After The Gold
Patterson made the Olympic team and left school to fight as a representative of the United States. He had become a member of one of greatest U.S. Olympic boxing teams ever put together, a group that won five gold medals, including the one Patterson took home. When he came back from the Olympics and turned professional, he would win three fights in his first month alone. In 1952, Patterson won the Gold Gloves Championship at Madison Square Garden and the National Amateur Athletic Union Championship in Boston. He earned the honor of "Ring Rookie of the Year," given by Ring magazine.
Patterson still wanted to move forward fast, but D'Amato was always there to slow him down. In his first big fight against Joey Maxim, Patterson had lost due to lack of experience. He was devastated. Later he would realize that "he had been outsmarted by the exchampion." He learned to appreciate experience over youth, and he would develop a respect for Maxim.
When he came back to the ring, as was often the case after he took time off, he won his next eleven fights with straight knockouts. Among these fights was his first official heavyweight bout against Archie McBride. With his rising celebrity in the world of boxing, Patterson would merit fights on the West Coast, where he'd hobnob with stars. Yet he missed Sandra, his girlfriend back in Brooklyn. He proposed to her in 1956 and they married. Then, following his conversion to Catholicism, Patterson remarried her two years later. They moved to Mt. Vernon, New York.