Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson of Cleveland County

Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson of Cleveland County

On November 30, 1956, Cleveland County native Floyd Patterson, only 21-years-old at the time, became the youngest undisputed heavyweight champion in history after knocking out Archie Moore in the fifth round of a boxing match.

Born in the small town of Waco in January 1935, Patterson left North Carolina for New York City with his family at a young age. He got his start in boxing training under the legendary manager Constantine “Cus” D’Amato and began fighting on the amateur circuit in 1950. He was selected for the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki and earned a middleweight gold medal while he was there.


Patterson successfully defended his title four times, but lost it to Swedish boxer Ingemar Johansson in June 1959. A year later, he won the title back, becoming the first heavyweight to regain the championship. Patterson retained the title in another match with Johannson in March 1960, but lost it for what would be the last time in September 1962.

On retiring from the sport in 1972, Patterson had a record of 55 wins, 8 losses and 1 tie. He was inducted into the United States Olympic Committee Hall of Fame in 1987 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.

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