On bout with Muhammed Ali:
"This fight is a crusade to reclaim the title from the Black Muslims. As a Catholic I am fighting Clay as a patriotic duty. I am going to return the crown to America."
Born in North Carolina, Patterson grew up in Brooklyn, where he converted to Catholicism and was baptized by Fr. Archibald McLees in 1956. Meanwhile, he had won an Olympic gold medal in boxing at age seventeen (1952). He went on to become the youngest undisputed heavyweight champion of the world at age 21.