Having only a month of rest and training between his last successful defense of the World Heavyweight championship and his run-in with Ingemar Johansson, Floyd Patterson would the rest of the year out to prepare for a rematch against his fellow Olympian. That fight would come June 20, 1960.
The Patterson-Johansson Trilogy
Floyd Patterson would return in prime form to challenge for the World Championship. The fight would be Johansson’s first defense and second match versus the former champion. This match saw a Patterson who was hungry for the return bout victory.
He would succeed in defeating Johansson in a fifth rounder via knockout. Ever the gentleman, Patterson gave Johansson a rematch at the belt in March 1961. The result here was more of same, a knockout victory—this time in the sixth round.
In the Company of Future Legends
At the end of 1961, the champion headed to Toronto to defend his championship. His next defense came towards the end of 1962 as he would face his contemporary Sonny Liston that September. Liston was a slightly older boxer in his early 30s who started his career a year after Patterson’s. Known for his power, he was 33-1 by the time he met Patterson for the belt.
Liston would prove too much for Patterson, defeating him in two minutes of the first round via knockout. The rematch on July 22, 1963, was for the vacant WBC World Title. Even with a year of prep for Listo, the bout was exactly same give a couple of seconds.
Floyd Patterson was on the comeback trail in 1964 into early 1965 racking up five victories. He would get a shot at Muhammad Ali for the World Heavyweight titles in late 1965. The fight was a tough one for champion and challenger but Ali managed to pick up the twelfth-round TKO.
Hanging Up The Gloves
The remainder of Floyd’s career saw the two-time World Champion win more often than he lost. Between the Ali bout and his final match—also a loss to Ali for the NABF Title—he only twice. Most of these fights ended up being close decision and points finishes as a new wave of heavyweight talent came in during the 1970s.
He had become great friends with career rival Ingemar Johansson. In his retirement years he would overseas to visit him in Sweden and Johansson would fly to the U.S. Patterson served as president of the New York Athletic Commission for some time during this time. He also trained his adopted son Tracy Harris Patterson to WBC Super Featherweight and Super Bantamweight gold in the 1990s.
Inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991, Floyd Patterson would spend his later years battling Alzheimer’s and prostate cancer. On May 11, 2006, he fought his final battle, passing at 71 in Ulster County, New York.