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The Mike Tyson and Floyd Patterson Parallels
Here are some excerpts from a 1963 article regarding Floyd Patterson and his decline as a fighter as explained by Cus D'Amato. Some striking similarities pertaining to the reasons/excuses that were later applied to Tyson. I have bolded the more familiar themes between the two fighters...
Starting All Over Again
by A. J. Liebling
...In these fantasies I was encouraged by Mr. Cus D’Amato, the manager who developed Patterson, beginning when he was a boy of fourteen and attending a lower East Side school. At the time of the Johansson matches, Cus and Patterson had been estranged—at least partially—for two or three years, during which the fighter had not accepted the manager’s advice, although Cus had retained his financial interest in his protégé’s earnings. Lawyers and stock promoters from outside the fight game had won away Patterson’s confidence from his old Svengali by telling him that he was a grown-up man and should think for himself. This is heady doctrine for a boxer. From the time that these chaps got to Patterson, Cus said, they had had him thinking about everything but fighting, about which they were incapable of advising him. He still believed that his pupil was potentially great, and had, in fact, actually been great twice in his career—against a fighter named Don Grant, in Brooklyn on January 17, 1955, and against Archie Moore, whom he beat for the vacant world heavyweight championship on November 30, 1956. The Grant fight—against a man who rose to no high fame—was in Cus’s opinion even better than the triumph over Moore, by now a ring immortal. Floyd knocked Grant out in five rounds. So, in the eyes of a professor of violin, one of his virtuoso pupils may have played the best concert of his career in an obscure town for a small fee. Cus is one of the few managers who care about the techniques of boxing. “The Patterson of the Grant fight would beat even Liston,” he said. I did not believe him, but, listening, I thought Patterson might improve on his Chicago performance...
...Patterson, shy and almost inarticulate when he won the 167-pound title at the Helsinki Olympic Games in l952, is now a highly interesting talker, if you are interested in a man who tries to tell the whole truth...
...Cus encouraged neighborhood boys to box, but he had the gym for many years before he found the one apostle who could assimilate the style he taught and win with it (or, in the opinion of some critics, in spite of it) consistently. Patterson was the kid apostle, and D’Amato and the boy worked their way up through the minor and the better-class amateurs, and then the professional shows in small clubs in Brooklyn, with detours to places like Moncton, New Brunswick, and New Britain, Connecticut. At Las Vegas, Cus was to second Patterson in the ring, but he was not living at the Patterson training camp—an evidence of their now ambiguous relationship. Mr. D’Amato saw his former protégé as being separated from him by the sinister intrigues of people with financial designs against both of them. Last winter, he admitted to me that because of his divided mind Patterson was no longer “great.” Few impartial critics ever conceded that he had been, but they had praised him when he beat Johansson. Cus said that he could be great again if he regained the proper state of mind.
“He has got to be the great Patterson again to get it back,” he told me at the Tallyho. “The Grant Patterson, or even the Moore Patterson. He don’t have to be any better.
Last edited by SABBATH; 05-19-2006 at 07:43 AM.