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BACK ON TOP OF THE WORLD
Floyd Patterson
June 11, 1962
As Johansson lay in the ring through the referee's count at the Polo Grounds, Patterson almost literally jumped for joy. A year of torment and self-doubt was over. Dreary, exhausting hours of preparation and some last-minute dressing-room strategy had paid off. Herewith the third of three installments taken from the champion's autobiography
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June 11, 1962

Back On Top Of The World

As Johansson lay in the ring through the referee's count at the Polo Grounds, Patterson almost literally jumped for joy. A year of torment and self-doubt was over. Dreary, exhausting hours of preparation and some last-minute dressing-room strategy had paid off. Herewith the third of three installments taken from the champion's autobiography

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The year between title fights was a nightmare. Ingemar Johansson did more than knock me out. He made me think for myself. That's an awfully painful thing, especially for somebody who always had somebody else to do his thinking for him.

Until Ingemar knocked me out, Cus D'Amato was my mind, more or less. I had no reason to doubt anything he did or said because every minute of my relationship with him I was like a son being guided by his father. Eventually the son grows up. Inevitably he begins to think more and more for himself. Occasionally something happens that makes the boy become a man before it was intended. It is always a shock to the father, but after a while the father becomes resigned that that, too, is the way of life.

Nominally, at least, Cus continued to be what he always was, but actually I tried to show him that too many things had happened for me to allow myself ever to be completely in anyone's control again. I was Cus's boy, but in defeat and confusion I became my own man.

From the time I returned from the Olympics until after I had become the champion the first time, everything he said or did I accepted as right. I believed in his crusade against the International Boxing Club because I believed in him. I had faith in the way he handled me, and it was borne out by my climb to the top.

Oh, there were irritations along the way, naturally, but Cus usually would have some kind of complicated explanation for them, and generally I'd accept what he said. Frankly, in the early days, I didn't understand enough of what he was saying and I'd just agree blindly not to show my ignorance. Cus is a persuasive talker.

For a long time there were papers signed involving me in various business matters that I didn't know anything about. That was all right with me because I sincerely believed it was my business to fight and Cus's to manage. Some of them cost me money, and I didn't even mind that. Cus had helped me to make a lot of money. I couldn't even get sore at him in his maneuvering for the Brian London fight and the change of promoters and site. It cost me a lot of money.

I wanted a warmup for Johansson, but I wasn't too proud of what came out after the fight. I could say this was kind of an alarm clock for me—the beginning of a sort of awakening that made me look at myself in relation to Cus.

I was terribly embarrassed by that fight and all the circumstances surrounding it. First there was London being met at the airport in New York by D'Amato's representative and kept away from the newspapermen. Then London winds up doing his early training before going to Indianapolis at Cus's Gramercy Park Gym. He works out with my own sparring partners and is trained by Nick Baffi, who is a good boxing man but happened to be a friend of Cus's and a former business associate. Once when I was sparring at the gym Cus came around to see me, and who should be with him but the man who was going to be my next opponent.

We had guaranteed London his expenses and purse. Hardly had London returned to England when he told the newspapers there that Cus had originally guaranteed him a second shot at me if he would agree to let my manager manage him. I believed Cus when he denied that story. I still do, but only weeks before I was supposed to get into the ring with Ingemar the first time, another bombshell had exploded, which Cus didn't try to deny, just explain.

In a book that was written for him in Sweden, Johansson revealed that to get his match with me he had had to agree to take on an American manager suggested by Cus. It turned out to be a man named Harry Davidow, who used to be D'Amato's partner in the Gramercy Gym many years before I started fighting. Davidow, who had been out of boxing for 15 years and was running a luncheonette in Brooklyn at the time, was to get 10% of Johansson's purses and be allowed to select two opponents for him for the next five years in the event that Ingemar beat me.

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