My friend and colleague Lowell Cohn and I are a couple of old boxing nerds. We love to talk about boxing from the 1950s and ’60s.
Lowell called me the other day and told me he watched the Floyd Patterson-Henry Cooper fight from 1966 on YouTube, and how good Patterson looked — and this was years after he had been stopped by Sonny Liston (twice) and Muhammad Ali and was on yet another comeback trail. I had previously watched the Patterson-Cooper fight on YouTube, and Lowell and I had a fine talk about Patterson, one of the most interesting, conflicted and vulnerable of fighters.
Then I told Lowell I had just watched the Patterson-Pete Rademacher fight on YouTube. The fight was in 1957, Patterson was heavyweight champion and Rademacher, an Olympic champion, was making his pro debut — as challenger for the heavyweight title. Unique. And weird.
I told Lowell that it was an interesting fight, surprisingly so, and that Rademacher didn’t fight like a novice — and for good reason. He was some six or seven years older than Patterson and had close to 80 amateur fights.
Lowell, being a boxing aficionado, watched the Patterson-Rademacher fight on YouTube and reported back, saying Rademacher started out good, knocking down Patterson in the second round, but ran out of gas and that the fight should have been stopped sooner than it was — in the sixth round.
Patterson was always a supremely well-conditioned athlete, and it showed.
If you’ve got a passion for such a small niche as 1950s and ’60s boxing, it’s nice to have a friend who just so happens to share that niche.