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Floyd Patterson Dominates Heavyweight Champion of Italy

Jan. 6, 1964 - Floyd Patterson began his ring comeback tonight in Stockholm with a display that rendered Sante Amonti of Italy defenseless. But he took almost eight rounds to do it. With Amonti moving dazedly toward the center of the ring, Referee Andrew Smythe of Belfast, Northern Island, stopped the fight and declared Patterson the winner by technical knockout. The 26-year-old Amonti, heavyweight champion of Italy, had just got up after having been knocked to a sitting position on the ropes. He had been knocked down in two previous rounds, but each time he took most of the mandatory 8 count on his feet. Patterson, 29, had fought only twice in two years, suffering one-round knockouts by Sonny Liston in heavyweight title bouts each time.

Despite tonight’s victory, he revealed a ring rustiness and a porousness in his defenses that a fighter such as Liston could be expected to exploit with explosive suddenness. Through much of the fight, Patterson toyed with Amonti. Patterson set the capacity crowd of 11,700 to laughing and cheering as he bobbed and weaved while Amonti tried desperately to land with his jab. Several times, he had Amonti set up for a knockout, then turned away. Several times also, Patterson tried to put away Amonti but could not. The Italian tied him up, hung on, and pushed him around the ring. However, Patterson often burst free and put together left-right combinations to head and body that had Amonti reeling. Between rounds, Amonti kept staring at Patterson with a deepening expression of torment.

“It was off quite a bit,” Patterson said afterward of his performance. “But like I said: Two years, two rounds.” He said he had taken the first small step toward a third fight with Liston and his goal of giving the champion a harder time than in the first two bouts. Patterson said he did not deserve another chance yet. Asked to rank the challengers to Liston, he put Cassius Clay first and himself 10th. Patterson praised Amonti for his courage and fairness of tactics. Asked if he would fight his next bout in the U.S., Patterson said, “Of course not.” He did not elaborate. This was an allusion, however, to his previously expressed feeling that American sportswriters were hostile to him. Patterson said he would remain in Sweden for two weeks to stage exhibitions for several Swedish charities.


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