1958-08-18 Floyd Patterson w rtd 12 (15) Roy Harris, Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California, USA - WORLD

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1958-08-18 Floyd Patterson w rtd 12 (15) Roy Harris, Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California, USA - WORLD. Referee: Mushy Callahan. Following an uneventful first round, and being knocked down for ‘four’ by a right uppercut in the second, the champion got up as if nothing had happened. With Patterson (184½) finding his feet by the end of the fourth, Harris, cut over both eyes, was staring defeat in the face. Getting well on top without exerting himself, Patterson (184½) dropped Harris for ‘eight’ in the seventh and twice in the eighth, and although there were no further knockdowns in the next three sessions the finish was in sight. Towards the end of the 12th the badly outclassed Harris was put down for the fourth time before being retired by his corner during the interval.

After Patterson had made no apparent moves to defend his title, his manager, Cus D’Amato, was invited to appear before the NBA Executive Committee in early January 1959 to explain what the champion’s plans were as he was getting close to his defence every six-months limit. D’Amato told the Committee that because Patterson was in the 90% tax bracket, his accountants were advising that he should take just one fight a year. Most sympathetic (the Committee said that it would be seeking government legislation to ease the problem), they accepted D’Amato’s word that contracts for a Patterson v Ingemar Johansson fight in June were due to be signed that week on the proviso they be kept better informed in future.

Johansson had arrived at the top of the rankings due his first-round kayo win over Eddie Machen at the Nya Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, Sweden on 14 September, his famed ‘Hammer of Thor’ fairly exploding on the latter’s jaw. With D’Amato looking for a warm-up fight for Patterson prior to him meeting Johansson, Brian London was selected. London, who had recently lost his British and British Empire titles to Henry Cooper, asked the BBBoC for permission to meet Patterson but had his application turned down as the Board did not consider it to be in the best interests of British boxing. Despite the threats, London still went ahead.