November 17, 2011


Radio Daze I remember listening to the third fight, the rubber match, between Ingemar Johanson and Floyd Patterson, on the radio. It took place on a night in June of 1961 and I was on a date (we caught an early movie and went back to the apartment where Marion lived with her parents). I was sitting at the kitchen table with a soda and some pretzels when her Dad came into the room and told me to come into the living room. I should have known something was amiss when Marion rolled her eyes. How was I to know that her Dad was a big sports guy. Anyway, he turned on the family radio to the NBC- Gillette Cavalcade of Sports. That was the program that began with a bell chime and the announcer saying, “To look sharp; feel sharp, be sharp-use Gillette Razor Blades everyday.” Don Dunphy was telling us that this was the fight to settle all the arguments about who was better- Patterson or Johanson. Patterson weighed in at 194lbs after weighing 182 in the first and 190 in the second which is pretty light by today’s standards. Johanson knocked Patterson down twice, with what Johanson referred to as his “tunder”( his right hand), in the first and was knocked down once himself in that first round. The fight lasted until the sixth when Patterson knocked Johanson down and he was unable to beat the ten count. Those were the days when you didn’t have to ask “For what group?” when somebody mentioned the heavyweight champion of the world. This is a fight that took place fifty years ago and its memory has lasted- even though Marion didn’t.


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