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World-class heavyweight contender of the 1950's and 60's
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Date: Wednesday, June 28, 1961
Page: 41
Section: SPORTS
Newspaper: The Boston Traveler - June 28, 1961



"Shameful!"...."The very idea is shocking and ridiculous"...."Patterson may ruin him."...."Why not Grandma Moses?".

The national press hasn't exactly applauded the news that Tom McNeeley has been tapped as the next challenger for Floyd Patterson's world heavyweight title.

The general reaction, in fact, has been enough to turn the contender into a craven jelly or a snorting fury, depending on which expert he reads.

Instead, young Tom finds it all quite amusing and possibly lucrative.

Tom watches the fights with his father Tom Sr. in 1961 Jose Torres KOs Ike White
HEAVYWEIGHT CONTENDER Tom McNeeley, left, seems to be getting fight fever as he watches middle-weight Jose Torres flatten Ike White (right photo) in the third round last night at the Arena. McNeeley, who will meet champion Floyd Patterson Sept. 23 for the title, cocks his fist as he and his Dad, Tom, Sr., watch the action.

"I just hope they keep knocking me," the Arlington heavyweight suggested. "The worse, the better. I want to be the underdog. I fight better when I am and besides, I'm liable to make more money.

"If they keep knocking me, the odds will be 10-1 on Patterson and I can clean up on the side."

"Seriously, I think I have a real chance against Patterson," Tom said. "I don't feel like a lamb being led to slaughter, at all. I want to fight this guy.

"I read somewhere that I'd try to jab and move all night, hoping to go 15 and get the decision," Tom added.

"That's ridiculous. Patterson is too good a boxer for me to try that. I'll have to go in and fight him, and anything can happen."

Peter Fuller, McNeeley's manager and thus the man directly charged with the match, feels no remorse. Rather, the car dealer was congratulating himself heartily.

"I don't know who's going to win," Peter conceded, "but I'll guarantee that Patterson is in for a night of it. I don't think it's unreasonable to say that Tom has an excellent chance to win, either. I say he's a bonafide contender in every way, shape, and manner."

Fuller was asked to elaborate on the minority opinion.

"I think Tom would beat every heavyweight in the first 10 today," he obliged. "The fact he hasn't fought any of them is my fault. I didn't make the matches, hoping we'd get this title shot.

"I'm sure," Peter added, "that Tom would stop Pete Rademacher, Roy Harris, Brian London or Ingemar Johansson. Do those names sound familiar?"

These, of course, are four of the worthies Patterson has beaten since he won the vacant heavyweight title by stopping Archie Moore Nov. 30, 1956. But Rademacher, Harris, and Johansson all had Floyd down. Ingo, of course, knocked him out cold in their first fight.

This is the basic reason Fuller took the match. He knows Patterson will go if he's hit, and that he can be hit by a right hand.

"Another thing," Peter added. "McNeeley will be in much better condition than any opponent Patterson has fought so far. He's not going to train in Palm Beach and he'll enjoy no feminine companionship either.

"He's also not going to go in there with his hands high, just hoping to go six or seven rounds, stay healthy and collect a pay night. He's going in to fight.

"That's why I want Tom to train near Boston, so people can come and watch him. If they decide he looks like a sissy and that he won't try against Patterson, then I'm dead wrong."

McNeeley chances to be six feet, two inches, 205 pounds of fighting fury.

Tom McNeeley Sr., the contender's father and a former light-heavyweight himself, should be most concerned for his son's welfare. The Cambridge florist was the most delighted with the match.

"I rate Patterson the easiest fight for Tom of any heavyweight in the top 10," he reasoned. "Let's go through the list and I'll show you why.

"Bob Cleroux, George Chuvalo, and Henry Cooper are big, tough, game guys who'll bang in there all fight and won't go down when they're hit.

"Sonny Liston everybody knows about. But the big man in the division is Mike DeJohn, when he's right. He can punch and he can take a punch.

"Eddie Machen and Zora Folley are fast, clever boxers who'll go if they're hit, but are awfully hard to hit. Patterson isn't as fast as Machen, and he can't take a punch like these other fellows.

"I'd rather see Tom fight Patterson than anybody else in the world."

This story ran on page 41 of the Boston Traveler on 06/28/61.


Floyd PattersonTom McNeeley

The professional boxing record of world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson shows 37 victories and two defeats in 39 bouts. Patterson has scored 28 knockouts and was knocked out once, by Ingemar Johansson in three rounds, June 26, 1959.

The champion was born Jan. 4, 1935 in Waco, NY, and now resides in New York. He is married and has two children. He was the Olympic middleweight champion in 1952.

Tom McNeeley Jr. of Arlington, MA, had his first professional bout July 17, 1958. He has won all 23 pro fights, 18 of them by knockout.

The 24-year-old former Michigan State football player is married and now resides in Dover. His father Tom Sr. is a Cambridge florist and former professional light-heavyweight boxer.

(from The Ring Record Book)
Sept. 12 — Eddie Godbold, New YorkKO 4
Oct. 6 — Sammy Walker, BrooklynKO 2
Oct. 21 — Lester Jackson, New YorkKO 3
Dec. 29 — Lalu Sabotin, BrooklynKO 5
Jan. 28 — Chester Mieszala, ChicagoKO 5
Apr. 13 — Dick Wagner, BrooklynW 8
June 1 — Gordon Wallace, BrooklynKO 3
Oct. 19 — Wes Bascom, BrooklynW 8
Dec. 14 — Dick Wagner, BrooklynKO 5
Feb. 15 — Yvon Durelle, BrooklynW 8
Mar. 30 — Sam Brown, WashingtonKO 2
Apr. 19 — Alvin Williams, BrooklynW 8
May 10 — Jesse Turner, BrooklynW 8
June 7 — Joey Maxim, BrooklynL 8
July 12 — Jacques Royer, Crecy, NYKO 7
Aug. 2 — Tommy Harrison, BrooklynKO 1
Oct. 11 — Esau Ferdinand, New YorkW 8
Oct. 22 — Joe Gannon, New YorkW 8
Nov. 19 — Jimmy Slade, New YorkW 8
Jan. 7 — Willie Troy, New YorkKO 5
Jan. 17 — Don Grant, BrooklynKO 5
Mar. 17 — Esau Ferdinand, OaklandKO 10
June 23 — Yvon Durelle, NewcastleKO 5
July 6 — Archie McBride, New YorkKO 7
Sept. 8 — Alvin Williams, MonctonKO 8
Sept. 29 — Dave Whitlock, San Fran.KO 3
Oct. 13 — Calvin Brad, Los AngelesKO 1
Dec. 8 — Jimmy Slade, Los AngelesKO 7
Mar. 12 — Jimmy Walls, New BritainKO 2
Apr. 10 — Alvin Williams, Kans. CityKO 3
June 8 — Tommy Jackson, New YorkW 12
Nov. 30 — Archie Moore, ChicagoKO 5
(Won Vacant World Heavyweight Title)
July 29 — Tommy Jackson, New YorkKO 10
Aug. 22 — Pete Rademacher, SeattleKO 6
Aug. 18 — Roy Harris, Los AngelesKO 12
May 1 — Brian London, IndianapolisKO 11
June 26 — Ingemar Johansson, NYKO by 3
(Lost World Heavyweight Title)
June 20 — Ingemar Johansson, New York  KO 5
(First Man To Regain Heavyweight Title)
Mar. 13 — Ingemar Johansson, MiamiKO 6
July 17 — Richie Norton, NorwoodKO 2
Aug. 4 — Bob Harris, NorwoodKO 5
Aug. 14 — Temple Jones, Fall RiverKO 3
Oct. 6 — Eddie Walker, BostonKO 1
Oct. 17 — Eddie Allen, New YorkKO 3
Nov. 28 — Moses Walker, New YorkKO 1
Dec. 19 — Bob Halpern, New YorkW 4
Jan. 30 — Art Mayorga, New YorkKO 3
Mar. 17 — Cornelius Brown, BostonKO 2
Apr. 21 — Leo Pinto, New BedfordKO 2
May 2 — Charlie Lopes, BostonKO 1
May 25 — Jeff Holmes, ProvidenceKO 2
June 27 — Cardell Farmos, W. Yarmouth  KO 3
July 31 — Lou Jones, New YorkW 6
Nov. 27 — Lou Jones, New YorkKO 4
Jan. 1 — George Logan, BostonKO 4
Mar. 14 — Willi Besmanoff, BostonW 10
Apr. 12 — Tunny Hunsaker, BostonKO 9
May 16 — Uli Ritter, BostonKO 8
Oct. 17 — Jimmy Wiley, ProvidenceKO 3
Nov. 15 — George Logan, BostonW 10
Dec. 20 — George Logan, BostonW 10
Mar. 22 — Kitione Lave, BostonKO 3
Heavyweight boxer Tom McNeeley hits the bag
Undefeated heavyweight prospect "Irish" Tom McNeeley hits the bag in preparation for his upcoming title fight with Floyd Patterson

Louis Vs. Al McCoy

Last Hub Title Bout

The last world heavyweight championship bout staged in Boston was on Dec. 16, 1940.   Joe Louis, the champion, knocked out Al McCoy in the sixth round.

Wanted: Training Site For Tom Near Boston

Wanted: Near Boston, a training site for world heavyweight title contender Tom McNeeley of Arlington.

Peter Fuller, McNeeley's manager, is seeking a place for McNeeley to train for his forthcoming bout against champion Floyd Patterson.

"We want it close enough to Boston so that the people can come out and watch Tom," Fuller disclosed. "We want the people to decide for themselves whether or not Tom looks like a sissy who won't try against Patterson."

All articles transcribed above were featured in the Sports section of the June 28, 1961, edition of the Boston Traveler.