Floyd Patterson vs. Tom McNeeley

By Boxing News on December 3, 2018
Floyd Patterson vs. Tom McNeeley
Patterson was 37-2, Tom McNeeley was 23-0, and the fight was scheduled for 15 rounds.

“Courage isn’t enough.”—Tom McNeeley after losing to Floyd Patterson

On December 4, 1961 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, (37-2-0) originally from Waco, North Carolina, defended his title against Tom McNeeley(23-0-0) from Cambridge, Massachusetts. The champ was 37-2 going in, McNeeley was undefeated at 23-0, the referee was Jersey Joe Walcott, and the fight was scheduled for 15 rounds…

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Floyd Patterson Vs Tom McNeeley 1961



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  1. Buster 11:11pm, 01/05/2019

    Yeah, yeah Floyd was a good fighter and a nice gentleman but he hurt boxing during his title tenure as champion. Under D’Amato’s management he avoided—save for Johansson—the best heavyweights from 1956 to 1961 letting top contenders Folley and Machen twist in the wind while taking on the likes of Jackson, Rademacher, Harris, London and McNeely. It was disgraceful. He should have been stripped of the title. To his credit he finally disobeyed D’Amato and faced Liston who could have won the title in 1959.

  2. Lucas McCain 07:51am, 12/07/2018

    Should have said, after this it’s amazing he got to referee the Lewiston fight.  Time reversal!  But on reflection, I imagine Lewiston was such a last-minute affair, they may have had trouble finding a referee.  Was Walcott originally schedule to ref Ali-Liston rematch in Boston?

  3. Lucas McCain 07:11am, 12/07/2018

    I agree, Eric.  Floyd was very much underrated, especially because Liston was looming for the last couple of years he was champ and everyone knew Sonny was the best around.  Floyd’s odd mannerisms, especially his “kangaroo” punch and D’Amato-trained peek-a-boo defense, evoked laughs, but he was very skilled and dangerous.

    Maybe more dangerous was Jersey Joe’s refereeing.  McNeeley was incredibly brave in this fight, even rocked Floyd when it was clear he was overmatched, but all those knockdowns!  Including two that Walcott apparently missed.  After the Lewiston debacle, it’s amazing he kept doing title fights.

  4. Eric 11:34am, 12/04/2012

    One of the classiest of the heavyweight champs. So often we rate champions on what they do in the ring but sometimes it would do well to rate their performance out of the ring as well. Marciano, Frazier, Patterson, and most recently the Klitschko brothers represent(ed) the championship the way a true champion should honor it. Patterson was also a very underrated puncher and perhaps was at his peak in his post championship days in the mid-to-late Sixties. Scored some of his most memorable wins against Bonavena and Chuvalo in or around this time period, and was robbed of another championship in a horrible decision loss to Jimmy Ellis.  Fought two fights against Quarry and suffered a loss and a draw. Quarry and Patterson are two fighters to come to mind that would’ve been natural cruiserweights today, and in that division both would’ve dominated for quite sometime. Hell, for many of Floyd’s earlier fights he fought well below the cruiseweight limit. In his first fight with Ingo I think Floyd weighed about 182lbs. Most super middleweights enter the ring weighing that much.

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