Floyd Patterson vs. Ingemar Johansson (1st meeting)

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Floyd Patterson 182 lbs lost to Ingemar Johansson 196 lbs by TKO at 2:03 in round 3 of 15


  • The fight was shown on closed circuit TV in 170 locations in 135 cities. There were approximately 550,000 seats available. The New York area was blacked out.
  • The fight was broadcast live on ABC radio.
  • Patterson was guaranteed $300,000 and Johansson $100,000. They were also working on percentages. Patterson received 30 percent of the gate and Johansson 20 percent. Promoter Bill Rosensohn got 50 percent.
  • A gate of $470,712.25 was produced by a crowd of 21,961 at Yankee Stadium. Ticket prices ranged from $5 to $100.
  • Johansson entered the fight as the No. 1-ranked heavyweight contender.
  • Patterson entered the fight as a 5-1 betting favorite.
  • In an Associated Press poll of boxing writers, 63 of 69 picked Patterson to win.
  • Patterson was knocked down seven times in the third round.
  • Johansson was named 1959 Fighter of the Year by The Ring. He had also won the award in 1958.
  • ESPN contributor Bert Sugar wrote:
A stand-up boxer with a basic jab right-hand offense in the classic European tradition, Ingemar controlled the action from the opening bell with his long, accurate jab as Patterson managed to get in one hard leaping left hook late in Round 2 -- his only effective blow of the fight. The Swede, however, continued to keep the champion at arm's length with his persistent left, all the time ready with his right, the much-heralded -- and just as often maligned -- "Hammer of Thor." But with only 30 seconds gone in Round 3, all hell broke loose. Johansson scored with a jab, and then took the wrappings off his right and threw a booming right cross that knocked Floyd down. The champion was up quickly, but was unconscious on his feet. Thinking he had knocked Ingemar down, Patterson wandered toward a neutral corner. Johansson caught him with a left hook from behind that landed on the back of Patterson's head and a right which floored the champ for the second time. Patterson beat the count again, but two more awesome rights put him down yet a third time. He made it to his feet, but a right-left dropped him to the canvas again. By now Patterson was like a ghost, lifted up from the deck by some supernatural force and then made one with the canvas by Johansson's right. Now Johansson was on him, battering Patterson with both hands until he collapsed to the mat. Floyd arose for the fifth time, only to be flattened again, this time by a right uppercut, followed by a left and a right. The champion still refused to quit. Johansson walloped his now-helpless opponent with a left-right-left salvo until referee Ruby Goldstein mercifully stepped in and stopped the fight at 2:03 of Round 3.

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