Born in Waco, N.C., near Shelby he became the youngest heavyweight champion in history at 2l when he beat Ingemar Johanssen of Sweden. Under the tutelage of the famed Cus D’Amato of Peekskill, N.Y., the same trainer who years later would forge Mike Tyson into one of history’s fiercest champions, Patterson was known for his “peekaboo” style. He never forgot his North Carolina roots.

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