02:12 PM
Floyd Patterson - King of the Polo Grounds

King of the Polo Grounds: When Floyd hooked Ingo to win back the crown

By Mike Casey from Boxing Scene

Somewhere within the dreadful fog that comes with Alzheimer’s, I hope that Floyd Patterson considered that he had finally beaten his toughest opponent. Not Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali or Ingemar Johansson. Floyd’s greatest tormentor was a shy, gifted and sometimes brilliant man who never stopped feeling incomplete and frustrated by his genetic flaws. That man, of course, was Floyd Patterson.

In 1962, Patterson wrote a book called ‘Victory Over Myself’, which has since become something of a collector’s piece. It said everything about Floyd, who wrestled for most of his life with the notion that he didn’t quite belong in that special part of the stratosphere where he had aimed his ambitious rocket.

His 64-fight record, which embraces the famous ‘firsts’ of being the youngest man to win the heavyweight championship and the first to regain it, is nevertheless a tale of what might have been. He was crushed by Johansson. He was devastated by Liston. He was humiliated by Ali. Take those fights out of his record, people say, and we would now be putting Floyd up there with the greatest.

Well, we cannot re-write history or pretend it never happened, and we all know it. Nor can we put a positive spin on emphatic calamities. Why, in any case, would we want to twist and distort the brave and honourable career of Floyd Patterson? Floyd was Floyd as much for his weaknesses as his strengths.

When the storms of his career lashed him and drove him to his knees, Patterson didn’t bore us with excuses that didn’t wash. He didn’t denigrate his conquerors. He didn’t rage about the injustices of a cruel sport. Most importantly of all, he didn’t quit. Let me now tell you an uplifting story about blazing courage and fortitude in the face of adversity.

Dedicated

Floyd Patterson, intensely proud and fiercely dedicated to his sport, was a puzzling figure from the beginning to the end of his boxing journey. He once said that pride and dignity were the greatest qualities a man could have. If you charted Floyd’s twenty-year professional career, you saw a fellow who was constantly plagued by the obsession of proving himself as a fighter and a man.

Patterson lost just eight fights in his career but regarded each as an affront to his very manhood. The feeling that he had failed himself often led to eccentric behaviour as he sought a private place to heal himself. After Sonny Liston blitzed him in a single round at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1962, it was said that Floyd donned a disguise, jumped into his big Lincoln and drove through the night back home to New York.

The Lincoln had apparently been parked outside the Comiskey ballpark since 9pm, stocked with food and drinks in case its owner had to make a quick escape.

One of the most poignant sequences of photographs in boxing’s archives is that of Floyd in his dressing room after the Liston defeat. Tired and confused and facing down the urgent questions of hustling reporters, Patterson struggled to clear his head and come to terms with what had happened to him. “I’m not hurt physically,” he confessed, “but inside I hurt.”

A year later, he had to re-live the nightmare as Liston again destroyed him inside a round.

But there had been another disastrous night, much more protracted and painful in its brutality. On June 26 1959, at Yankee Stadium, Floyd made the fifth defence of his world championship against the lightly regarded Swedish challenger, Ingemar Johansson. Few believed that Patterson would lose to the handsome European playboy, who had a big right hand and a big taste for the kind of pleasures that aren’t found in the average boxing gym.

Yet there was always that underlying feeling of uncertainty about Johansson, that faintest whiff of imminent danger that the more astute members of the American fight fraternity picked up on immediately. Ingo’s method of training utterly bewildered those who look but fail to see. Purposely, the mysterious challenger had used his right hand sparingly and not to its full potential. That right hand was known as the Hammer of Thor and Johansson made a point of keeping it in mothballs as the gullible came to mock him. He was seen as a good time Charley who was riding a lucky streak and would be hugely found out by a fighter of Patterson’s calibre.

Ingo was unbeaten but who had he beaten? Respected but limited second tier operators like Joe Erskine, Joe Bygraves, Heinz Neuhaus and Franco Cavicchi. Journeymen like Archie McBride.

The one spanner in the works, the blistering statement of intent that had lifted Johansson into dark horse territory, was a one round annihilation of top ranking Eddie Machen, who had been shockingly and violently smashed down by Thor’s hammer. Tell it to the guys who know in Vegas. They made Ingo a 5 to 1 underdog and looked forward to the day when Patterson, wrapped in cotton wool by manager Cus D’Amato for so long, would finally fight a live one in that big brute, Sonny Liston.

Terrible

It was terrible to watch then and it is still terrible to watch now. Perhaps the third round of the Yankee Stadium slaughter came as such a shock because the preceding two rounds had been so gentle and uneventful. Then it happened. An almighty blast from Johansson’s almost mystical right fist. Patterson crashed onto his back and never recovered. Six more knockdowns followed as Floyd staggered drunkenly through the punishing nightmare.

At one point he turned away in his confusion, brushing his face with a glove, strolling casually in no man’s land as if convinced that he had found the exit and had entered a pleasant little park far from the madding crowd. Fighting instinct and inner courage kept making him clamber to his feet. Finally, referee Ruby Goldstein woke up to the dreadful reality and stopped the biggest heavyweight massacre since Dempsey’s battering of Willard forty years before.

On the surface, Johansson’s victory was awesome. It was a victory that fooled the world. Nat Fleischer, the late and legendary dean of boxing experts, hailed Ingo’s triumph as ‘a new era in boxing’. Said Nat of Ingo, “He should have no trouble taking the measure of Floyd again and of any of the heavyweights now rated among the world’s top ten.”

In retrospect, it is easy to be smug and point to subsequent events. But in the summer of 1959, it seemed as if Johansson was another force of nature in the footsteps of Dempsey, Louis and Marciano.

Ingo had wiped out Patterson with contemptuous ease. Few gave Floyd a chance of winning back his coveted crown when the return match was announced. Regaining the world heavyweight championship was a feat that had never been accomplished. Jeffries, Dempsey, Louis and others had all failed. Patterson, in his fragile state, seemed the unlikeliest pioneer.

Floyd had never been a great champion. Over protected by Cus D’Amato, Patterson was accused of dodging the top contenders like Liston, Machen and Zora Folley. Those men the champion had faced - Tommy ‘Hurricane’ Jackson, Pete Rademacher, Roy Harris and Brian London – had not been despatched with the authority and conviction expected of a thoroughbred champion.

What Floyd Patterson did possess was burning pride and the key assets of dedication and determination. Floyd had not lost his fighting spirit. To his eternal credit, he never did. Over the next year, he became a man with a mission as he committed himself to the seemingly impossible task of regaining the title. Gripped by self-doubt and insecurity, he knew that beating Johansson was the only way of exorcising the demons and redeeming himself.

Patterson went into seclusion for a long period after the first fight, and it was some time before he could bring himself to watch the film of the Yankee Stadium nightmare. He continued to live the life of a monk as he embarked on his training programme for the return contest. Throughout his time in camp, he pounded sparring partners and punching bags with uncharacteristic viciousness. Divorcing himself from the outside world was a tortuous but necessary part of his schedule, because honing the correct mental approach was every bit as important as drilling himself into perfect physical condition.

The often insensitive questions of an inquisitive press and public would have been distracting and damaging to his state of mind. Patterson was a deeply sensitive man, the kind of rare soul who rarely uttered a derogatory word about others. It puzzled him when confronted by those who did not share his simple and honest view of life. Alone, he could shut out the distractions and concentrate on cultivating an art that didn’t come easily to him: the art of being ruthless.

Revenge

Floyd’s master plan for revenge entailed a lot of hard work and a lot of lonely days and nights. But when the time came, he was ready to meet the greatest challenge of his life. The Floyd Patterson who fought Johansson at the Polo Grounds in the summer of 1960 was arguably the coldest and most single-minded version of Patterson we ever saw. There was a bloody job to be done, and boxing’s Dr Jekyll handed the assignment to his to his brutal alter-ego, Mr Hyde.

Floyd had the advantage over Ingo before either man even stepped into the ring. While Patterson was dedicated to becoming champion again, Johansson was dedicated to enjoying the spoils of being the reigning king. Ingo had been enjoying the attention lavished on him by a fascinated American public and had guest starred in a number of TV shows and movies.

The Swedish champion was a promoter’s dream. Handsome, colourful and loaded with charisma, Ingo looked the perfect athlete. His power of punch, that mighty and frightening right hand, was being compared to the great champions of the past. Ingo had come a long way since his failure at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, where he had been disqualified against the American, Ed Sanders. While the depressed Patterson had spent a year struggling to recapture his confidence, Johansson appeared relaxed, buoyant and self-assured.

The majority of boxing experts were convinced that a second Ingo victory was the safest bet in town and the gateway to lucrative matches against Liston and the other top contenders. Johansson himself seemed equally convinced. He had complete faith in himself and his ability, which undoubtedly contributed to his subsequent downfall. What Patterson lacked, Ingo possessed in too great an abundance. The champion even spoke of his Hammer of Thor as if the punch had a mind of its own and would always carry him through.

The first gentle vibes began to be felt. Perhaps, just perhaps, Johansson wasn’t such a sure thing after all. The more perceptive critics wondered if Ingo’s jet-set lifestyle was affecting his training. Even by his own relaxed standards, the champion’s lack of urgency and application was setting more than a few typewriters in clattering motion.

Nevertheless, Johansson came into the Polo Grounds ring as the firm favourite and in excellent shape, one and a quarter pounds lighter than he had been in the first fight at 194 3/4lb. It was Patterson’s weight that was the major surprise. At 190lbs, Floyd was eight pounds heavier than he had been at Yankee Stadium. He looked superbly fit on it and the extra poundage would serve him well.

Executioner

To the naked eye, Johansson was still the same cold, merciless executioner who had manhandled Patterson like a rag doll at the Yankee Stadium massacre. Ingo ceased to be that man as soon as the bell signalled the beginning of the second chapter.

The flame that had been burning inside Floyd for so long suddenly burst into a fire as the once hapless victim took charge and forced Ingo on the retreat. Johansson looked distinctly ill at ease as Patterson kept him off balance with stinging jabs and forceful left hooks. This wasn’t the way it was meant to be, and Ingo’s uncertain reactions to his opponent’s aggressive tactics clearly mirrored the champion’s confusion.

Ingo tried turning to one side in an effort to dodge the punches, but he was still being struck and he couldn’t steady himself to fire his own artillery. At times he bore the mildly astonished look of a man whose punching bag had suddenly started hitting him back.

Johansson’s supporters must have been disturbed by the early pattern of the fight. Their fears were briefly allayed in the second round, when their hesitant hero finally brought his right fist out of mothballs, crashing a heavy blow to the side of Floyd’s head.

The effects of that punch had a significant bearing on the rest of the fight. Patterson was stunned, but he didn’t go down and his positive reaction to a potential disaster added fuel to his new found fighting spirit. He backed off until his head had cleared and then coolly reverted to his battle plan.

Floyd’s principal aim was to retain the offensive role, so as to prevent Johansson from getting into his stride. His success in resisting Ingo’s first big punch of the night inspired Floyd to step up the pace in the next couple of rounds and increase his punching rate. Patterson’s snapping jabs jerked the champion’s head back with monotonous regularity, while Floyd’s famous leaping left hooks were portentous of things to come. Some of them missed, but those that reached the target were solid and hurtful.

Johansson’s left eye was puffed and cut on one side and his wounds were repeatedly aggravated by each sharp punch that cut through his guard. Ingo wasn’t so much hurt as thoroughly bewildered, and he floundered awkwardly as he attempted to stem the flow and retaliate. But most of his punches were ineffectual jabs aimed at simply keeping Patterson away.

In the fourth round, Floyd turned up the pressure and pounded Johansson in close. Towards the end of the round, a right cross from Ingo snapped Floyd’s head back, but the old power was missing from Thor’s Hammer and the punch failed to check Patterson’s advance.

Floyd had passed through the barrier of vulnerability and reached that magical stage in a fight where an opponent’s punches no longer hurt. Coming out for the fifth round, Patterson was a tiger moving in for the kill, satisfied that his prey was ripe for the taking. Johansson, with his poor defence, had been courting disaster for too long and was now looking more susceptible than ever to a knockout punch. Battered and befuddled, he was leaving his legs wide apart and his chin woefully exposed.

Patterson set the time bomb ticking with a cracking right to the jaw that shook Ingo. Over eager, Floyd missed completely with his next punch, but then a flying left hook caught Johansson flush on the jaw and sent him down. With the dumbfounded look of a child who has just been told there is no Father Christmas, the champion found himself staring at referee Arthur Mercante and listening to the count.

Blood trickled from Ingo’s mouth and left eye as he made it to his feet at nine, but he needed more time and a place to hide.

Bombardment

The bombardment continued and Johansson was still desperately trying to escape when Patterson unleashed one of the most celebrated left hooks ever seen in a championship fight. The punch seemed to come from a mile back, but its arc was perfect and its timing immaculate as it crashed into Ingo’s face with Floyd’s full weight behind it.
The blow was a strange and magnificent marriage of pure art and brute force, oddly complimented by Johansson’s fall. Ingo appeared to collapse almost in slow motion, one section of his body at a time. He came to rest flat on his back, blood running out of his mouth, one foot convulsively twitching, like an old gunslinger who had finally been beaten to the draw.

Referee Mercante’s count was a formality as the champion lay motionless, utterly oblivious to the commotion going on around him. Mercante removed Johansson’s mouthpiece and Patterson rushed over to assist the fallen king.

There had been a roar when that mighty left hook had cut Ingo down, but now the cheers were stifled as Johansson’s seconds and various ringside officials tried vainly to bring him round. Johansson needed a full eight minutes to sleep off the effects of the knockout punch, and he was still struggling to regain his senses when he was finally escorted to his stool.

Floyd Patterson, boxing’s quiet man, had won the most important battle of his life. For the first time since that black night at Yankee Stadium, he could look at himself in his shaving mirror without wanting to run away from what he saw.
That meant everything to Floyd, because if there was one man he wanted to beat more than Ingemar Johansson, it was Floyd Patterson.

Epilogue

What kind of man was Floyd? Several years later, after Sonny Liston’s aura of invincibility had been smashed by Muhammad Ali, Patterson visited the despondent Liston in his dressing room to offer him some words of consolation. It was a tough task. Liston just sat there, staring at the floor, brooding and silent. Patterson wished him luck anyway and was nearly out of the door when Liston’s distant voice mumbled two words: “Thanks, Floyd.”

* Mike Casey is a boxing journalist and historian and a staff writer with Boxing Scene. He is a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) and founder and editor of the Grand Slam Premium Boxing Service for historians and fans (www.grandslampage.net).

GorDoom
05-18-2006, 02:21 PM
A TRIBUTE TO FLOYD PATTERSON

By Lee Groves from Max Boxing

It was Saturday June 12, 1999 and the scene was Casolwood Golf Course in Canastota, New York. The Golf Tournament of Champions is a staple on the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Induction Weekend schedule and I had just completed an 18-hole odyssey that lasted six long hours. Because of my fair-skinned complexion I suffered a mild sunburn but I ended the round on a high note by shooting a difficult chip to within an inch of the hole. Later that day, I was given a box containing 12 golf balls, which was a good thing since I lost four during the round.

However, the biggest highlight of the day came right after the round ended. As I walked toward the exit, I glanced to my left and was surprised at what I saw. Sitting on a chair underneath a tent was Floyd Patterson, who was signing autographs for a moderately long line of admirers. Though Patterson was inducted in 1991 he was no longer a regular attendee at the weekend because of reports of ill health. Thus, his appearance was an unexpected treat for me.

I didn’t know how long he had been there, and I wasn’t sure how much longer he would stay so I rushed to the end of the line and hoped I would get his signature inside my copy of Harry Mullan’s "The Great Book of Boxing." By this time the book contained more than 100 signatures but Patterson’s would have been one of the most meaningful to me.

One of my first articles as a full-time MaxBoxing scribe was a list of my 10 "favorite guys." Upon reflection, I probably should have expanded it to a top 12 so that I could have included Patterson. When I became a fan at age nine, one of the first things I did was commit to memory the roster of heavyweight champions. While doing so, I learned that Patterson was the first former champion to regain the title. Being the type that latched on to people who achieved unique feats, I wanted to learn as much as I could about Patterson the person as well as the fighter.

Patterson the boxer was quite accomplished: As an amateur, he won the 1951 New York Golden Gloves in the 160 pound open division and added the 175-pound title the following year. On Aug. 2, 1952, the 17-year-old Patterson capped his 40-4 (37 KOs) simon pure career by knocking out Vasile Tita in just 74 seconds to capture the 165-pound gold medal at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.

Just five weeks after winning gold, Patterson embarked on what would become a 20-year professional career. The Waco, N.C. native turned New Yorker had incredibly swift hands that carried concussive power, with the hook particularly devastating. On defense, Patterson boxed behind a high guard commonly characterized as the "peek-a-boo" which allowed him to skillfully pick off blows with his gloves and elbows. He won his first 12 fights (eight by knockout) before losing a close eight-round decision to 104-fight veteran and former light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim on June 7, 1954.

Patterson returned to the ring four weeks later, knocking out Jacques Royer-Crecy in seven rounds. The victory would launch what would become a run at the heavyweight title, though Patterson remained close to the 175-pound limit most of the time. Patterson’s better wins during this stretch included the 30-2 Willie Troy (KO 5), the 15-1 Don Grant (KO 5), and grizzled veterans Yvon Durelle (retired in five), Alvin Williams (KO 8, KO 3), Dave Whitlock (KO 3) and Jimmy Slade (KO 7). Patterson then earned a chance to fill the heavyweight title vacancy created by Rocky Marciano’s retirement after beating Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson by 12 round split decision.

Five months later, the 21-year-old Patterson became the youngest man to win the undisputed heavyweight title by knocking out "The Old Mongoose" Archie Moore in five rounds with a hook to the jaw. Because manager Cus D’Amato wanted to keep the International Boxing Club away from the title, he matched Patterson only against fighters not affiliated with the organization. Patterson defended the belt four times, polishing off Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson (KO 10), 1956 gold medalist and pro debutante Pete Rademacher (KO 6), Roy Harris (KO 13) and Brian London (KO 11).

European heavyweight champion Ingemar Johansson was next in line, but Ingo had a surprise waiting for Patterson when they met at Yankee Stadium in New York June 26, 1959. After two rounds of throwing nothing but light jabs, Johansson sent Patterson flying to the canvas courtesy of his "Toonder and Lightning" right cross. In all, Patterson would hit the canvas seven times before referee Ruby Goldstein stopped the slaughter 2:03 into round three. For the first time since Primo Carnera knocked out Jack Sharkey in 1933, the heavyweight championship belt left America’s shores.

Patterson, embarrassed by the loss, left the arena wearing dark glasses and a fake beard, then sank into a deep depression that lasted for months. Six days short of one year later, Patterson made history by knocking Johansson unconscious with a pulverizing hook to the jaw in the fifth round. With his back to the prone Johansson, Patterson reveled in his victory, a beaming smile spread wide across his face. But when he turned around and saw Johansson’s foot twitching, he acted with genuine alarm as he crouched down to get a closer look at his fallen opponent. Patterson’s concern was eased when Johansson was revived a few minutes later.

With the score between them knotted at one fight apiece, the rubber match took place March 13, 1961 at Miami Beach with Patterson rising from two first round knockdowns to deck Ingo at the end of the session and putting him away for good in the sixth. Nine months later, Patterson retained the belt by flooring Tom McNeeley 11 times before stopping him in four rounds.

Meanwhile, top contender Charles "Sonny" Liston was relegated to the sidelines by D’Amato, both because of his mob ties and his mortal threat to Patterson’s reign. Stung by the criticism from both media and fans, Patterson went against D’Amato’s wishes and granted Liston the title shot on September 25, 1962 in Chicago’s Comiskey Park. The fight was over just 2:05 after the opening bell with Patterson down three times and shorn of his championship. Ten months later at the Convention Center in Las Vegas, Patterson was given a rematch but the result was the same. The only difference was that it took Liston four seconds longer to stop the former champion.

Patterson would receive two more chances to win the title a third time. On November 22, 1965 in Las Vegas, Patterson suffered the physical pain of a bad back and the mental torture of Muhammad Ali’s taunts before the fight was stopped in the 12th round. On September 14, 1968 in Stockholm, the 33-year-old Patterson turned back the clock and appeared to dominate WBA champion Jimmy Ellis, but referee Harold Valen, the sole judge, scored the bout nine rounds to six for Ellis.

Patterson would fight 10 more times over the next four years with his final fight being against Muhammad Ali on September 20, 1972 at Madison Square Garden. The 37-year-old Patterson fought valiantly and enjoyed many good moments against Ali. But Patterson’s aging skin broke apart under Ali’s razor-sharp blows, and he complicated matters by blowing his nose between rounds. The resulting swelling prompted referee Arthur Mercante Sr. to stop the fight in the seventh. Patterson (55-8-1, 40 KOs) never announced his retirement, saying he could not bear to officially say goodbye to the sport he loved so much.

In retirement Patterson remained close to boxing. He trained a variety of fighters, most notably adopted son Tracy Harris Patterson, who won WBC and IBF belts at 122 pounds. He also served two tenures as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, but stepped down in 1998 following a report that a video deposition he provided for a lawsuit revealed he couldn’t recall important events during his boxing career.

Through it all, Patterson remained an immensely popular fighter because of his humility, kindness and willingness to drop pretense and show his vulnerable side. A shy and troubled youth, Patterson ran away from his Brooklyn home and spent many days sitting in the dark by himself. He was also in trouble with the law, and he was eventually sent to the Wiltwyck School for Boys, where he learned to have confidence in himself as well as picking up the rudiments of boxing.

Patterson detailed his struggles in a book called "Victory Over Myself," which I checked out of my local library numerous times over the years. When the library made its copy available during a book sale, I immediately snatched it up and to this day it remains on one of my bookshelves.

In the early 1990s, I interviewed Patterson by phone for a Ring Magazine feature on Pete Rademacher. It was a thrill for me to speak to the man with whom I held so much reverence but when I saw Patterson sitting just a few feet away from me, I couldn’t get into that autograph line fast enough.

It was a hot day and Patterson was obviously uncomfortable. Though he continuously wiped his brow, he made sure that every fan not only got an autograph or a photo but a brief conversation as well. When my turn came about 10 minutes after I got into line, I knew it would probably be the one and only time I would get to address him.

As he signed his name across a picture of himself nailing "Hurricane" Jackson with a right to the jaw in crisp, cursive script, I told Patterson how much I admired him as a fighter but even more as a person.

"I remember reading in your book ‘Victory Over Myself’ that you used to have conversations with Joe Louis while lying in bed at night because he was such a hero to you," I began. "After reading your book as a boy, I dreamed of the day that I would get to have a conversation with you because I admire you so much. At this very moment, that dream has come true."

It must have been a bit unsettling to have a complete stranger tell him something like that, but he accepted my words with his typical grace by saying "thank you." I didn’t want to hold up the line or take up any more of his time than I needed to, so with that I thanked him for the autograph and walked back toward the clubhouse, my mind floating with exhilaration.

From time to time I still pop in tapes of Patterson’s fights to admire his speed and skill. I’ve taken some heat on the message boards for being a Patterson fan, but I didn’t care. To me, Patterson is the definitive symbol of resilience. Inside the ring he was floored 21 times but as he often declared "they said I was the fighter who got knocked down the most, but I also got up the most."

That sentiment also applied to his life as he conquered his personal demons and became the possessor of sport’s richest prize not once, but twice. For someone who thought of himself as a loser throughout most of his childhood, Floyd Patterson ended up being a winner both in the ring as well as in the larger arena called life.

On Thursday, the 71-year-old Patterson’s journey through life ended because of Alzheimer’s disease and prostate cancer. A memorial service is scheduled May 27 in Albany, N.Y.

rocky111
05-18-2006, 02:27 PM
Thanks for sharing that to my brother Ron Lipton. It just knocked me out and reminds me of how mortal we all are and how important is courage above all in face of this short life. Floyd had it.......

GorDoom
05-18-2006, 04:25 PM
COMMENTS ABOUT FLOYD FROM USA TODAY READERS:

Comments

I was lucky enough to meet Mr Patterson in 1992 in London when he came over as an advisor to Razor Ruddock for Ruddocks fight with Lennox Lewis. I met Mr Patterson at the final press conference for that fight and despite being much in demand by the various press assembled that day, he took time out to talk to everyone wishing to catch his ear, including my Dad who had been waiting since 1966 when he last met him, for the opportunity to talk boxing with the great man. Mr Patterson always had impecable manners and conducted himself with class, I was in awe of the man that day and nothing has changed since. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew of him. God Bless.

Posted by: Ed Haines London, England | May 13, 2006 6:39:13 AM


A great man and a great inspiration with a quality of sportsmanship rarely displayed today.

He was one of my first boxing heros and should have gotten the decision over Jimmy Ellis for a 3rd Title reign in the late 60's.

He was a masterful combination puncher who influnced the styles of other greats such as Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

One of the sports worlds true class acts.

Posted by: Clay Marceaux | May 13, 2006 5:19:46 AM


my hero as a kid growing up near Belfast
still my hero what a guy what a fighter fastest hands I ever seen Gus agreed who knows better.Good luck Floyd surely you have already heard those most beatiful words come forth my good and loyal servant well done come into the kingdom my father has prepared for you .May God continue to bless your family as he blessed you .Sad but happy to.

Posted by: Patrick Campbell (Ireland) | May 12, 2006 10:13:06 PM


My husband, Joseph Walsh, was a boxing student of Mr. Patterson. He has many photos of Mr. Patterson, himself and the other young men whom learned about boxing, but more importantly about life from their mentor and hero Mr. Floyd Patterson. I know these lessons on life have indeed stuck with Joe over the 20+ years and will continue to be taught to our children as they grow. Peace be with You Mr. Patterson and Your family.

Posted by: Kathleen Carroll-Walsh | May 12, 2006 2:02:46 PM


The boxing world and the world in general has lost a first class individual in Floyd Patterson. I grew up in Iowa and followed Floyd's career and was a very big fan of his. The ability to fight in the ring and be an outstanding person outside the ring were qualities that Floyd brought to the fighting profession. I only wish that I would have had the opportunity to meet Floyd and shake his hand and tell him what a role model he was. My condolences to the Patterson family. We have lost a great one.

Posted by: Jim Reed | May 12, 2006 12:41:32 PM


I did not know Floyd personally but
we grew up at the same time and I followed his career since I saw him
fighting at Eastern Pkwy Arena on tv
in the early 50s.I also watched in
person those first two fights with
Ingemar J.I remember talking to Barney
Ross in a west side bar/rest. and he
predicted Ing. with his right hand would knock Floyd out.We thought BARNEY
had taken one punch to many but he was
right the first time only.
My father died from Alzenheimer,so
this brings back memories.
Floyd was a good fighter and a better human being.
May God have mercy on his soul.
352>237-6233 BOB Cronin
Ocala,Fla.

Posted by: Bob Cronin | May 12, 2006 11:10:30 AM


my boss went to pattersons gym with his freind.and his freind told him to step in the ring so he did with pads on of course he told he got hit so hard by one punch it lifted him off his feet and on the mat thank god for pads he said? my boss is 260lbs sorry about your loss to the patterson family i wish i had a chance to meet great man great icon for everyone

Posted by: tim shaw highfalls ny | May 12, 2006 10:19:55 AM


I, too, had the privilege of meeting Floyd Patterson. It was in April, 1995, and he was appearing here in St. Louis for a sports memorabilia event at a hotel near Lambert Field. I knew that the opportunity to meet someone of his stature may not come along again. I made it my business to get there. We spoke for more than 20 minutes. Regardless of the blips on Floyd’s ring record, the one thing everyone agreed on was that he was a great person. As I made my way to meet him, I never even considered the possibility that he was anything else. He wasn’t. He was as down-to-earth and dignified as he always had appeared. Sportswriter Jimmy Cannon said of Joe Louis that he was a credit to his race. The human race. The same can—and should—be said for Floyd Patterson. Dignity and Class are words always associated with Patterson. After losing to Clay in their first fight, Floyd was quoted as saying that “the better man won.” The sportswriter who reported the fight in Sports Illustrated, ended the article by saying, “No. The better fighter won.” Howard Cosell, in his first book, insinuated that Patterson’s thoroughly unpretentious behavior outside the ring was “only a posture.” Nobody ever associated Cosell with Class. Quite the contrary. Patterson’s career was sandwiched around my youth and adolescence. I know everything first-hand from the Johansson fights forward. Previous to that trilogy, I know about it in retrospect. Chances are, Floyd could never have handled Marciano or Liston. But Patterson at his best may well have given Clay a night most of the world would have cheered. Too bad it didn’t happen.


Posted by: Hal Pritzker | May 12, 2006 8:36:42 AM


R. Abramson:

Neat story. Semper Fi!

Posted by: Terry Archibald, SSgt USMC (Ret.) | May 12, 2006 8:11:47 AM


GREATNESS,
GENTLEMEN,SPORTSMEN,CARED
FOR HIS FELLOW MAN. A TRUE CHAMPION.

GOD BLESS MR.FLOYD PATTERSON.

Posted by: PBUONOMO | May 12, 2006 7:42:43 AM


Although I never met Floyd Patterson personally, I know that he was an outstanding member of the New Paltz community and someone who genuinely cared about the future of our young people. G-d bless him and his family.

Posted by: Former New Paltz Resident | May 11, 2006 10:49:17 PM


Eric Knighton;

God bless him. Great Man. You should be proud to be related! Carry on his legacy!

Posted by: Terry Archiblad, SSgt USMC (Ret.) | May 11, 2006 9:40:41 PM


Floyd's lawyer, Julius November, lived down the street from me in Brooklyn. Floyd always took the time to respond to our hello and shake our hand. Even as a youngster, I recognized what a true gentleman and decent human being he was. I can still remember listening to the radio with my father the night he regained the title at the Polo Grounds - we yelled and huggged.

Posted by: Larry T | May 11, 2006 9:31:30 PM


My mom became friends with Floyd while she was working in a local bank.At eight years old, I had asked her to get me an autograph and instead she came home with an invitation for me to stop up to his house over the weekend to watch him train. At that time, Floyd was training for his fight with Oscar Bonavena and my dad and I stayed for the entire session. Floyd finished and went into his office with the press and his manager and shut the door. At eight years old, here I was next to the ring watching one of my sports heroes up close. As my dad and I began to leave the facility, the door swung back open and Floyd called me into the office to sit with him while being interviewed. I sat there taking it all in when suddenly, the interview turned to me. Phil Pepe of the Daily News asked me if it was true that I was a friend of Floyds. Ofcourse I said yes and that started a friendship that lasted for a number of years. I remember missing one weekend of visiting Floyd and upon arriving the following weekend, he informed me that Ali had been up the prior weekend. Floyd and Ali had become friends but for years the story was that they shared a dislike for each other. I had moved away from town and lost touch with Floyd but I did get a birthday card from him while I was in bootcamp in the Marine Corps in 1982.That was the last time I heard from him. Floyd was the anti-pampered, overpaid, prima donna athlete of his time. A true gentleman and role model. As the years passed, I had heard that Floyd was suffering the early effects of his sickness and as much as I wanted to go back to visit, was afraid that he would not remember me. I knew this day would finally come and all I can say is that he really made an impact on that eight year old boy back in 1972. The world will miss him as I will.

Posted by: R. Abramson | May 11, 2006 8:55:53 PM


Floyd Patterson was the first heavyweight champion I heard of as a child. A skillful technician in the ring, from all accounts a gracious and loving man outside it. Most importantly he earned everything he accomplished through hard work and a devout faith in God. If the world had the integrity, fortitude, and kindness this man had it would be better for all of us. He will be missed.

Posted by: David church | May 11, 2006 8:47:38 PM


A very very classy gentleman. He reached out and offered advice to my son who was an aspiring young boxer. I also had the pleasure of having dinner with Floyd and his wife in New Paltz, NY many years ago. You would never guess that he was a 2 time heavyweight champion of the world. He carried himself in the image of a "regular guy". His spirit and example will remain with us. Thanks Floyd.

Posted by: Jay McGrath | May 11, 2006 7:17:27 PM


While growing up, my family and the Patterson family were extraordinarily close. When my brother died they were by my parents' side, and when my other brother went through a difficult time, Floyd went above and beyond to help him through it. When my mom was dying of cancer in the hospital, I don't think a single week went by where he didn't visit and pray both for her and with her. He was like a second father to me, and some of the best advice I have ever received was from him. By far the most worldly and wise man I have ever known. He was gentle, caring and compassionate, and completely selfless, especially with his family and friends. I don't think a single person could think of a single bad thing to say about this man. Now that's a legacy.

Posted by: Truly saddened | May 11, 2006 6:54:40 PM


met him when i was very young.he was very nice and a true gentleman.i see floyd jr around and he is a fine young man himself.my condolences to the entire family.

Posted by: garrison | May 11, 2006 5:57:29 PM


floyd patterson is my second cousin, his father was my great uncle Henry patterson, floyd will be truly missed. eric . morgan,ga.

Posted by: Eric Knighton | May 11, 2006 5:31:24 PM


I had the pleasure of interviewing Floyd Patterson for a story in 1983. He was running in the NYC Marathon with his former foil, Ingemar Johannsen.

The pair had become great friends (their wives too). He was generous with his time and forthcoming. Moreover, he took the time to write me a wonderful thank you letter that I will always cherish.
Doug Branch
Delmar, NY

Posted by: Doug Branch | May 11, 2006 4:53:34 PM


Me too Confused. Alzheimers is horrendous. Just took my Grandmother from me. Hopefully a cure can be found soon. I, for one, am not against stem cell research. It may assist in finding a cure for these type of diseases...

Posted by: Terry Archibald, SSgt USMC (Ret.) | May 11, 2006 3:41:51 PM


New Mr. Patterson and his sons when growing up in Spfld, Ma. an excellent father, athelete, and person. Also a one of a kind class act. He will be missed.

Posted by: K. Warren Hunter | May 11, 2006 3:36:59 PM


Floyd was my childhood hero. A kind and gentle man who made a living beating people up. Had he had more of a "killer instinct" his career would have been even more remarkable but I guess he wouldn't have been as beloved as he was.
God Bless and R.I.P. Champ!!!

Posted by: Brad Melloy | May 11, 2006 3:28:46 PM


my condolences to the Patterson family. I wish we could spend more time fighting disease' like Alzheimers which not only rob us of our life but our dignity.

Posted by: Confused American | May 11, 2006 3:24:48 PM


Amen Independent Thinker. This was a true gentleman who carried himslef with pride and dignity. A true champion through and through, he believed in being a role model. God Bless him and his family. We lost a good one!

Posted by: Terry Archibald, SSgt USMC (Ret.) | May 11, 2006 3:15:40 PM


Mr. patterson was a class act. He was a great boxer and human being. My prayers goes out to his family and my God continue to bless him.

Posted by: Independent Thinker | May 11, 2006 2:44:39 PM

wildhawke11
05-18-2006, 08:42 PM
I did the television show today on Cablevision with Tracy Patterson and Brian Burke his cornerman.

It was a tribute by us three to Floyd.

It went very well and had some beautiful moments.

best,

Ron

As a reminder to us all to have faith during the worst times of all, Tracy told me that with a Priest at Floyd's side and with his beloved wife Janet by him,
Floyd who had lost a tremendous amount of weight and had gone down from 200lbs to what appeared to be about 110lbs from the cancer, literally said as his last words, "I have to go now, Jesus is waiting right over there for me, don't you see him standing in the corner, he is right over there, I have to go," and he passed away.

love to Floyd and believe me he is a person who appreciated the love people had for him.

I was very saddened and choked by the acount, but yet it renewed my faith, and he could not have left us here on earth with more beautiful hope and words than those.

I share it here for all so that it gives them a renewed faith and hope. That is what he truly said.

Ron

Ron
Thank you so very much for that i am sure you told Tracy how much we on here respected Floyd as a man let alone as a fighter, which after all said and done is far more important then being a great fighter. Winning fights and having money can buy you a lot including false friends but you have to earn real respect, and when it comes to respect Floyd had that in abundance.

GorDoom
05-25-2006, 01:44 PM
Floyd Patterson: A Cultural Icon

By Tom Donelson from Boxing Scene

Floyd Patterson was an enigma; a fighter who did not have the big punch or size needed to be a great heavyweight champion, but who found himself a participant in the growing debate on Civil rights in the early 60's. Armed with the quick hands of a middleweight and cursed with a glass chin, Patterson found himself vulnerable to the better heavyweights of his day, including Ali and Liston.

According to Gerald Early, Floyd Patterson ranked as "one of the most thoughtful fighters ever to enter the boxing ring." Such traits were rarely seen in a fighter, and some would even see it as a hindrance. Cuss D' Amato observed about his own fighter early in Patterson's career, "Patterson lacked the killer instinct. He's too tame, too nice to his opponents." The difference between Patterson, the philosopher, and Liston, the street man, was summarized in an interview conducted by Howard Cosell before their first fight.

Patterson appeared to be lecturing Liston about the responsibility of the heavyweight crown during the interview. When Cosell asked Liston about his view of Patterson, Liston prophetically responded, "I just want to run him over with a truck." He did that in short order, knocking out Patterson in the first round. Patterson came into the heavyweight division as the division was changing. Sonny Liston was a big puncher, who weighed over 215 rounds, and Ali combined size with athleticism. After Patterson, no heavyweight would ever weigh less than 200 pounds till Leon Spinks, who weighed 197 when he upset Ali. He did not even reach 190 pounds when he won the heavyweight title from Archie Moore. You could easily argue that Patterson was the last Heavyweight to weigh less than 190 pounds!

Early wrote that Patterson viewed Ali, or the man he called Cassius Clay, "as alter ego... Perhaps Ali was the fighter that he, Patterson, always aspired to be." Patterson stated in a Sports Illustrated article that if he moved and jabbed as opposed to moving straight into Liston's power range, he would have won. During Chuvalo-Patterson, Patterson imitated Ali as he moved and danced. This fight set up a bout between Patterson and Ali, which Ali easily won. Patterson's hand speed was the quicker of the two fighters, but he seemed dwarfed by the Canadian pugilist. This remained the core of Patterson's problem as a heavyweight. He was facing a new generation of bigger heavyweights and he didn't have the power punch to compensate for his smaller frame.

Patterson was also caught in the racial storms raging around him. Patterson was a black Roman Catholic, whereas most African-Americans stayed with their Baptist evangelical roots. Patterson believed in the melting pot, and for him, his heavyweight belt was his chance to talk about the value of sports, and be the role model for young people and young blacks, in particular.

After beating Archie Moore for the heavyweight championship, Patterson fought a series of non-descript fighters, mostly white. Sonny Liston revealed to one of his biographers that one of his reasons for disliking Patterson was that; "He hasn't fought any colored boys since becoming champion. Patterson draws the color line against his own race. We have a hard enough time as it is in a white man's world."

Worthy black fighters such as Cleveland Williams, and Zora Folley had to wait until Ali became champion before receiving their shot at the title. The only black that received a shot at the title was an erratic heavyweight named "Hurricane" Jackson. Other challengers included the Olympic champion Pete Rademacher in his first professional fight, and Tom McNeeley. The only worthy white opponent that Patterson fought was Ingemar Johannson. For this omission, some blacks resented Patterson.

There was another factor involved. Many of the black fighters were associated with mob-controlled organizations and Cuss D' Amato wanted to weaken those organizations by denying their fighters title shots. Among those fighters controlled by the mob was Sonny Liston. (In fairness to Patterson, he was certainly good enough to beat most of these fighters, the only exception being Liston.)

Patterson entered his first fight with Johannson full of confidence, but the bigger Johannson slaughtered Patterson with seven knockdowns in the third round. Johannson, a typical European fighter who fought straight up, had a powerful right hand that he called "Thor." "Thor" found Patterson routinely in the third round, thus becoming the last white heavyweight to hold the unified heavyweight title. Patterson felt that he let America down, telling Peter Heller in an interview, "Losing a championship is bad enough, but losing it to a foreigner was even worse." For Patterson, these sentiments reflected a need to be recognized as an American at a time when many blacks were denied basic civil rights.

Patterson redeemed himself, as he became the first heavyweight to regain his championship with a vicious left hook knocking the Swede unconscious. The hapless Johannson looked dead as he lay on the ground with just his feet moving and the rest of his body limp! This would be Patterson's finest moment as he demonstrated the needed killer instinct rarely shown before or since. For Patterson, beating Johannson was not racial but personal. He felt humiliated at being knocked down seven times in the first fight. Now he could avenge his loss and redeem himself. Patterson would win the rubber match and then defeat the hapless Tom McNeeley before meeting Liston.

Patterson was everybody's hero when he allowed Liston to fight for his title. Liston was a mob-controlled fighter, who acted the part of mob goon when he was not in the boxing ring. Patterson found himself in a battle of good vs. evil as he stepped into the ring against Liston. Patterson recalled the pressure, "The President of the United States, Ralph Bunche, all the celebrities, all the big leaders of the country, all the millions of letters I received, they made Liston the bad guy and I was the good guy."

Gerald Early wrote that Patterson was the defender of bourgeois black life in white America at a time when some blacks were challenging the bourgeois life style. Patterson began to feel the weight of a messianic duty; a burden that he could not mentally or physically handle. He admitted, "I don't ever want to endure that kind of pressure again. To me, fighting is fighting. It's a sport." President Kennedy pleaded with Patterson to "keep the championship."

Liston massacred Patterson, twice. He did not have the power or the size to fight Liston, and even if he boxed Liston, he would not have won. According to Gerald Early, these fights impacted Patterson's own standing within the black community, which had started to deteriorate.

While many Black Leaders considered him a hero in fighting the evil Liston, younger black activists attacked Patterson as a pathetic "Uncle Tom" when he condemned Ali in two pieces for Sports Illustrated in the mid 60's. Early observed that, "Patterson's opposition to Ali was akin to an "outraged middle-class black who finds that his lower-class cousin has gone balmy over some sort of storefront charlatanism." But Early conceded, "His basic instincts about the inadequacy of the Muslim response to American racism proved to be generally correct."

Patterson refused to acknowledge Ali's Muslim beliefs by continuing to call him by his Christian name, Cassius Clay, and approached his fight with Ali as a crusade. Ali, in turn, treated this fight as a jihad, and with his superior skill Ali tortured and taunted the smaller Patterson. Throughout the fight, Ali slapped accurate sharp jabs in Patterson's face. When it appeared that Patterson was ready to go, Ali would ease up, with the goal of keeping Patterson around for one more round- one more round to torment the black Catholic. This fight resembled less a boxing match and more a religious crusade- though this debate was one-sided.

Seven years later, Patterson would get one more chance at Ali, but by this time, Ali's own views had mellowed. No longer content to torture or humiliate his Christian nemesis, Ali finished Patterson off more quickly in seven rounds. Patterson was trapped between two black cultures, the slowly emerging middle class that predominates the African-American community today, and the more radical black separatists- who drifted toward Ali. Later, Joe Frazier would replace Patterson in the eyes of many in the radical black arena as the new "White Champion." Unlike Patterson, Frazier never sought to be leader of any crusade and was all "raging black." And, unlike Patterson, Frazier had the power to cause Ali damage.

Floyd Patterson was a transitional fighter in boxing history, a fighter who stood for a middle class black that was- and still is- invisible in America. His small stature and inability to defeat his two major nemeses diminished his standing in boxing history. (And these two defeats overshadowed what was pretty remarkable career both in the ring and outside.) He could not defeat the mob-controlled Liston or the brash Ali. This thinking heavyweight was limited by his natural handicaps to control his destiny and represent his cause in the ring.

Juan C Ayllon
05-29-2006, 10:59 AM
Ron Lipton wanted to share with all the members of the Cyberboxingzone these two items from the memorial service for Floyd Patterson. Ron was there with Floyd's family, Brian Kenny, Tracy Patterson and many other members of Floyd's family and friends.

Click on the link below to view the photos:

Images from Floyd Patterson Memorial (http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/news/archives/00002093.htm)

Regards,



Juan C. Ayllon

kikibalt
06-03-2006, 01:15 PM
http://i5.tinypic.com/11jrh8z.jpg

http://i6.tinypic.com/11jrvrc.jpg

http://i6.tinypic.com/11jrzuh.jpg

Ron Lipton
06-04-2006, 12:16 PM
That is absolutely beautiful stuff Frank,

thanks for posting it so we can all see those boxing memories.

Ron

kikibalt
06-04-2006, 12:39 PM
Thanks Ron, I'm happy to do it.

Frank

kikibalt
06-04-2006, 07:58 PM
http://i6.tinypic.com/11qtv1e.jpg

Floyd Patterson and Roy Harris

kikibalt
06-04-2006, 08:28 PM
http://i6.tinypic.com/11r3vi1.jpg

Floyd Patterson

http://i5.tinypic.com/11r3x38.jpg

Floyd Patterson vs Ingemar Johansson

kikibalt
06-06-2006, 03:22 PM
http://i6.tinypic.com/11v1fo5.jpg

Zevl
06-06-2006, 03:37 PM
http://i5.tinypic.com/11v2jja.jpg

Zevl
06-06-2006, 03:40 PM
http://i5.tinypic.com/11v2m8o.jpg

kikibalt
06-06-2006, 06:07 PM
http://i5.tinypic.com/11viru1.jpg

Zevl
06-07-2006, 10:31 AM
http://i5.tinypic.com/120mgs7.jpg

Ron Lipton
06-07-2006, 05:44 PM
Those posters are the greatest, all of them.

Thank you very much for posting such colorful boxing memories.

Where did you get them from?

Ron

Zevl
06-14-2006, 03:30 PM
http://i6.tinypic.com/14dcxvd.jpg

GorDoom
06-22-2006, 11:51 AM
Requiem for a beloved
heavyweight by Denis Hamill from Borough Daily News



Denis Hamill (front, l.) with his mother (2nd from l.) and father, Brian Hamill, Floyd Patterson and John Hamill.
The whole neighborhood turned out to see him.
This was June 21, 1960, the day after Patterson knocked out Ingemar Johansson in the Polo Grounds, the first boxer to ever regain the heavyweight crown. And here he was, pulling up in a white Lincoln Continental to 378 Seventh Ave, a three-story red brick apartment building with rusty fire escapes where we lived in a railroad flat on the top floor, right.

The Irish saloons that dotted every corner emptied onto the sidewalks that day. Minority workers flocked from the rat-infested Ansonia Factory on the corner of 12th St. People hurried from blocks around. Bus drivers abandoned Seventh Ave. buses to ask Patterson to autograph bus transfers. Others waved autograph books, envelopes, and endless copies of the morning Daily News that carried his triumphant photograph on the back page.

A year earlier, on June 26, 1959, Patterson had been knocked out by Johansson, a big handsome Swede, up in Yankee Stadium. My brother Brian, five years older than me, was a huge Patterson fan. He sat ringside with my brother Pete, who was not yet a newspaperman. That night, Johansson knocked Patterson out in a savage beating that left Brian sobbing.

Brian was a wild street kid at the time, forever in brawls, running wild with a Brooklyn youth gang called Skid Row who regularly battled rival gangs like The Jokers and The South Brooklyn Boys. Pete didn't know Patterson but wrote him a letter telling him how devastated Brian had been at his loss and how his biggest fans were still in his corner. He also told Patterson that Brian was running with a bad crowd and headed for trouble, the way Patterson had been growing up in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

In those days, Nat Fleischer's Ring magazine listed just eight world champions every month. The heavyweight champ was the king of kings, the most glorified royalty of all sports. This was long before boxing was diluted and wrecked by an alphabet soup of corrupt sanctioning bodies and weight subdivisions that created as many world champions as there are members of Congress. Ugh.

A few weeks after Pete sent his letter my mother answered our very first phone - HY9-0636 - in our apartment. The man on the other end said he was Floyd Patterson. She didn't believe him. Patterson convinced her he was for real and asked if Brian could come stay a weekend at his training camp where he was preparing for his rematch with Johansson.

A week later Brian was in Patterson's training camp in Newtown, Conn., helping around the gym, eating and doing road work with his idol. He went for a second visit. Brian would later redirect his street aggression into the ring at the Gramercy Gym on 14th St. in Manhattan, where Patterson had learned to be a champion under the tutelage of the great boxing trainer Cus D'Amato.

Brian never became a pro. But the attentions of Floyd Patterson, this very decent and humble man who twice became a champion, helped rescue him from the vortex of the street, and steer him on a path toward college and a successful life.

My mother started doing novenas and making us all join an evening rosary as a way of thanking Floyd.

Then Patterson invited my brother John and me to join Brian for a long weekend. I was 8 and I will never forget doing "roadwork" with Floyd Patterson on an open country road, where he taught us to breathe in through our noses and to exhale through our mouths, how to step into a jab, and how to throw the whole body into a left hook.

Later, we watched Patterson blur the speed bags, punish the heavy bag, and spar in the ring. On Sunday, this devout Catholic convert took us to Mass and he stood in the back of the church warning away a derelict who was eyeing the collection box.

When he learned of my mother's novenas and rosaries, he promised that if he was victorious he would come visit us the next day.

On June 20, 1960, my mother's prayers were answered when Floyd Patterson knocked out Ingemar Johansson to regain his belt. On June 21, he pulled up in his white Lincoln on Brooklyn's Seventh Ave. to visit our family. It turned into a block party. The autograph line formed on the street and wound up three flights of stairs to our apartment, where my old man beamed proudly and my mother placed a victory cake from the local bakery on the table. He even took the time to pose for endless pictures on the rooftop, a Brooklyn kid made good framed against the Manhattan skyline.

That's how they used to make champions.

That's how I'll always remember Floyd Patterson, who died last month at 71.

stickit
08-01-2006, 08:38 AM
:D
SI Flashback: His own man
In the 30 years since he held the heavyweight title, the former champ has found serenity
By Michael Leahy
Reprinted from the June 1, 1992 edition of SI.

HEAD BOWED, HE SITS IN A CASINO coffee shop in Las Vegas, oblivious of a keno game going on across the way, struggling to get through his lunch, when the fifth autograph seeker in the past two minutes approaches, a florid-faced, white-haired man with an accent that announces he is Boston Irish. ''So how're they hanging, Floyd?'' the man asks. ''Any luck at the tables? What've you been doing with yourself?''

One waits for Floyd Patterson to bolt. The old Patterson, a moody, suspicious and withdrawn man, saw slights nearly everywhere. But this Patterson, seemingly dazed, is a slouching 57-year-old who, to his garrulous questioner, may or may not be -- you can see the wheels of the ruddy man spinning in search of the truth -- one more hard-luck Vegas story, one more ex-fighter turned melancholy player, struggling to stay solvent for another 24 hours.

''What're you doing with yourself, Floyd?'' the white-haired man repeats. ''How are ya?''

''Great,'' Patterson finally says, signing an autograph. Then, in a surprising torrent of speech, he brings the man up to date on his life. Patterson reports that all is well on his 17-acre spread in New Paltz, N.Y.; that he enjoys the dual challenges of being a fight trainer and a part-time Eucharistic minister for his Catholic parish; that his adopted son, Tracy, has a WBC junior featherweight title fight approaching on June 23; and that he is currently in Las Vegas to train heavyweight Razor Ruddock for a bout with journeyman Greg Page.

''Ah. Doing all that, huh?'' Palpable relief shines in the fan's blue eyes. ''Ruddock gonna get any better, Floyd?''

''He's got a lot to learn . . . but, hey, he's strong. That jab is as powerful as Lis. . . .''

The voice trails off. Lis. . . .

''Liston?'' the fan gently prods.

''Uh-huh, yes.'' While Patterson utters ''Sonny Liston'' easily in private, a public setting can leave the conqueror's name twitching thickly on his tongue. The name resurrects memories of Patterson's two ignominious one-round defeats by Liston, the sneering faces on press row, the fake beard and mustache that Patterson wore while fleeing in shame from Comiskey Park and Chicago.

''A lot of people don't understand my father,'' Tracy Patterson, 27, says. ''They think that because he goes quiet on them, he's staying a distance away from people, but it's the opposite. He's sensitive. I mean, real sensitive. He gets afraid before my fights. When things don't go good for people he knows, he gets upset. I think it reminds him of when things didn't go good for him. The first thing he thinks of is, I gotta talk to that guy.''

The compulsion to seek out those who are hurting has taken Patterson, over the years, to unlikely places. Sitting ringside at a cramped arena in Lewiston, Maine, and watching Liston get knocked out in the first round of a rematch with Muhammad Ali in 1965, Patterson sensed that he had witnessed the destruction of his old nemesis's core, his soul and self-respect. Unable to reach the loser in his dressing room after the fight, Patterson went to Liston's hotel room 90 minutes later and found the fighter alone, already abandoned by his entourage. ''What are you doin' here?'' Liston asked. Patterson said quickly, ''Look, I'm really sorry about what happened. But sometimes things don't work out the way you'd like, Sonny. I fought you twice. Twice I was so miserable. But you'll come out of it. You'll see. It'll get better.''

Liston said not a word. His baleful scowl had been replaced by a glazed softness; the dark eyes stared into nothingness. The man looked, thought Patterson, not there, as if he was thinking about the end. ''I said a little more,'' Patterson remembers, ''and he still hadn't said a damn thing. Then I started thinking, Maybe he doesn't appreciate this. Maybe I should get the hell out of here. Because Sonny did have a quick temper, you know. Truth is, you never knew with him. So I wished him the best of luck, turned around and headed for the door.''

''Floyd,'' Liston called.

Patterson turned back and saw Liston smiling wanly. ''Thanks, Floyd,'' Sonny mumbled, and Patterson walked into the night. ''I remember that empty room as much as anything,'' he says. ''I think about it when I talk to Tracy. I tell him, 'You need a couple people who will be there always.' I had that. I didn't have to worry about what fights to take, what contracts to sign, when to sleep, eat or train, or what to say to reporters. Cus took care of it all.'' A latter-day Svengali with a bodybuilder's chest and a large, balding head set on square shoulders, Cus D'Amato could command the attention of street toughs. He spoke their language and offered them discipline and a chance at greatness. Some 30 years before he rescued a floundering 13-year-old delinquent named Mike Tyson, he discovered the 15-year-old Patterson, then a tough kid who had just returned home to Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood from a two-year stint in a state reform school. D'Amato first saw Patterson in 1949 at the gym where Floyd used to carry a bag for his older brother, who was training with Cus.

''I had no self-esteem, none at all,'' Patterson recalls. ''There was not a person anywhere who was not better than me, in my mind. I was desperate to be taken apart, helped . . . shown something. Cus became like a father to me. He made me feel I mattered. Maybe he did that for Mike Tyson, too. I loved Cus. He really was like a dad. I put all my trust in him. He'd say something at a press conference, and I'd say, 'That's my answer too.' He'd put something in front of me, I'd sign it. Total trust.''

At 5 ft. 11 in. and 185 pounds, roughly his weight in the prime of his career, Patterson looks smaller than you might expect. ''I fought big men a lot,'' he says. ''Cus told me I had a real speed and reflex advantage on big men. Fear accelerates reflexes, you know? Cus proved it.''

D'Amato sold Patterson on the improbable. In December 1955 the diffident protege weighed a mere 179 pounds, yet a year later D'Amato guided his 21- year-old pupil to Rocky Marciano's vacated championship with a fifth-round knockout of 39-year-old Archie Moore. ''I was the youngest heavyweight champion in history,'' Patterson says. ''Then we started having trouble getting fights.''

It was an era in which the sport was largely controlled by the tentacles of a promotional octopus called the International Boxing Club (IBC), headed by the late Jim Norris, a businessman with mob connections who held ironclad contracts with many of the major heavyweight contenders. When D'Amato, a one- man crusade, said no to any fight for Patterson involving the IBC, his young champion found himself relegated to defending his title against lackluster and hapless opponents. Meanwhile D'Amato, worried that the IBC might injure him or ruin his reputation as a means of getting control of Patterson, took to living the careful life. He refused to take the New York City subway, fearful that someone might push him into the path of a train. He had his pockets sewn shut, to keep anyone from planting a marijuana cigarette in them. At night he slept with his cot positioned across the door, and he was armed, rumor had it, with a gun or an ax.

''I'd ask him why he was sleeping that way,'' Patterson recalls, ''and he'd say, 'To protect you.' As time went on, there'd be more doors locked and more lights left on. He was oversuspicious. You had to accept that, and I did, the same way any son would accept the strange things his father did. I loved him just the same.'' The relationship endured through Patterson's disastrous knockout loss to Ingemar Johansson in 1959, and it survived his fifth-round destruction of the Swede a year later, when Patterson regained the heavyweight title. Many people think that the relationship began to crumble in 1961, following Patterson's second victory over Johansson, because Floyd had grown weary of D'Amato's paranoia. But D'Amato's battle with the IBC had little to do with Patterson's disillusionment. Not even D'Amato knew why he had been slowly cut loose.

''There was a man close to Cus who had taken money from me,'' Patterson reveals today. ''So close that I knew it wouldn't do any good to tell Cus, that nothing good could come from telling him.'' The man was Jimmy Jacobs, later to become, along with Bill Cayton, a co- manager of Mike Tyson. Best known in the early '60s as a national handball champion, Jacobs's passion for boxing had led to a deep friendship with D'Amato, with whom he roomed for 10 years. They had a relationship akin to that ''of a very close uncle and his nephew,'' according to Cayton, who was then Jacobs's employer at Big Fights, Incorporated, a sports film production company. In 1962, with D'Amato's blessing, Jacobs sought a deal with Patterson to do a one-hour film retrospective on the fighter's career. Patterson would receive performance fees for taped interviews, along with a percentage of the profits from the film. Patterson says he agreed orally in D'Amato's presence, but after the one-hour special was aired on syndicated television, Patterson received nothing. ''Expenses ate up all the profits, Floyd,'' Jacobs insisted, according to Patterson.

Since Jacobs died in 1988, only Cayton remains to address the charges. He says, ''I'm not involved in any of this, but I believe Jim would have given Floyd a fair shake. I'm sure Floyd speaks to the best of his recollection, but it is my feeling that his memory of this is simply wrong. . . . The memory can play tricks. We have signed contracts from 1962, you see.''

Curiously, the signed ''contracts,'' two letters of agreement relinquishing the documentary film rights to Floyd Patterson's life story for the sum of one dollar, do not bear the fighter's signature, only Cus D'Amato's. A third letter of agreement, signed by Patterson himself in 1964, refers only to the use of excerpts from films of Patterson's fights, as part of a package chronicling famous knockouts by boxing greats.

''Cus couldn't give away those rights to my life, in 1962 -- only I could do that, or only I should've been able to do that,'' Patterson says. ''And it wasn't what Jacobs promised me. No percentage of what the film made, no fees, nothing. . . . Who knows what that film made? Jacobs had the records.''

''It's much fuss about nothing,'' says Cayton, who insists that the resulting film yielded no profits. ''It took in only a little over $12,000. . . . Why did Floyd wait until just now to bring this up?'' But a letter from Jacobs to Patterson indicates that the fighter sought copies of his contracts in 1977.

Whatever the truth of the Jacobs-Patterson agreement and however meager the money might have been relative to Patterson's ring earnings, the dispute doomed D'Amato and his fighter. ''I couldn't come at Cus with the truth,'' Patterson says, his voice quavering. ''So I just didn't have him handling my business affairs anymore. I booked my own fights. It wasn't like I could walk away instantly, completely. He still gave me advice; he never hesitated there.'' One important piece of D'Amato advice: Don't fight Sonny Liston. But reporters began suggesting that Patterson was scared of the menacing challenger. And Liston taunted, ''I know he won't wilt, 'cause I ain't even sure he'll get in the ring to look at me.''

Liston was tainted; he had a criminal record that included time in a Missouri penitentiary for beating up a policeman, and a reputed association with mobsters. The New York State Athletic Commission refused to license Liston, and Jackie Robinson and Ralph Bunche joined the chorus of his critics. But Patterson rebuffed them and signed to fight Sonny in September 1962, in Chicago. ''Liston served his time, paid his dues,'' Patterson says today. ''But nobody gave him a chance. I grew to like him, maybe because everybody was against him. . . . If someone had to beat me, I'm glad it was him. I don't remember much of the fight, to be honest. The whole thing was so . . . tense.''

Fueled by the sports press, the fight in Comiskey Park became a contest of Good vs. Evil. Evil was a 10-to-7 favorite; it was one of the rare times that a champion entered the ring as an underdog. ''It was just too much pressure,'' Patterson recalls. ''After I lost ((knocked out at 2:06 of the first round)), I drove back to my training camp by myself, wearing the beard and mustache. I felt small again for a while. It was hard for me to find peace as a fighter. I always had to live up to something, and the only way to do that was to win for everybody. These days I can be just me. But I wouldn't change a thing about my boxing days. It made me what I am. Cus showed me all that I could be. I owe him for that.'' Ten months later Patterson again met Liston and was decked in the first round in Las Vegas.

D'Amato would be gone for good after the Liston fights. In 1965 in Las Vegas, Patterson, who was suffering from a bad back, had an ill-fated bout against the taller, stronger and faster Ali, who taunted him ceaselessly -- ''Come on, white American. . . .'' -- while administering a beating that the referee stopped in the 12th round. Patterson fought for seven more years before concluding his career in 1972 with another loss to Ali. After that he headed back home to New Paltz, where he lives with Janet, his wife of 27 years. He has since kept busy by training young fighters, providing volunteer assistance at a senior citizens' home and molding Tracy into a contender.

With time, Patterson's trips between New Paltz and D'Amato's home in Catskill, N.Y., 35 miles away, became more frequent, and some broken threads were mended, if never fully. ''I never searched for answers with Cus,'' says Patterson. ''He was a very strange person. He went by feelings and instinct with everything. I don't think our past entered into it.''

In 1985 D'Amato lay on his deathbed in a New York City hospital. ''I hung around, and we talked and talked,'' Patterson recalls, ''but I didn't get up the nerve to tell him why I was really there. I left pretty down. A couple days later, I came back and leaned over the bed and said, 'I know you've always wondered why I walked away from you.' '' Then Patterson told D'Amato of Jacobs and the film documentary and said, ''I was angry. I thought you might know something about it, because you seemed to know everything. . . . It's not that I didn't ever want to be around you. It's that I didn't want to be around your friend.''

''You don't have to explain,'' D'Amato said softly -- looking relieved, thought Patterson. ''It's all right, Floyd.'' Patterson was not yet finished, however. He wanted to tell D'Amato one last thing. Hard as he tried, the words would not come, and D'Amato was dead by the week's end. ''I'm sorry I didn't tell him I loved him,'' Patterson says. ''I'll never make that mistake again. I tell Tracy now that he's everything to me, tell him before every fight that, win or lose, he'll always be my son and that I love him. I tell my wife. I tell my good friends that I care about them. I'm better with my feelings now. Being with Cus showed me a lot more than just boxing. I want to give like he did.''

It's what made him think, in 1988, of Tyson, who had recently served his manager, Cayton, with a lawsuit, dismissed his longtime trainer Kevin Rooney and fallen into the arms of Don King. Patterson wanted to help the floundering young man, for whom D'Amato had been legal guardian. ''I don't think most of Tyson's big problems would have happened if Cus had still been around,'' Patterson says. Through a reporter, he sent word to Tyson's people that he would be willing to train Tyson for free. Weeks passed. Patterson never heard from either Tyson or King.

''All the things I went through -- the good, the bad, the defeats -- they made me,'' Patterson says. ''I felt small once, too. I learned some lessons. I'm happy with myself today. I like myself today. That's my great accomplishment.''

At a table in the coffee shop, he sips from a glass of water, closes his eyes, then lifts his head to see a family of five beckoning for autographs. He obliges, and a man in the group tells him that he was there, ringside at the Las Vegas Convention Center, on the night in 1965 when Ali pummeled him. ''I sure loved Muhammad,'' the man says, ''but I certainly admired your sportsmanship, Floyd. You sure had a nice career. Ali was the greatest, wasn't he? Too much for you or anybody, huh?''

Floyd Patterson smiles. ''There were a lot of tough ones,'' he answers. ''And you're right, you're absolutely right -- I had a nice career. Sometimes it takes you a while before you start realizing just how nice. It's been great. . . . Oh, did I tell everybody here about my son, Tracy? See, he's got this title fight. . . .''

stickit
08-01-2006, 08:45 AM
Excellent recap of a wonderful man-I'm sure he had his idiosyncracies, but don't we all?
I'm sure that Zora, Eddie, Hurricane and Sonny, along with Archie greeted Floyd with open arms. He had the tools to beat Sonny, but fought the wrong fight.
Ingo, apparently, is not well and will one day join his "brother", but for now let's hope that in a cynical world, we remember the good guys. Floyd was---"a good guy".
Thanks again for a terrific look back at Floyd.
And as Floyd would likely say, "God bless you".
Wishing you good health and every possible future success.

kikibalt
08-01-2006, 02:23 PM
http://i7.tinypic.com/21n05sn.jpg

Floyd Patterson vs Tommy "Hurricane" Jackson

http://i7.tinypic.com/21n0aqt.jpg

Floyd Patterson (R) vs Esau Ferdinand