1968-09-14 Jimmy Ellis w pts 15 Floyd Patterson, Rassunda Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden - WBA

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1968-09-14 Jimmy Ellis w pts 15 Floyd Patterson, Rassunda Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden - WBA. Referee: Harold Valan. Scorecard: 9-6. According to many of the ringsiders it seemed incredible that the WBA champion retained his title after being so ineffective, and it was no real surprise that Boxing News had Patterson (188) winning 6-3. Throughout the fight there was nothing of note, but it was Patterson who made the running. In the 14th Ellis (198) seemed to have been floored by a left hook, although the referee called it a slip. Afterwards, Ellis, having had seven stitches inserted over his damaged right eye, said that his nose had been broken by an unintentional butt in the opening round and that his left thumb had gone in the third.

Despite remaining inactive, at the end of May 1969 the WBA confirmed that Ellis was still their champion and that on 29 March they had been authorised by his management that he would fight Joe Frazier in June to unify the title but had received no indication from Frazier whether he welcomed the challenge or not. Interestingly, the British, British Empire and European champion, Henry Cooper, was lined up to challenge Ellis for the WBA title in June but failed to gain support from the BBBoC due to the fact that they were affiliated to the WBC who regarded the championship as being vacant. After much argument, when Cooper relinquished his British title the match against Ellis was eventually made by the promoter, Harry Levene, to take place at Wembley Stadium, London England on 27 September. To get around the BBBoC rules the match would be billed as Jimmy Ellis (WBA champion) v Henry Cooper (British Empire and European champion) over 15 rounds under championship conditions and would be recognised by the WBA as a title fight. Two weeks before the fight, when Cooper picked up a knee injury the bout was put back until 25 October before being moved on to 1 November. Just when things could not get much worse the fight was called off completely when it was learnt that Cooper would have to enter hospital to have a cartilage operation.

For Ellis, however, it was back to the drawing board and into negotiations regarding a Frazier fight. At the end of November, talks broke down for the second time when the promoter of Madison Square Garden said that Ellis wanted the fight for Miami and had decided to defend the WBA title against Gregorio Peralta on 3 January 1970. With insurmountable problems in the way of the fight actually happening, Ellis pulled out of the Peralta fight on 27 December and headed for New York after the WBA had warned him that he would be shorn of the title if he had not negotiated a fight with Frazier to unify the championship by 1 January. Finally, with common sense prevailing, both were men signed up to meet on 16 February.