Former world heavyweight champion Ingemar Johansson passed away yesterday, the result of complications from a bout of pneumonia. He was 76 years old.
Johansson was the only Swedish heavyweight champion in history, winning the title when he destroyed Floyd Patterson in the third round at Yankee Stadium on June 26, 1959. Patterson was knocked down seven times in the third round before the fight was stopped. He lost the title back to Patterson at the Polo Grounds via fifth round knockout on June 20, 1960, and the two met again on March 13, 1961, at the Miami Beach Convention Hall. Patterson survived two first round knockdowns and another at the end of the round to come back and knock out Johansson in the sixth.
Johansson was also the first man to ever beat Eddie Machen, knocking him out in 2:16 in 1958. Machen would go on to lose to many other great fighters, including Sonny Liston, Patterson and Joe Frazier.
Johansson finished his career in 1963, beating Brian London on points in his final fight. He retired with a record of 26-2 with 17 knockouts. He was named one of the 100 greatest punchers of all-time by Ring Magazine in 2003.
The ex-champ was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and dementia in the 1990s. When he upset Patterson in '59, he was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and the Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated.
Bad Left Hook sends our condolences and best wishes to the family and friends of Mr. Johansson.