Floyd Patterson, Heavyweight Boxing Champion
"Fear was absolutely necessary. Without it,
I would have been scared to death."
Floyd Patterson, former Heavyweight Boxing Champion.
Dick Contra our newest staff member is here with sad news from the world of sports. Dick...
Thanks, You. Word was received on Thursday from New Paltz, New York that popular former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson died. He was 71.
Born to a poor family on January 4, 1935, in Waco, North Carolina, Patterson desired to surmount the difficulties he had experienced while growing up in Brooklyn, New York. He began boxing while at a reform school for boys. It was there that he had developed a unique style. Holding his gloves high in front of his face, he would sprung forward with unexpected hooks, surprising many opponents hard punches. After successfully vanquishing the competition his first few years in boxing, he was sure he had found his vocation.
Patterson became a New York Golden Gloves champion and later won the Olympic gold medal in the 165-pound class at Helsinki, Finland. He turned pro in 1952 under the management of *Cus D'Amato, who in the 1980s would develop another heavyweight champion, *Mike Tyson. (Under *D'Amato's tutelage *Tyson also became the youngest heavyweight champion at age 20, and holds that distinction today.)
In 1956, he beat then champion Archie Moore to win a world title. With that win, 21-year-old Patterson became the youngest world heavyweight champion in history. His reign lasted almost five years, during which he won the world heavyweight championship twice. When he recaptured the title in 1961 after a brief loss, it marked the first time a boxer had ever made a successful comeback for the world heavyweight title.
Many of the tributes and obits talk about the incredible number of times this champion was knocked down. What is important to note is what the champ himself said:
"They said I was the fighter who got knocked down the most, but I also got up the most."
To this day, he is admired as a role model and for his idyllic sportsmanship.
A memorial service on May 27th is scheduled in Albany, New York.
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