Floyd Patterson

A Boxer and a Gentleman


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About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

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.

Bibliographic Details

Alan H. Levy

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 297
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3950-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

I. I Never Seemed Not Scared      9
II. I Didn’t Know Where I Was or What I Was Doing      16
III. He’ll Be the Champ      28
IV. Champ      45
V. Frustrations on Top      59
VI. Ingemar      81
VII. It’s Never Been Done      95
VIII. On Top of the Boxing World      109
IX. Sonny      124
X. Sunglasses and Fake Whiskers      139
XI. Four Seconds Longer      160
XII. Muhammad and the Rabbit      174
XIII. Nowhere To Go      199
XIV. California Rules      212
XV. Robbed in Stockholm      219
XVI. Just One More Shot      232
XVII. Contentment      246

Chapter Notes      267
Bibliography      281
Index      285

Book Reviews & Awards

  • A Library Journal Starred Review
  • “wonderfully written…first full biography…an excellent study…a superior source on professional boxing from the mid–1950s through the mid–1970s. Highly recommended”—Library Journal
  • “a welcome addition”—The Midwest Book Review
  • “very worthwhile…recommended”—Boxing Monthly
  • “extremely well researched and written…highly recommend[ed]”—Cyber Boxing Zone