To be truthful, I really don't remember much about Floyd Patterson. His boxing career flourished long before I was even born. I remember his name but the only Floyd I can really recall is Floyd Merriweather. Even then, the only reason I even know his name better is because his son, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., is currently wrecking shop and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters currently out there.
At any rate, Patterson did make quite a name for himself when he was in his prime. He became the youngest cat to ever win the heavyweight title in 1956 at age 21. Of course, Tyson would eventually come along and best that by becoming the new youngest cat to win it at age 20.
Patterson was also the first two-time heavyweight champion. With a fifth round KO of Ingemar Johansson in their 1960 rematch, he became the fist heavyweight champion to regain the title.
The thing I remember most about Patterson (and when I say "remember" I mean "remember reading/hearing about") was the legend of when he fought Ali. He refused to call him by his Muslim name all during their press conferences and interviews and always referred to him as Cassius Clay. All throughout the fight, Ali was owning him and as he continued to give him a beatdown, he reiterated repeatedly "What's my name?!"
In today's boxing world, Patterson would be an ideal light heavyweight in the mold of Bernard Hopkins or Felix Trinadad. In his day, his hard hits and speed were perfect for the heavyweight division. That was until a brawler like Sonny Liston and eventually the emergence of Ali.
Floyd Patterson died Thursday at age 71 after a long battle with Alzheimers disease and prostate cancer. I do recall him being an elderly statesmen for the sport in his later years and hopefully, the generation of boxers today can learn by his example.