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.

Floyd Patterson (1935 to 2006)


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.


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.

Pedro Fernandez


  • Ducking fighters at their prime? must me a FLOYD thing!!

  • Geoffrey Sadao Prenter

    Patterson gets a lot of criticism for avoiding Zora Folley, Cleveland Williams, and Eddie Machen (your mentor). This is understandable and valid. In my opinion, Williams would’ve likely annihilated Patterson. He was powerful, fast, and much bigger. I think fights against Folley and Machen would’ve have been much more competitive, and possibly, a toss-up. Remember, Patterson decisively beat Machen in ’65. I know that Machen was past his prime and had already been institutionalized at Napa.

    On the other hand, I feel that Patterson was arguably the fastest punching heavyweight of all time, had great power, and was very courageous. His chin, of course, was his biggest weakness. Today’s cruiserweight division would’ve been perfect for him. It might’ve weakened him to try get down to 175 lbs. A great match-up would’ve been versus Bob Foster. Even Patterson past his prime in the late 60’s and early 70’s fought very competitively against smaller heavyweights like Quarry and Ellis. Also, he gave Ali a great fight in ’72.

  • Pedro is absolutely correct about Floyd who was a great fighter but not a great heavyweight and it was Cus that ducked all those guys, but Patterson sure went along with it quickly. Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams told me in 1978 that he would have knocked out Floyd quicker than Sonny did.

  • Dear Mr. Fernandez,

    My name is Joe Ryan and I enjoyed the article on Patterson. I have just had a book published by McFarland Press titled Heavyweight Boxing in the 1970s:The Great Fighters and Rivalries. Chapter two deals with the 1960s and covers the subject matter that you mentioned in your article. The book covers the seventies in great detail, establishing the fact that it was the greatest era in heavy contact me at your earweight boxing. The publisher is looking for possible reviewers and I would be honored if you would take a look.It seems that you and I share many of the same views and I believe that you would enjoy the book. Please let me know. Thanks

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