Floyd Patterson is one of the most under-rated, or at least overlooked, champions in the history of the heavyweight division. The youngest man to ever win the heavyweight crown, Patterson started his professional career as a middleweight and moved up to knock out the biggest men in the boxing game. But Patterson's real accomplishments begin with the moment photographed above. After being humiliated in losing his title to Ingemar Johansson, knocked down seven times and dismissed as a blown up middleweight over-achiever. Patterson did the unimaginable and became the first man to reclaim the heavyweight title when he starched Johansson in the rematch and once more in the rubber match. The bit that is often left out is that Patterson should probably have won the title a third time but was robbed of his glory...
A unique fighter who broke away from the traditional and familiar styles of the 1940s and 1950s, Patterson was taught the rudiments of boxing by the enigmatic Cus D'amato. A paranoid, middle aged man whose ramblings veered between prophetic and delusional. Using what D'amato called a 'tight defence', Patterson's style would come to be dubbed the 'peek-a-boo' style of boxing. In the course of reclaiming his title, Patterson and D'amato would go from a perfect pairing to begrudging partners in a business venture. Both Patterson and D'amato would find redemption but decades apart.
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Patterson's ludicrously fast cross counter over the top of Henry Cooper's jab.
Patterson finishes Johansson in their second fight to reclaim the title. This was perhaps the finest performance of Patterson's career.