http://www.usatoday.com/sports/boxing/2006-05-11-floyd-patterson-obit_x.htm Ex-heavyweight boxer Floyd Patterson, 71, dies By Chuck Johnson, USA TODAY Floyd Patterson, the first two-time heavyweight champion, is remembered as a great fighter who was widely respected as a great gentleman. "That was my first true hero," Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward said of Patterson, who died Thursday at age 71 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer. "When he lost to Ingemar Johansson, I'll never forget. I was 14 years old, and when I found out he had been knocked out, I cried." For fans from the baby boomer generation, Patterson was the first heavyweight champion whose career they saw unfold. At 21, four years after the Brooklyn, N.Y., native won the 1952 Olympic middleweight gold medal, Patterson became the youngest to win the heavyweight title in 1956 with a fifth-round KO of Archie Moore. Undersized for a heavyweight, Patterson made up for it with fast hands that scored in combinations. His quickness prompted Muhammad Ali, who beat Patterson twice, to derisively dub him "The Rabbit." The defining fight of Patterson's career was his fifth-round KO of Johansson in their 1960 rematch, making him the first heavyweight champion to regain the title. A year before stopping the Swede with a tremendous left hook, Patterson was knocked down seven times in the third round and lost his title to Johansson. Both fights took place at the old Polo Grounds in New York. "The second fight was big because nobody thought he could win," said New York bar owner Jimmy Glenn, who worked as Patterson's assistant trainer in several fights. "The difference from the first fight was that he didn't get hit. Floyd got himself in great shape, studied and did what he had to do." Patterson was proud of the way he never gave up. "They said I was the fighter who got knocked down the most, but I also got up the most," he said. There would be no comeback in 1962 when Patterson lost his title on a first-round KO by Sonny Liston, whose power and size overwhelmed Patterson's speed and savvy. In 1963, Patterson attempted to become the first three-time heavyweight champ, but Liston KO'd him again in the first round. After those defeats, Patterson was depressed and often disguised himself in public. But he resumed winning to earn a title shot against Ali, who had beaten Liston twice. In 1965, Patterson was thwarted as Ali toyed with and taunted him before winning on a 12th-round knockout. Patterson, who ended his fighting career in 1972, remained an important figure in his sport, both as a trainer and as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, a position he held until recently. Among the young boxers he trained was adopted son Tracy Patterson, who he guided to a world bantamweight championship. New York Gov. George Pataki, who appointed Patterson to his second commission term, said in a statement: "From his signature style in the ring to his support for amateur athletics later in life, Floyd Patterson was truly the 'gentleman of boxing.' "