Floyd Patterson: A Boxer and a Gentleman

Overview

Floyd Patterson delivered a number of knockout punches during his Hall of Fame career, but it might have been the fights he won outside the ring that made him great. Born in 1935, he overcame poverty and prejudice to become the youngest world heavyweight champion in history—and he would later become the first man to regain the crown after losing it. Muhammad Ali called Patterson the most skillful fighter he ever faced.

This first complete biography of the former heavyweight ...

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Overview

Floyd Patterson delivered a number of knockout punches during his Hall of Fame career, but it might have been the fights he won outside the ring that made him great. Born in 1935, he overcame poverty and prejudice to become the youngest world heavyweight champion in history—and he would later become the first man to regain the crown after losing it. Muhammad Ali called Patterson the most skillful fighter he ever faced.

This first complete biography of the former heavyweight champion covers Patterson's meteoric rise as a boxer while giving equal attention to his life away from sport, including his work as a civil rights activist in the 1960s. Joining Ali and Joe Frazier as boxers who used their celebrity to bring attention to social issues, he became an icon of the movement.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
wonderfully written...first full biography...an excellent study...a superior source on professional boxing from the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s. Highly recommended
The Midwest Book Review
a welcome addition
Boxing Monthly
very worthwhile...recommended
Library Journal

Levy's (history, Slippery Rock Univ.) wonderfully written book is the first full biography of the man who was the youngest world heavyweight champion in boxing history as well as the first boxer to regain the championship after losing it. Growing up poor, Patterson felt guilty that he could not contribute financially to his family. As a youth, he stole food and other items in an attempt to help out, which landed him in reform school-the Wiltwyck School for Boys north of New York City. Patterson credited the school for turning his life around; he supported the school after he gained wealth as a highly successful boxer. His gold-medal performance in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki accelerated his accession to a professional boxing career that, over 20 years, overlapped with a Who's Who of boxers that includes Archie Moore, Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali, and Joe Frazier. Levy makes numerous references to Patterson's displays of sportsmanship and gentlemanly behavior. This book is not only an excellent study of Patterson but a superior source on professional boxing from the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s. Highly recommended for all sports collections.
—Tim Delaney

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786439508
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/22/2008
  • Pages: 297
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan H. Levy is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous titles, including books about baseball, football, boxing, and American music.

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