This tape features raw footage of an interview with boxing legend Floyd Patterson (1935-2006) for the television series "Once A Star," in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Patterson is asked about some of his more famous fights with Ingemar Johansson and Cassius Clay a.k.a. Muhammad Ali, his love for the sport, and his eventual retirement.
00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars and tone.
00:54Copy video clip URL Patterson begins to talk about his inherent need to box. He tells a story about shadowboxing in the middle of the night, and talks about his love for the sport. “Any time you love something as much as I do… you’ll take it above and beyond what it really is.” Patterson then goes on to talk about the fighters of today and their motivations for being involved in the sport, which he believes to be mostly monetary.
03:59Copy video clip URL Patterson elaborates on his love of boxing and continuing to fight past his prime. “Well, you try to hold on to something as long as you possibly can. In my opinion, every fighter that takes it above and beyond and really puts a lot into it has a special kind of spark within, and that spark stays bright a long time. And after a while–I’m only basing these on myself–the spark dies, and when the spark dies, you’re not the same: the desire, the will, all the things that you once had aren’t there anymore.” Patterson goes on to explain that his spark did not die until he married his second wife. “There was a greater love for her than boxing.”
07:22Copy video clip URL When asked if there are any other accomplishments he would like to achieve, Patterson states that all he really wants to do is stay close to boxing and more importantly, manage and teach his son Tracy about the sport.
08:39Copy video clip URL When asked who were the toughest boxers he’d ever fought, Patterson recalls the physical agony he went through after facing George Chuvalo and Thomas “Hurricane” Jackson in the ring. Patterson was bed-ridden for a week after both fights, despite having won the bouts. He thinks his toughest psychological fights were against Cassius Clay a.k.a. Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston, and Ingemar Johansson. Patterson goes into detail about his intense dislike for Johansson, who belittled him after losing a fight. Patterson trained very hard for their second fight and was determined to make a big impression on Johansson. “I said to myself, ‘I’m going to prove to him.’ I said I will probably lose the second fight. I didn’t go in overconfident like I’m going to knock this guy out. All I could only guarantee was that when I go into the second fight, after I get knocked down, or after I lose or whatever, he’s going to have difficulty in raising his hand in victory. That was the only thing I could guarantee, and in the process of doing so, I knocked him out.” However, Patterson and Johansson have since become good friends, and Patterson describes their past troubles as a “book that’s closed,” sharing some stories of their friendship.
13:19Copy video clip URL Patterson talks about his ties to Johansson’s native Sweden. Patterson explains that when he lost to Johansson in 1959, he received more fan mail from Sweden than from the U.S. Many of the letters expressed happiness in Johansson’s win, but sadness in his defeat of Patterson.
16:16Copy video clip URL Patterson talks about his weight class in boxing and says he weighed 182 pounds when he won the title in 1959.
17:20Copy video clip URL Tape ends.