History | Sep 20 2017

On This Day: Muhammad Ali defeats Floyd Patterson again

Nathan Fogg recounts the story of two heavyweight greats – Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson – meeting in the ring for a rematch on September 20, 1972.
Muhammad Ali
Clay-Patterson 11-23-65a

IT was a battle between two hall-of-famers at very different stages of their respective careers. For Muhammad Ali it was an important fight just before what was arguably the best years of his career – with wins over Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Ken Norton still to come. For Floyd Patterson it would be the last time he graced a boxing ring, a glittering career crashed to an end with an emphatic loss. The final image of the former heavyweight champion of the world’s career; departing from the arena with his left eye almost completely swollen shut in front of 17,378 spectators at Madison Square Garden.

Before the fight the undisputed heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, who had already defeated Ali in the first matchup of their famous trilogy, was brought into the ring and introduced to the crowd. A theatrically enraged Ali went after Frazier, but would have to wait another 14 months before the pair met again, in the exact same ring, for their eventual rematch.

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