Floyd Patterson legendarily KO-ed Ingemar Johansson 59 years ago
Heavyweight title history was made nearly 60 years ago Thursday night, as Floyd Patterson became the first man to regain the championship after eight previous fighters had tried and failed. And in doing so, he scored one of the most memorable knockouts of the middle of the 20th century in heavyweight boxing.
The scene was the old Polo Grounds Stadium in New York on June 20th, 1960, as Patterson came in as a slight underdog having lost the title to new champ Ingemar Johansson the year before when he was knocked down 6 times before being TKO-ed.
Much like their initial meeting, the Swede landed a thunderous right hand against Patterson in the second round. It’s staggered the challenger, but did not drop him. And, many people have since written that Patterson’s resilience to shake that punch off, gave him positive reinforcement to be able to beat Johansson this time.
In the fifth round Patterson scored with a hard right hand that wobbled Johansson, and eventually landed a solid left hook which dropped Johansson on his back. He barely beat the count at 9, while bleeding from the mouth and from a new cut under his left eye, as well. Shortly thereafter, Paterson landed the “ultimate haymaker” left hand that flattened Johansson on his back, unconscious, with his right leg still twitching.
Patterson and Johansson fought again, in March of the following year in Miami Beach, FL and Patterson, once again, scored a sixth-round stoppage this time to retain his belt.
Johansson only fought four more times after that loss before retiring in 1963 with a 28 – 2 record.
Patterson defended the title once more against American Tom McNeely in December of 1961, scoring a fourth-round KO. Then, he was very famously knocked out twice by Sonny Liston in September of 1962 and again, in July of 1963, both times in the first round.
Patterson went on to fight for another eight years including losing a decision to Muhammad Ali in 1965 and to Jerry Quarry in 1967. He eventually retired after a second fight with Ali, where “The Greatest” stopped him in seven rounds in September of 1972. Patterson’s final record was 55-8-1 with 40 Kos.
Patterson died in 2006 and Johansson in 2009.
Still, arguably Patterson’s most memorable moment happened six decades ago with a thunderous left to avenge his title loss.