History

On This Day: Floyd Patterson becomes the first fighter in history to regain the world heavyweight title

Floyd Patterson
While knocking out Ingemar Johansson to win the heavyweight title for the second time, Floyd Patterson does what the likes of Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis could not

FLOYD PATTERSON w ko 5 INGEMAR JOHANSSON
June 20, 1960; Polo Grounds, New York, NY
HEADING into this rematch, Floyd Patterson was not expected to do what James J Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, James J Jeffries, Jack Dempsey, Max Schmeling, Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott had failed to do: Regain the world heavyweight title. The first bout had been so overwhelmingly one-sided with Patterson being floored seven times in three rounds, logic could only dictate more of the same. But Floyd showed tremendous resolve to upset the odds and make history. The Johansson right hand – that had bounced Patterson off the deck like a basketball the year before – landed in the second round but it had no effect. It was a pivotal moment. Patterson took control in the fifth, to score two knockdowns, the second as savage as any in boxing and for the count.

DID YOU KNOW? The total revenue of just over $3m from gate receipts and closed circuit television made it the richest fight since the rematch between Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey in 1927.

WATCH OUT FOR: Rocky Marciano, the co-commentator, undersell Patterson’s wonderful looping hook that ripped Johansson from his senses in the fifth. “That’s a good knockout,” Marciano says.

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