Floyd Patterson vs. Roy Harris

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Patterson-Harris 524224321.jpg

Floyd Patterson 185 lbs beat Roy Harris 194 lbs by RTD in round 12 of 15


  • Harris was a 5 to 1 underdog.
  • A crowd of 21,680 produced a gate of $234,183.25, a then-record for the state of California.
  • About 200,000 fans watched the fight on closed circuit television.
  • Patterson's share of the net gate was $101,384.41. In addition, he got about $300,000 from TelePrompTer, which handled the theater TV, and about $60,000 from the movies. Out of his share, Patterson paid Harris a $100,000 guarantee. Patterson netted close to $300,000.

From Sports Illustrated:

It took the champion 12 bloody, bruising rounds to beat Harris, the best of the three men he has met since winning the title and very likely the second-best heavyweight.

Patterson, in a manner of speaking, had to get off the floor to do it. In the second round the champ found himself sitting flat on the seat of his trunks for a four-count, while all the Texans in the world, it seemed, screamed for his blood. Referee Mushy Callahan ruled it a knock-down, after some hesitation, though Patterson had fallen more from a push than a punch. But an instant before the push he had been hit by an excellent right uppercut (see above), which is Harris' best punch and one he scored with repeatedly in the early stages. Expecting more, Patterson tried to move away, but his footwork, based on an unorthodox square stance and designed more for forward than backward movement, never has been of the fanciest in retreat. In retreat this time he found himself off balance as Harris, trying for a following left hook, caught him on the side of the head with the left forearm and pushed him on down.

Patterson got up quickly, bashed but unabashed. Then the champion was hit by a true hook. He admitted that this blow "dizzied" him.

Five rounds later, beginning to regain the sharpness that only actual fighting can give, Patterson started his own series of knockdowns, not one of them questionable. He felled the challenger with a right hand in the seventh, knocked him down twice, once with each hand, in the eighth, and put him down again with a long right hand smash in the 12th.

That last knockdown was revealing. Harris hesitated before going down. For what seemed like two seconds he stood there, knees sagging, his face reflecting only a dazed consideration of the situation. Then he slumped to the canvas. He started up again and Patterson lunged across the ring to try for a finisher. Harris has splendid legs but he found them too wobbly for support. He sank to one knee and Patterson withdrew while the count went on to nine. Technically, Referee Callahan might have stopped the fight there, for Harris had gone down without being hit. (There had been a dressing room agreement before the fight that the referee would not stop the bout except on request of the loser's corner.)

Somehow, in spite of rights to the body and blazing head combinations, Harris survived that round and was even ready for another. Only his lean, white-haired trainer, Bill Gore, had had enough. Gore signaled to the referee that the fight was over. SI