Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Coping With Shame

In the 1950s Floyd Patterson dominated the world of boxing. He won the middleweight gold medal at the Helsinki Olympic Games before turning professional. In 1956 he became the youngest world heavyweight champion in history and was at the top of his game for the next five years.

A few years back Floyd Patterson, confessed:
“There’s nothing quite like the shame that a proud man feels when, in front of thousands of people he is physically demolished by another man.”

He said, “This is the worst part about losing‑facing the people.”

Patterson wanted to hide and this is what he did. He always carried a case filled with disguises into his dressing room before each fight. He said it enabled him to make a quick exit unrecognized, if he lost.

Each year he spent $3,000 on makeup experts who could help him achieve some privacy in public.

“It sounds very strange to some people,” he conceded, “but if you were in my shoes and you understand what it is like for me, then you might do the same thing.”

Geoff Pound

Image: Floyd Patterson.