NPR logo

Former Heavyweight Champ Floyd Patterson Dies

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5398749/5399306" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Former Heavyweight Champ Floyd Patterson Dies

Sports

Former Heavyweight Champ Floyd Patterson Dies

Former Heavyweight Champ Floyd Patterson Dies

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5398749/5399306" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Former heavyweight boxing champion Floyd Patterson has died at the age of 71. In 1956, Patterson became the youngest fighter to win the heavyweight crown. He later was the first heavyweight to regain the world championship.

Patterson was a skilled but undersized champion who relied on strategic surprise rather than strength. But the latter half of his career was overshadowed by two boxing legends, Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali.

Liston destroyed Patterson in one round. He would fight Liston again — and lose again. After Patterson retired in 1972, he oversaw New York's boxing as chairman of the state athletic commission. A Brooklyn native, Patterson also counselled troubled kids.

For all his boxing accomplishments, Patterson was once asked about one of the more dubious ones: being knocked down more than any other heavyweight fighter in history. "Yes," Patterson said. "But I also got up more than anyone."

According to a family member, Patterson had been ill with Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer for several years. He died at his home.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.