The best punch trackers on the market
4th January 2021
By: Noah Abrahams
A twice world heavyweight champion, Floyd Patterson conquered the sport aged just 21. The first heavyweight to regain the title after losing it and an Olympic gold medallist (won as a middleweight in Helsinki 1952), Patterson is a true boxing legend.
An international boxing hall of fame inductee, ‘The Gentleman of Boxing’ began fighting aged 14. Trained by Cus D’Amato in his early days, Patterson went on to win the National Amateur Middleweight Championship and New York Golden Gloves Middleweight Championship.
Triumphing as an amateur (40 wins, 37 knockouts and 4 defeats) Patterson’s ‘peek-a-boo’ stance stood him well as he transitioned to professional life. Turning pro in 1954, the American lost only once in his first five years.
Patterson’s first professional loss was to former world light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim in 1954. Beaten by a unanimous decision in Maxim’s favour, the next 22 fights were pivotal in Patterson’s career.
In 1956, former world heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano announced his retirement. As the top light heavyweight contender at the time, Patterson was made one of the six fighters who would take part in an elimination tournament to crown Marciano’s successor. The Ring magazine then moved Patterson into the heavyweight rankings and placed him at number five in the world.
The 22 undefeated fights following the loss to Maxim, included beating Tommy ‘Hurricane’ Jackson in an elimination bout, before winning the world heavyweight championship against heavyweight icon Archie Moore in 1956. Patterson beat Moore by a knockout in five rounds and became the first Olympic gold medallist to win a professional heavyweight title.
In his 18 year professional career, Patterson competed against boxing royalty. Most fans, however, will know very little about Sweden’s greatest boxer – Ingemar Johansson.
Johansson handed Patterson his second loss in 1959. The first of three contests between the two men, it was the only one that the Swede won. Despite losing by technical knockout in 1959, Patterson won the re-match in 1960 and the decider in 1961.
Sonny Liston needs no introduction. Arguably one of the best ever, Liston joined Muhammad Ali as a man who Patterson never beat. For the world heavyweight title in 1962, Liston knocked out Patterson in the first round. Just under a year later, the re-match’s outcome was the same as the first fight. In 1963 Liston once again knocked Patterson out before the end of the opening round.
In 1965, Patterson faced a prime Ali. Defending his world heavyweight title for the second time, the ‘Louisville Lip’ stopped his challenger in round 12.
Patterson flew across the pond and fought in Britain a year later. Beating English boxing god Henry Cooper in 1966, Patterson won by a round four knockout in Wembley.
Ultimately retiring from the sport in 1972, a second loss to Ali was Patterson’s last fight. The 37-year-old hung up his gloves after Ali’s seventh round victory at Maddison Square Garden.
In retirement, Patterson served alongside Johansson as the chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission. The two friends also ran the Stockholm Marathon together in 1982 and 1983.
Patterson’s adopted son Tracy Harris Patterson continued his legacy and went on to become a world champion. Winning the WBC world super bantamweight title in 1992, Harris Patterson (who was trained by his father) made the duo the first father and son to win world titles in boxing.
Passing away aged 71 in 2006, Patterson will forever be remembered as one of boxing’s favourite sons.
“Boxing is like being in love with a woman. She can be unfaithful, she can be mean, she can be cruel, but it doesn’t matter. If you love her, you want her, even though she can do you all kinds of harm. It’s the same with me and boxing. It can do me all kinds of harm, but I love it.” – Floyd Patterson.
Author – Noah Abrahams