Floyd Patterson: The Fighting Life of Boxings Invisible Champion

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Return to Book Page. Preview — Floyd Patterson by W. Like one of Patterson's reliable left hooks, Stratton sharply recounts the life of an important, but often forgotten, two-time world heavyweight champion. Behind the Scenes with Manny Pacquiao In , Floyd Patterson became, at age twenty-one, the youngest boxer to claim the title of world heav "A well-researched and overdue tribute. Behind the Scenes with Manny Pacquiao In , Floyd Patterson became, at age twenty-one, the youngest boxer to claim the title of world heavyweight champion.

Later, he was the first ever to lose and regain that honor. Here, the acclaimed author W.

MORE BY W.K. STRATTON

Stratton chronicles the life of "the Gentle Gladiator" — an athlete overshadowed by Ali's theatrics and Liston's fearsome reputation, and a civil rights activist overlooked in the Who's Who of race politics. A complex, misunderstood figure — he once kissed an opponent at the end of a match — he was known for his peekaboo stance and soft-spoken nature. Hardcover , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Floyd Patterson KOs McNeeley This Day in Boxing History December 4, 1961

To ask other readers questions about Floyd Patterson , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Nov 29, Mark Staniforth rated it liked it. Fifty years have passed since Sonny Liston scored the second of his two first round knockout wins over Floyd Patterson, effectively ending the top-level career of one of the most paradoxical and misunderstood heavyweight champions of modern times. Shoe-horned between the legendary eras of the ever-popular Rocky Marciano and a brash young upstart then still known as Cassius Clay, little credence is given to Patterson when it comes to the age-old task of ranking the heavyweight all-time greats.

Patt Fifty years have passed since Sonny Liston scored the second of his two first round knockout wins over Floyd Patterson, effectively ending the top-level career of one of the most paradoxical and misunderstood heavyweight champions of modern times.


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Patterson's confusing contradictions were there for all to see: Shy of the media, he was nevertheless an articulate and politicised man, championing the cause of black people in their rise against racial segregation and developing friendships with stars from president John F Kennedy to Frank Sinatra. And yet, for all the fact that he made history as the then youngest heavyweight champion in history and the first man to reclaim the crown, he is destined to be best remembered as a fighter who fled his losses in disguise, too embarrassed to be seen in public.

WK Stratton's new biography of Patterson - subtitled The Fighting Life Of Boxing's Invisible Champion - fills a void on the boxing shelf and serves to remind us just how much Patterson's reign has been glossed over and largely forgotten over the past half century. In it, Stratton charts the rise of Patterson from a dirt-poor urban upbringing in Brooklyn and Bedford-Stuyvesant, through reform school where he started boxing, to contender status in a sport still crying out for a worthy successor to the recently retired Rocky Marciano.

For a fighting man who would go on to conquer the world at a time when so-called the richest prize in sport really was still worthy of its name, Patterson's self-doubt and all-round inclination towards pacifism was really quite extraordinary. Hard-bit Writers weaned on Marciano's brutal simplicity did not quite know what to make of Patterson, who had a punch as good as any but a chin which saw him knocked down multiple times, even in apparently routine contests.

Patterson won the vacant title with a fifth round knockout of Archie Moore in , and despite losing it shockingly to Ingemar Johansson two years later, bounced back to beat the Swede twice in a trio of bouts that helped define his career. Patterson may have been no match for the ogreish Liston, who flattened him twice, but when many assumed he would take the hint from those losses and pursue other activities to which they assumed he must be better suited, he earned a crack at Muhammad Ali in Therein lies one of the most unpleasant myths about Patterson, who was routinely branded an 'Uncle Tom' - a lackey of the white establishment - by Ali, a newly-minted member of the separatist Black Muslims.

In fact, Patterson had done an awful lot to help the advancement of black rights, refusing to fight in any venues in which segregation was employed, and ignoring safety concerns to visit Birmingham, Alabama when its race riots were at their height. Ali admitted as much after their fight, in , in which he appeared to go easy on the fading former champion. Incredibly, Patterson's supposedly questionable fighting heart even carried him to a rematch, which the post-Vietnam Ali won with ease. Stratton's tireless sourcing of old articles and interviews have woven a fascinating book, which paints vivid portraits not only of Patterson but his long-time manager and later Mike Tyson mentor Cus D'Amato, as well as opponents like Johansson and Roy 'Cut 'N Shoot' Harris.

It is occasionally let down by unnecessary supposition - it is hard to believe the unqualified assertion on page 59 that Marciano retired undefeated because he feared a fight with Patterson - that "some people close to the champ feared Marciano risked getting killed in the ring with Floyd.

Floyd Patterson: The Fighting Life of Boxing's Invisible Champion by W.K. Stratton

Jul 04, John rated it really liked it. Floyd Patterson was a great person and professional fighter, one of my early heroes. I was very disappointed by his loss to Ingemar Johansson in June of but elated when he became the first heavyweight to regain the title in June of I listened to both fights on my little 9 transistor radio. He probably should have stayed a Light Heavyweight though because Sonny Liston just devastated him in at 25 pounds heavier and with a 13 inch reach advantage, 84 to It was fun to relive som Floyd Patterson was a great person and professional fighter, one of my early heroes.

It was fun to relive some old times with this book. Oct 02, Alain Burrese rated it it was amazing. When people think of boxing World Heavyweight Champions, everyone has a favorite, and a few names always take the limelight. One Champion is often overlooked, sometimes forgotten, and usually overshadowed by his losses to Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali. But Floyd Patterson deserves a spot in boxing history lore, and was more of a champion than many realize or give him credit for. In this new biography, "Floyd Patterson: Stratton, Patterso When people think of boxing World Heavyweight Champions, everyone has a favorite, and a few names always take the limelight.

Stratton, Patterson's story is told in an entertaining and engaging manner, that does justice to the memory of this maybe invisible, but ground-breaking, Heavyweight Champion of the World. Stratton, who's previous works include "Backyard Brawl," "Chasing the Rodeo," and "Boxing Shadows" as well as writing for many magazines provides a well researched chronicle of the life of Floyd Patterson, the Gentle Gladiator. This tribute to the peek-a-boo stance fighting and soft-spoken warrior of the ring is an honest portrait of a complex and misunderstood champion who pioneered many firsts in the sport of boxing and helped carry the civil rights flag during the height of its battle.

Many have forgotten Patterson's accomplishments, and this book by Stratton does a great job of reminding us just how significant they were. They include that for decades the Olympic Gold Medalist held the distinction of being the youngest heavyweight in history; he was the first to win the heavyweight title twice; he fought in the first championship bout in Las Vegas, which shortly thereafter became the mecca of big time boxing; he was the first heavyweight with lightweight hand speed; he was the first world champion who trained and managed a world-champion son; and maybe most important, he was the first black heavyweight champion to use the prestige of his title to speak out against bigotry and to demand the seating of his fights not be segregated by race.

This is an interesting and important book that provides a look at the life of a distinctive and important champion that has been sometimes overlooked and often forgotten when people focus on the sport of boxing and those who excelled in the prizefighting ring. I recommend this book to all boxing fans who want to learn about this "invisible champion" as well as to those who are interested in Patterson's place in the battle for civil rights. I thank Stratton for his tribute to this underappreciated heavyweight champion.

Apr 07, Claire Hall rated it really liked it Shelves: Until Mike Tyson came along, he was the youngest man ever to win boxing's World's Heavyweight Championship. He was the first fighter ever to win the heavyweight crown twice.


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Yet Floyd Patterson was overshadowed both in his own times and in the years since his retirement and death by a host of more flamboyant figures in the sport, with Muhammad Ali towering above them all. Stratton does an admirable job of stripping away the hype an helping us to understand the circumstances that shap Until Mike Tyson came along, he was the youngest man ever to win boxing's World's Heavyweight Championship. Stratton does an admirable job of stripping away the hype an helping us to understand the circumstances that shaped Patterson's life and times.

Patterson was born into poverty in New York City and he seemed destined for a short, violent and anonymous life until boxing provided a route to success, fame and fortune.

"Floyd Patterson: The Fighting Life of Boxing's Invisible Champion"

An Olympic gold medal was quickly followed by a meteoric professional career that saw him quickly develop into an enigma in the eyes of the media and fans. Was he a glass-jawed fighter who couldn't take a punch, or the possessor of a fearsome left hook who sometimes absorbed and delivered brutal punishments? What about the stories of him leaving town in the middle of the night, in disguise, after humiliating losses? Did he really kiss a defeated opponent in the ring?


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Readers will root for Patterson to overcome a serious bout of depression, and they will feel his pain as an angry Ali all but tortured him in an infamous bout. There was a problem adding your email address. Be the first to discover new talent! Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert. Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts. By clicking on "Submit" you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

An engaging, breezy portrait of an underappreciated boxing giant. Please provide an email address.