“FLOYD PATTERSON had this left hook that would tear your brains out,” remembered Canadian tough-guy George Chuvalo.
In his long career he had fought the very best of an incredible era and he marked the Patterson bout out as his hardest, more gruelling then twice fighting Muhammad Ali or his encounters with Joe Frazier and George Foreman.
His slugfest with Floyd at Madison Square Garden on February 1, 1965 was explosive and even though the pace dropped later in the fight as both battled through exhaustion, they simply planted their feet and tried to take each other’s heads off.
Patterson scored a unanimous decision, 6-5-1, 7-5, and 8-4 and with a live gate of $166,423.00 and $ 600,000.00 from theatre TV, this, to date, was the richest non-title fight in history and Ring magazine’s fight of the year.
“I can take it much better than you gentlemen give me credit for,” 30-year-old Patterson told the assembled journalists after standing up to some ferocious punishment.
“Although both boxers took a severe beating they were well paid for their efforts in the richest non-title fight ever staged,” said Boxing News.
“It seemed in the sixth, seventh and eighth rounds that Floyd Patterson might possibly be stopped for he appeared to be tiring under the terrific pace. But in the ninth he came back and gave Chuvalo a boxing and punching lesson.”
The 28-year-old Canadian hardman, who stalked Floyd throughout, finished with his right eye closed, cuts above and below his left eye and in the middle of his forehead.
Technical difficulties meant that those who had hoped to watch the fight in parts of Canada were blacked out until the 10th round, with refunds given to more than 2,300 fans in Vancouver and another 1,400 in Victoria. Police were called in Vancouver to quell rows between angry fans.