Everyone at CMG Worldwide is saddened at the passing of Floyd Patterson, Olympic Gold Medalist as a middleweight, youngest man to win the world's heavyweight boxing title, and first to regain his crown. Mr. Patterson was 71.
"Floyd Patterson was a special kind of man," CMG Worldwide Chairman/CEO Mark Roesler reflected today. "He was a fighter, a boxer, but he was also soft-spoken, a fine gentleman and a wonderful role model ? particularly insofar as his sportsmanship was concerned. We are sorry to lose a longtime client who was also a friend and a great person. Our sympathies go out to Floyd's wife, Janet."
Born into poverty in North Carolina, he took up boxing as a boy in reform school. Patterson rose out of Brooklyn and a troubled childhood to star in the 1952 Olympics. In 1956, at 21, with his gloves held high in Patterson's usual distinctive style, he knocked out then-champ Archie Moore to become the youngest boxer to ever win the heavyweight title.
Patterson's career was highlighted by legendary fights with Ingemar Johansson of Sweden. In 1959, Patterson, an undersized heavyweight, was knocked down seven times in the third round of his fight with Johansson at the Polo Grounds in New York, losing his title. But the following year Patterson became the first boxer to regain the heavyweight championship, flooring Johansson with an enormous, vicious left hook. Gentleman that he was, when Patterson saw that his opponent was unconscious, instead of celebrating, he knelt on the boxing canvas to cradle Johansson's head.
There was a third fight between the two titans, and again Patterson knocked out Johansson.
At age 37, Floyd Patterson retired in 1972. His professional fight record was 55-8-1 with 40 knockouts. One post Patterson held after retiring from the fight game was New York State Athletic Commissioner. In 1982 he ran in the New York Marathon, paired with Ingemar Johansson. This time each went the distance.
The lesson so many learned from Patterson, and part of his legacy, was to never give up; there is always hope, so keep fighting for whatever one believes in. "They said I was the fighter who got knocked down the most," the great comeback champ once observed, "but I also got up the most."