By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Heaven Awaits Legend Floyd Patterson
HEAVEN AWAITS LEGEND FLOYD PATTERSON 1935 – 2006 BOXING’S GENTLE GIANT
It may not have been
a Log Cabin
but it was a Cabin
in Waco, North Carolina
January 4, 1935
the humble Beginning of
World Champion Floyd Patterson
It only got worse for young Floyd Patterson after he was Born.. His poor mother in search of secure work migrated to Brooklyn, New York, where Patterson was a very troubled student, even being a petty thief, before his mother, whatever her motivations had him committed to a school in upstate New York for youth with disabling emotional problems.
It turned out to be the turning point and Floyd Patterson’s Salvation. In addition to learning basic skills of reading and writing he began to Box, and didn’t stop until he had conquered that World. Now his increasingly frail life many years later has come to its End many miles away in another place upstate New York. New Paltz.
Floyd Patterson Dead
From a dirt poor cabin in rural North Carolina, to this Story’s end in a hospital bed in New Paltz, New York, is one of the truly classic and classy lives in the annals of African American Sports. As he embraced two very different elements in one life.
A sweet gentle personality with a fierce presence in the Boxing Ring. A contradictory embrace probably never better exemplified than in Floyd Patterson. Some have attributed the duality to his high level of comfort in the Ring with a comparable level of insecurity outside it.
Amateur psychologists will find the perfect solution to this conundrum in very young Patterson’s confused painful childhood which finally gave way to purpose only when he finally began to Box while at “reform” school while at the same time never able to find the means to maintain that confidence once he left the Gym.
The mythic elements of his Saga began when at 14 Patterson began to do his boxing training in what was then one of the seedier sections of New York City the Lower East Side of Manhattan Island, in a gym owned by another soon to be one of the Legends of the Sport Gus D’Amato. From there Patterson went on to win the previously very famous Golden Gloves championship at Madison Square Garden, followed by winning the Gold Medal in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, in the Middleweight division with 5 consecutive Knockouts.
After that Floyd Patterson
After Rocky Marciano retired as Heavyweight Champion in the mid 1950s. Floyd Patterson whose reputation grew and grew easily captured the then left vacant Heavyweight Crown for himself fighting Archie Moore and knocking him out in the 5th round in Chicago.
Becoming the youngest Heavyweight Champion in history at 21. Keeping the Crown until a surprising loss to Ingemar Johansson savaged him in June 1959 at Yankee Stadium before the Fight was stopped in the 3rd round.
Then Patterson’s self proclaimed Greatest Victory
On June 20, 1960 at the Polo Grounds, in New York City, in a rematch wildly anticipated, drawing worldwide attention. Floyd Patterson knocked out Johansson in the 5th round and Patterson became the first Boxer in history to regain the Heavyweight Title. Adding to have been the Youngest.
As Patterson expressed it ……
” It was worth losing the Title for this….the most gratifying moment of my life.”
Patterson’s historic career is also marked by his part in setting the stage for the rise of The Greatest. First with Patterson’s 2 losses at the hands of Sonny Liston, Knocked ot both fights in the 1st Round by Liston. Signaling the real end of Patterson’s career ….
…… although he continued to fight on quite possibly doing damage to his brain that led to his very early Alzheimer’s Disease while in his 60s. Still Floyd’s losses to Liston were but a prelude to 2 Defeats by Muhammad Ali in 1965 and 1970. Liston and Ali’s mastery of Patterson led to their historic Bout and the Rise of Ali.
Still Patterson fought on
finally retiring in 1972
Most of all it was the Combination of Patterson’s success in the Ring intertwined with his sweet modest personality so much at odds with his demeanor in the Ring that together will always have Floyd Patterson remembered as a Great Champion.
Now he can Rest
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IN HIS PRIME