MONDAY BOXING PIC: WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP FLOYD PATTERSON
PATTERSON GETS NO LOVE FROM HISTORIANS
San Francisco, CA- Being a 1952 Olympic gold medalist and two-time world heavyweight champion, one would think that Floyd Patterson would get his just due with historians. But he doesn’t and the reason is Cus D’Amato, the man that would discover Mike Tyson some 30 years after Patterson, had Floyd in tough with Ingemar Johansson (splitting a pair of KOs) BUT not the major leading contenders Zora Foley to Eddie Machen fight a slew of no names.
LISTON FIGHT FORCED BY PUBLIC DEMAND
When Floyd finally did step up to the plate it was against Sonny Liston. Everybody knew that Sonny would wreck Floyd and the heavyweight championship would once again be controlled by the Mafia. Knocked out by Sonny the first time in 55-8-1, 40 KOs. We had a good laugh together in Kansas City in 1995 after I cleared a restaurant going after James “Buster” Douglas’ trainer John Russell as he was telling people he was going to “hurt me” when he saw me. I was in California, he was in Ohio, he s*it his pants when he saw me in Kansas City.
CUS HELD FLOYD BACK DURING PRIME
Floyd Patterson was “overly protected” by Cus D’Amato to the extent it tarnished his image not only in the eyes of historians, but boxing fans at the time as well. Everybody that knew a little about the game realized that a debuting Olympian Pete Radamacher, Roy Harris, Tom McNeeley, these were not the best available. Cus was not about to allow the Mafia to control him, Floyd, or the title. In closing, the time I spent around Floyd in the 80s and 90s showed me that Floyd was a gentleman through and through. He died in 2006 at the age of 71.