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Floyd Patterson

Patterson, Floyd, 1935–2006, American boxer, b. Waco, N.C. He was brought up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was sent to the Wiltwyck School at Esopus, N.Y., an institution for emotionally disturbed boys, where he first began to box. As an amateur he won 40 of 44 fights, climaxing his career by winning (1952) the Olympic middleweight championship. As a professional, he lost only one fight before knocking out Archie Moore (1956) to become, at 21, the youngest man to win the heavyweight title. He successfully defended his title four times before losing it to Ingemar Johansson, of Sweden, in 1959. Patterson knocked out Johansson a year later to become the first man ever to regain the heavyweight title. In Sept., 1962, Patterson lost the championship to Sonny Liston by a first-round knockout. Despite the defeat, Patterson continued to box, finally retiring in 1972. Once director of New York state's off-track betting, he became a trainer in the 1990s.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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