This is a sample from my upcoming book “The 50 Greatest Quotes In Boxing History.”
1. The caring corner man.
Floyd Patterson made history when he knocked out Archie Moore in November 1956 to become the youngest ever heavyweight world champion in history. Aged 21 years, 10 months, 3 weeks and 5 days Patterson and flummoxed his opponents with style of boxing that was the brain child of boxing mastermind Cus d’Amato. The feat was seen as an amazing achievement, not only because of his young age, but Patterson had also spent the entirety of his career fighting as a light heavyweight. Despite beating four cherry picked opponents Floyd was finally put in with the man that many saw as the number real one contender for the heavyweight crown. Swede Ingemar Johansson would prove too much for Floyd who was knocked down seven times before being stopped in the third round. There were of course calls for an instant re match as many thought that Patterson had the tools to do one on Johansson and do one he did. After a pretty uneventful start to the fight Patterson finally found a way through flooring the big Swede early in the fifth round, but it was what happened next that that would set up one of the best ever quotes in the history of the sport.
After being knocked down Ingemar rose to his feet albeit very shakily only to be stalked by Patterson who sensed that he was about to become the first person to ever regain the Heavyweight crown. He set the champ up with a few body shots before launching in to the perfect left hook. Johansson was asleep before his head bounced off the canvas. The punch from Floyd was so vicious his victim lay prone on the floor, his left leg shaking and twitching as the referee proceeded to count him out.
One of the first people in the ring was sports presenter Howard Cossell who upon seeing the state Johansson was in turned to his trainer Whitey Bimstein and asked, “For God’s sake, Whitey, is he dead?”
“The son of a bitch should be,” replied Whitey. “I told him to watch out for the left hook.”
2. The wheel chair speech.
No one in the world would deny that that boxing is a brutal sport or that upon winning a boxing match a fighter should be able to celebrate anyway he sees fit. The key though is to keep your celebratory ideas to yourself. Especially during a live TV interview when you are supposed to be at your professional and humble best by thanking your opponent for a tough fight and your trainers for helping you prepare for such an outstanding performance.
I think this is a lesson that was missed off the Tony Thompson training camp as he told an interviewer exactly what his intentions were after his latest win.
“I’m gonna go home and break my wife’s hip. I haven’t had sex with her in a while. She is gonna feel the pain. Oh there’s gonna be some pleasure mixed in with it but she might be crippled in the morning. If anybody out there wanna donate a wheel chair to the save the Miss Thompson fund.”
3. The Pandemic Punch
Does anybody here know Charlie Zelenoff? His official Boxrec stats list him as having had one fight with one loss coming from a TKO in the first round. But Boxrec doesn’t always give you the full story because if you ask the man himself what his record is he would say 209 – 0 with scalps that include Floyd Mayweather Sr and World Heavyweight Champion Deyontay Wilder.
Zelenoff has this record and is the self-proclaimed undisputed Underground Boxing Federation champion because he sets up light sparring matches, unloads for 30 seconds then runs away saying that he won. He does have balls though or a death wish after sucker punching Mayweather Sr he called up Deontay Wilder and told him that he would kidnap his daughter if the he didn’t agree to fight him. When Wilder showed up he took a cheeky swing at the champ as he climbed through the ropes and in to the ring then showed the attempted punch on YouTube as proof that he won. Is he crazy? Probably, But Charlie puts his unbridled confidence down to one thing.
“My hook is unstoppable man. When I connect it makes more noise than all the bombs going off in Iraq. It’s a pandemic. The pandemic punch.”