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Former Heavyweight Champ Floyd Patterson Dies

Former heavyweight boxing champion Floyd Patterson has died at the age of 71. In 1956, Patterson became the youngest fighter to win the heavyweight crown. He later was the first heavyweight to regain the world championship.

Patterson was a skilled but undersized champion who relied on strategic surprise rather than strength. But the latter half of his career was overshadowed by two boxing legends, Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali.

Liston destroyed Patterson in one round. He would fight Liston again -- and lose again. After Patterson retired in 1972, he oversaw New York's boxing as chairman of the state athletic commission. A Brooklyn native, Patterson also counselled troubled kids.

For all his boxing accomplishments, Patterson was once asked about one of the more dubious ones: being knocked down more than any other heavyweight fighter in history. "Yes," Patterson said. "But I also got up more than anyone."

According to a family member, Patterson had been ill with Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer for several years. He died at his home.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.