Interview with Floyd Patterson

OK, Mr. Patterson, you were considered the champion who, outside the ring, led sort of a quiet, reflective life, Gay Talese says "a life of solitude". When you first, when did you first hear of Clay? What did you think of him and his personal style?


Well, when I first saw Clay, he was on television, he was yelling to the top of his voice about what he was going to do his opponent. Ah, I found this very, very funny, ah, in the beginning. But after a while I began to dislike it because he said demeaning things about his opponents. And that's something that in boxing I always thought was a "no-no". You never down another guy to up yourself. But then as time went on I realized that he was doing this in order to give himself more confidence, convincing himself that he could do it. And Clay, in my opinion, I felt was very, very intelligent, because, ah, ah, I watched him fight once and he had predicted that he would knock the guy out in four rounds, excuse me, in six rounds. And then the guy had something derogatory to say back and he said, "Well because of that, I'm going to knock you out in four." Ah, right after the fight, the fight went the distance. It was in the Gard--Madison Square Garden, it went the distance. And right away, the TV jumped into the arena, put the mic in front of him and said, "Now you said you were going to knock him out in six, you failed. Then you said you were going to do it in four. What happened?" He said, "What's six and four?" So, what I'm trying to say, that was a very intelligent answer. I got a big kick out of that. Ah, after a while, ah, ah, of course we, we had differences as far as, ah, beliefs were concerned. And, ah, that's mainly why, in the very beginning, we weren't too friendly toward one another because, well he has his beliefs, I have mine. I respect his as long as he respects mine and back then he didn't respect mine.


Good. That's a good answer. That's a very good answer.