When Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson Fought Pete Rademacher, A Champion Facing a Debuting Boxer
By: Ken Hissner
With all the big hoopla today about Floyd “Money” Mayweather 49-0 a month away from his match with Colin McGregor 0-0 who has no credible amateur experience since he was a youth this writer goes back when 1956 heavyweight Olympic Gold Medalist Pete Rademacher was also the All Army champion, All Service Champion, won the Olympic Trials and the Gold Medal for the USA. He was 1-1 against Zora Folley and had a 72-7 record in the amateurs.
On August 24, 1957 Rademacher with poor managerial advice made his debut in the professional ranks against the world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, 32-1 in the home state of the challenger of Seattle, WA, havin Patterson on the canvas in the second round. By the sixth round Patterson had Rademacher down six times before the referee called a halt at 2:57 of the sixth in a scheduled fifteen rounds.
That was bad enough but in Rademacher’s second fight he takes on Folley, 40-2-2 whom he split in two fights in the amateurs and was knocked out in the fourth round eleven months later. In 1959 he won five straight and traveled to Germany in 1960 twice fighting in Europe knocking out Ulli Nitzschke 13-0 in seven rounds and two months later fighting to a draw with Ulli Ritter, 20-3-3.
Rademacher would go to the UK eighteen days later taking on contender Brian London 22-6 and was knocked out in seven rounds. In June of the same year he started a seven fight win streak defeating the likes of Lamar Clark, 42-1 by stoppage, three weeks later defeating George Chuvalo, 17-3-1, in Toronto, and Kirk Barrow with the same 17-3-1 record and five days later defeating German Willie Besmanoff, 44-23-7.
Rademacher opened up 1961 defeating Donnie Fleeman, 35-10-1 followed by a pair of knockout wins. Then he took on contender Doug Jones, 17-0, and was knocked out in five rounds. George Logan, 19-5-1, and former light heavyweight champion Archie Moore, 182-22-9 followed up with stoppage wins over him. Five weeks later he stopped Buddy Thurman, 35-8-1 but lost to European champion Karl Mildenberger, 29-1, by decision in Germany. He would finish his career with a victory over former middleweight champion Bo Bo Olsen, 87-12, in Honolulu by decision. His final record was 15-7-1 (8) turning pro at 28 and fighting in the fight for pay ranks for five years retiring at age 33.
So what experience does McGregor bring to the table against Mayweather in comparison to what Rademacher brought into the ring against Patterson? McGregor is in a no lose situation taking in millions while Mayweather gives boxing another shameful black eye taking on a UFC fighter in his debut. What will this prove for boxing?