By Eric Armit
One of the areas of controversy which arose out of the Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Conor McGregor fight was whether by beating McGregor Mayweather had earned the right to have officially overtaken Rocky Marciano’s record for most victories of a world champion retiring undefeated with a 100% record. Marciano clocked up 49 victories and the win over McGregor moved Mayweather to 50. It is difficult to argue that the McGregor win should not be counted. As Marciano’s wins over Lee Epperson, Jimmy Weeks and Gilbert Cardone, none of whom had won a fight, are included in Marciano’s record then McGregor also has to be counted in Mayweather’s record. Floyd Patterson’s win over Pete Rademacher is accepted by all of the record books as a legitimate heavyweight title fight even though Rademacher had never had a professional fight. So Mayweather sits at the top of the table of world champions who retired with a 100% record but he is only No 3 in the list of former world champions who retired undefeated.
Throughout the history of boxing there have been multiple title claimants recognised by a wide variety of bodies. In some cases the USA has recognised a fighter as world champion with Britain and Europe having their own claimant and it was not unusual in the past for bodies such as the New York State Commission to recognise a fighter as world champion. If you take the light heavyweight division at various times the NBA (a fore runner to the WBA), New York, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Canada, United Kingdom, the EBU and Michigan have all endorsed champions.
Over and above the achievement of winning a world title and retiring undefeated is the mystique and prestige of an unbeaten run either at the start of a career or anytime during a career. Today promoters and managers will go a long way to keep that “0” losses on a fighter’s record and of course it becomes an important matter of pride for a fighter to be unbeaten whether for only a relatively small number of fights or many years and many fights. Of course to retire undefeated or even more impressively to win every fight is a dream career and Mayweather and Marciano sit at the very top of that table at 50 wins in 50 fights and 49 wins in 49 fights respectively. They may soon be passed by the WBC minimum champion Chayaphon Moonsri (Wanheng) who is 49-0 and still active so 51 wins should be well within his compass.
To focus solely on champion who won every fight or fighters who went undefeated over a long career but with a draw here and there is to over look some of the incredible unbeaten runs achieved by fighters either at the start of or during their career and on numbers of fights some of those unbeaten runs far surpass Mayweather’s 50 so I have tried to put together the longest unbeaten runs in number of fights as follows:
A) Throughout a career
B) At the start of a career
C) At any time during their career
D) Fighters who are currently unbeaten and could fight their way into A, B or C.
World champions who were unbeaten throughout their career. Top 5 are
1) Jimmy Barry 68 fights (58-0-10)
Born Chicago, Illinois 1 January 1901. Died 4 April 1943. Fought from January 1891 until September 1899. Won world title bouts at 100lbs, 105lbs, 108lbs and 110lbs and drew in a fight for a world title at 115lbs. Irish/American he was recognised as World Bantamweight Champion from 1894 to 1899. Won his first 42 fights, drew his last 8.
2) Ricardo Lopez 52 fights (51-0-1)
Cuernavaca, Mexico. Born 25 July 1966. Fought from January 1985 until September 2001. Turned pro at 18. World Titles: WBC, WBA & WBO Minimum and IBF Light Flyweight. Won his first 47 fights. Was 25-0-1 in 26 world title fights. He was four-time Mexican Golden Gloves Champion.
3) Floyd Mayweather Jr 50 (50-0)
Grand Rapids, Michigan. Born Floyd Joy Sinclair.24 February 1977. Fought from October 1996 until August 2017 Titles: WBC Super Featherweight, WBC Lightweight, WBC Super Lightweight, IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO Welterweight, WBC and WBA Super Welterweight. Won a bronze medal at the 1966 Olympic Games. Father Floyd and Uncles Roger and Jeff were also professionals.
4) Rocky Marciano 49 (49-0)
Brockton Massachusetts. Real name Rocco Francis Marchegiano. Born 1 September 1923. Died 31 August 1969. Fought from March 1947 until September 1955. Scored 43 wins by KO/TKO made six title defences. Titles: World Heavyweight. Reported to have had an 8-4 amateur record.
5) Joe Calzaghe 46 (46-0)
Welsh but born Hammersmith, London 23 March 1972 Fought from October 1933 until November 2008. Titles WBA, WBC and WBO Super Middleweight titles and Ring Magazine recognition as Light Heavyweight Champion. Made 21 defences of the WBO title. Longest reigning super middle weight champion having held the WBO title for over ten years. Was British amateur champion three times.
Some sources have Jack McAuliffe from Cork who won the American version of the lightweight title as having been unbeaten in 53 fights but his International Hall of Fame biography gives him 36 “Official” fights so I have gone with that. Only Mayweather, Marciano and Calzaghe won all of their fights.
Fighters with the longest unbeaten run at the start of their career but lost subsequent fights. Top 10 are:
1) Jimmy Wilde 95 (93-0-2)
Wales. Born 15 May 1892. Died 10 March 1969. Work in the mines at the age of 12. First professional fight January 1911. He suffered his first career loss in 1915 by TKO in 17 rounds against Scotsman Tancy Lee in a fight for the British European and IBU world titles (Lee’s record at the time 17-1). Because of the wide weight difference of 8-10lbs Wilde weighed in fully clothed. Scored 99 wins by KO/TKO. Final career record 132-3-.1.
2) Julio Cesar Chavez 90 (89-0-1)
Ciudad Obregon, Mexico. Born 12 July 1962. First professional fight February 19 80. He suffered his first professional loss in January 1994 against Frankie Randall (Randall’s record at the time (48-2-1). A three division champion he took part in 37 world title fights going 31-4-2. Chavez’s run of 87 consecutive wins is a record. Final career record 107-6-2.
3) Jamie Gine 76 (69-0-7)
Charata, Argentina. Born 10 April 1933. Died 11 February 2008. Argentinian and South American Lightweight Champion. First professional fight February 1954. He suffered his first loss in February 1960 against Nicolino Locche (Locche’s record at the time 8-1-3).Final career record 90-9-16.
4) Gustav Scholz 68 (64-0-4)
Berlin, Germany. Born 12 April 1030. Died 21 August 2000. First professional fight October 1948. He suffered his first loss in March 1958 against Charles Humez (Humez’s record at the time (92-6-1). Titles won: German Welterweight and Middleweight, European Middleweight and Light Heavyweight. He turned pro with no amateur experience. Went into films and TV after finishing with boxing. Final career record 88-2-6.
5) Nino Benvenuti 65 (65-0)
Italian, born Izola which was Italian at the time of Benvenuti’s birth but is now Slovenian. Born 26 April 1938. First professional fight January 1961. He suffered his first loss in June 1966 against Ki-Soo Kim in South Korea (Kim’s record at the time 22-0-2). Benvenuti had beaten Kim at the 1960 Olympics). Titles won: World Light Middleweight and Middleweight, European Middleweight, Italian Middleweight. Won gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Games and was reportedly unbeaten in 120 amateur fights. After boxing went into films, business and politics. He was 2-1 in fights with Emile Griffith with Griffith standing as a godfather to one of Benvenuti’s sons. Final career record 82-7-1.
6) Willie Pep 62 (62-0)
Middleton, USA. Real name Guglielmo Papaleo. Born 19 September 1922.Died 23 November 2006. First professional fight July 1940. He suffered his first loss in March 1943 against Sammy Angott (Angott’s record at the time 69-17-5). Titles won World Featherweight, New York State Athletic Commission version of world featherweight. A former shoeshine boy. Served as a referee and inspector after he retired. Final career record 229-11-1.
6 tied) Ruben Olivares 62 (61-0-1)
Mexico City, Mexico. Born 14 January 1947.First fight January 1965. He suffered his first loss October 1970 against Chucho Castillo (Castillo’s record at the time 40-9-2). He scored 57 wins by KO/TKO in those 62 fights. Titles won: World Bantamweight WBA and WBC Featherweight. Turner pro at 17 after being omitted from the Mexican team for the 1964 Olympics. He took part in 14 world title fights. Final career record 89-13-3.
8) Billy Graham 58 (52-0-6)
New York, USA: Born 9 September 1922. Died 22 January 1992. First fight April 1941. He suffered his first loss in September 1949 against Tony Pellone (Pellone’s record at the time 17-5-5). Won no world titles. Faced Kid Gavilan twice in title bouts losing to the Cuban for the National Boxing Association version of the welterweight title and later for the recognised world title. Beat Sugar Ray Robinson as an amateur and was never knocked down in any of his 126 pro fights, Final career record 102-15-9.
9) Nino LaRocca 57(57-0)
Italy, born Mauritania 8 April 1959. Died 14 September 1978.Real name Cheid Tidjani Sidibe. First fight September 1978. He suffered his first loss in February 1984 against Gilles Elbilia in a challenge for the European title. LaRocca lost due to a bad cut. Won 23 of his first 25 fights by KO/TKO. Lost to Donald Curry in a challenge for the IBF and WBA welterweight titles in 1984 but won the European title by beating Kirkland Laing in 1989. He retired in 1990 but twice chained himself to railings in front of public buildings when he was refused permission to fight again in 1998.Final career record 74-6-0.
10) Kid Chocolate 56 (55-0-1)
Havana, Cuba. Born 6 January 1910. Died 8 August 1988. Real name Eligio Sardinias Montalvo. First fight October 1927. He suffered his first loss in August 1930 against Jack “Kid” Berg (Berg’s record at the time 81-4-5). There is some doubt over the first two fights on his record which are described as semi-professional but I have included them. Titles: National Boxing Association version of World Junior Lightweight title which was at the time accepted as the world title, New York State Athletic Commission version of World Featherweight, Coloured World Featherweight title. He was 25-0-3 in his final 28 fights before retiring. Final career record 136-10-6.
10 tied) Luis Ramon Campas 56 (56-0)
Navojoa, Mexico. “Yori Boy” Born 6 August 1971. First fight July 1987. He suffered his first loss in September 1994 against Felix Trinidad (Trinidad’s record at the time 23-0). World titles: IBF Super Welterweight. Turner pro at 15. He won 50 of those first 56 fights by KO/TKO. Reached the 100 fights milestone in 2012 and continues to be active. Current career record 106-17-3.
10 tied) Lulu Costantino 56 (52-0-4)
New York, USA. Born 10 January 1923. Died July 1981. Real name Carlo Joseph Costantino. First fight April 1939. He suffered his first loss in May 1942 against Chalky Wright (Wright’s record at the time 127-31-17). World titles: None. Lost to Wright September 1942 for World Featherweight title. His fight with Tippy Larkin in 1944 was the first time that the judge’s scores were announced along with the decision. Final career record 102-28-6.
Others who went 50 or more fights before their first loss but just did not make the cut: Waldemiro Pinto, Brazil 55 (52-0-3),Tom Bogs Denmark 54 (53-0-1,Gustavo Ballas Argentina 54 (53-0-1),Ernie Maurer Scotland/Canada 54 (49-5),Carlos Zarate Mexico 52 (52-0),Pascual Perez Argentina 52 (51-0-1), Tony Licata USA 52 (49-0-3),Del Flanagan USA 52 (51-0-1),Henry Woods USA 51(47-0-4), Chris John Indonesia 51 48-0-3,Jorge Jose Fernandez Argentina 50 (49-0-1), Eder Jofre Brazil 50 (47-0-3) Freddie Pope USA 50 (46-0-4),Hein Domgoergen Germany)50 (46-0-4).
Note: Some sources have Ansel Bell (USA) as undefeated in his first 67 fights (55-0-12) and others at 42 (35-0-7) so he is either No 5 to which I give most credence or not in the top 20.
Fighters with the longest unbeaten run at any time in their career top 20:
1) Jimmy Wilde 95 at the start of his career. Final career record 139-4-1.See Section B entry above.
2) Pedro Carrasco, 93 (92-0-1)
Alosno, Spain. Born 11 July 1943. Died 27 January 2001. From the time of his losing to Aldo Pravisiani in March 1964 when Carrasco’s record fell to 11-1-1 until he lost his WBC lightweight title to Mando Ramos in February 1972 he was undefeated in 93 fights including a run of 83 consecutive wins. He became the second Spaniard to hold a world title when he beat Ramos in 1971 when on the canvas with Ramos being disqualified for an illegal punch. His final career record was 106-3-2.
3) Ray Robinson, USA: 91 (89-0-2)
Born Georgia, USA. Born 3 May 1921. Died 12 April 1989. Real name Walker Smith Jr. From the time of his losing to Jake LaMotta in February 1943 when his record fell to 40-1 until he lost his World Middleweight title to Randy Turpin in July 1951 he was undefeated in 91 fights. The Turpin fight was his seventh in a two month tour of European rings. He was eventually 4-1 in a series of fights with LaMotta and beat Turpin in a return fight. From turning pro until his defeat against Turpin Robinson had lost only once, to LaMotta, in 132 fights. He scored 109 wins by KO/TKO. Final career record 174-19-6, 2 ND.
4) Julio Cesar Chavez 90 at the start of his career. Final career record 107-6-2. See Section B entry above
5) Carlos Monzon 80 (71-0-9)
San Javier, Argentina. Born 7 August 1942. Died 8 January 1995.From when he lost to Alberto Massi in October 1964 when his record fell to 16-3 until he retired in July 1977 he was undefeated with 71 wins and 9 draws. He was 73-6-8 in 87 amateur fights. He had a darker side requiring surgery after one wife shot him in the leg and he was imprisoned for homicide over the death of another wife. He died in a car accident whilst on furlough from prison. He made 14 title defences. His final career record was 87-3-9
6) Jamie Gine 76 at the start of his career. Final career record 90-9-16. See Section B entry above
7) Willie Pep 73 (72-0-1)From March 1943 when he lost to Sammy Angott when his record was 61-1 until he lost his world featherweight title to Sandy Saddler in October 1948 he was unbeaten in 73 fights. See No 16 in Section B above which covers his 62 bout winning run from the start of his career which gives Pep an amazing achievement of only one loss in his first 136 fights.
8) Dulio Loi 72 (67-0-5)
Trieste, Italy: Born 29 April 1929. Died 20 January 2008.From August 1952 when he lost to Jorgen Johansen when his record fell to 35-1-2 until June 1960 when he lost to Carlos Ortiz in a challenge for the World Lightweight title he was undefeated in 72 fights. He beat Ortiz in May 1961 to win the title. Final career record was 115-3-8.
9 ) Hal Bagwell 68 (63-0-5)
Gloucester, England: Born 18 December 1920. Died 9 May 2001. From August 1938 when he lost to Johnny King when his record fell to 30-1-3 until November 1948 when he lost to Morry Jones he was unbeaten in 68 fights. Some sources credited Bagwell with an unbeaten run of 180 fights but Bagwell distanced himself from such a claim. He had his first professional fight in February 1935 and his last in December 1949 and whilst 180 fights might seem possible at a stretch over those fifteen years between July 1939 and March 1946 he had only one fight as he served in the Armed Forces and was at both Dunkirk and Tobruk (as was my father) and the figure of 68 fights unbeaten is generally accepted as accurate. Final career record 100-5-8 but he only ever fought for an Area title and never the British title.
9 tied) Gustavo Scholz 68 at the start of his career. See Section B above. Final career record 88-2-6
11) Nino Benvenuti 65 at the start of his career. See Section B above. Final career record 82-7-1.
12) Willie Pep 62 at the start of his career. See Section B above. Final carer record 229-11-1.
12 tied) Salvatore Burruni 62
Alghero, Italy. Bon 11 April 1933. Died 30 March 2004. From March 1960 when he lost to Albert Younsi when his record fell to 19-3-1 until August 1965 when he lost to Horacio Accavallo after 62 consecutive wins. As an amateur he was twice World Military Champion and competed at the 1956 Olympic Games. Final career record 99-9-1.
14) Ruben Olivares 62 at the start of his career. See Section B above, Final career record 89-13-3.
15 ) Bruno Arcari 61(60-0-1)
Atina, Italy. Born 1 January 1942. From August 1966 when he lost to Massimo Consolati and his record fell to 10-2 until he retired in July 1978 including 57 consecutive wins before a draw with Rocky Mattioli in April 1976. He lost on a cut in his first bout in the 1964 Olympic Games and also lost on a cut in his first professional fight. He won the European Super Lightweight title in 1968 and the WBC Super Light title in 1970 and made nine defences of the WBC title before relinquishing it in 1974.
16) Billy Graham 58 (52-0-6)
New York, USA. At the start of his career. See No 8 in Section B above.
17) Nicolino Locche 57 (54-0-3)
Tunyan, Argentina. Born 2 September 1939. Died 7 September 2005. From November 1964 when he lost to Abel Laudonio and his record fell to 52-2-11 until he lost his WBA super light title to Alfonso Frazer in March 1972. Previously Locche had an unbeaten run of 55 fights (45-0-10) between losing to Vicente Derado in November 1959 until his loss to Laudonio so lost just once in those 112 fights. He won the WBC Super Lightweight title in 1968 in his 106th fight and defended it six times. Known as “The Untouchable” for his defensive skills he was also known to occasionally take a puff at a cigarette in his corner during fights. Final career record 117-4-14.
18) Young Stribling 56 (55-0-1)
Georgia, USA. Born 26 December 1904. Died 3 October 1933.From May1927 when he lost to Tommy Loughran and his record fell to 159-10-6 until he lost in a heavyweight title eliminator against Jack Sharkey in February 1929. He was a multi-talented individual. His level of activity was exceptional. As an example he had 35 fights in 1925 and 39 in 1928. He turned pro at 16 and was just 28 when he died as a result of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident so he crammed 253 fights into twelve years. He lost only once by KO/TKO and that was in a fight for the NABA heavyweight title against Max Schmeling with the fight being stopped just 14 seconds before the final bell. Fought a draw with Mike McTigue for the world light heavyweight title in 1923. Stribling was initially declared the winner so was world champion for one hour before the referee changed his decision to a draw saying that his original decision was made under duress. Lost to Paul Berlenbach for the world light heavyweight title in 1926In his first year as a pro he won the Georgia State title as a featherweight and fought in every division up to including heavyweight which would be an eleven division span these days. Scored 129 wins by KO/TKO Career record 224-13-14,2No Decisions
18 tied) Maxie Docusen 56 (54-0-2)
New Orleans, USA. Born 15 November 1928. Died 27 November 1944. From September 1945 when he lost to Beau Davis when his record fell to 11-1-1 until he lost to Guillermo Gimenez in January 1950. He never fought for a title but was a huge favourite at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles where he fought 20 times during his unbeaten run. He was of Filipino/American stock and his brother Bernard challenged Sugar Ray Robinson for the welterweight title in 1948. Both Maxie and Bernard were prevented from fighting in some States because they were registered as “ coloured” (African American) but in 1949 a judge ruled they were “half white” which erased that restriction. Career record 76-6-3.
18 tied) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam 56 (56-0)
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. From July 1996 when he lost to Jerry Pahayahay and his record fell to 9-2 until July 2007 when he lost his WBC flyweight title to Daisuke Naito he scored 56 consecutive wins. His loss to Naito came in his eighteenth title defence. He regained the title by beating Naito in 2008. Career record 90-5-2.
Others who did not make the cut:
Freddie Miller (USA) 54, Jose Legra (Cuba) 54, Pedro Montanez (Puerto Rico) 52, Harry Matthews (USA) 52, Ricardo Lopez (Mexico) 52,Carlos Zarate (Mexico), 52,Del Flanagan (USA) 52,Freddie Russo (USA) 51,Tiberio Mitri (Italy) 51, Tony Licata (USA) 51,
Notes: I have ignored No Decisions and newspapers decisions. Some sources credit Packey McFarland as having an unbeaten run of 97 fights but BoxRec shows him as 70-0-5 but then on the alphabetical page shows him as 106-1-6 which may reflect No Decisions and newspapers decisions. His Hall of Fame entry shows him as 105-1-6 and I don’t feel confident enough to know where to put him in this list and there is similar confusion regarding the record of Ad Wolgast.
D) Fighters who are currently unbeaten and could fight their way into list A, B or C:
1) Wanheng 49 (49-0)
Maha Sarakhan, Thailand. Born 27 October 1985-32yo.Real name Chayaphon Moonsri. WBC Minimumweight Champion. Eight title defences. Seems certain to enter the A) top list if he retires undefeated and could be as high as No 2. Needs another seven wins to get on to the B) and C) lists.
2) Deontay Wilder 39 (39-0)
Tuscaloosa, USA. Born 22 October 1985-32yo. WBC Heavyweight Champion. Six title defences. Thirty-eight wins by KO/TKO. To get on the A) list and replace Joe Calzaghe he will have to get through another eight fights undefeated before retiring. Can’t see him wanting to hand around for another 17 fights to get on the B) and C) lists.
3) Gennady Golovkin 38 (37-0-1)
Karaganda, Kazakhstan. Born 8 April 1982-35yo. IBF, WBA and WBC Middleweight Champion. Three defences IBF title, ten defences of WBA Secondary title, nine defences full WBA title, three defences of interim WBC title, three defences full WBC title. Thirty-three wins by KO/TKO. To get on the A) list and replace Calzaghe he will need to stay unbeaten through nine more fights and no way will he want to still be fighting for another 18 fights to get on the B) and C) lists.
3 tied) Teerachai 38 (38-0)
Born Buriram, Thailand. Born 21 March 1992-25yo. Real name Tewa Kiram. PABA Welterweight Champion. Six defences of interim PABA title twenty-six defences of full PABA title. Fights Lucas Matthysse for vacant secondary WBA welterweight title on 27 January. Young enough to fight for another ten years but as yet untested.
5) Mikey Garcia 37 (37-0)
Ventura, USA. Real name Miguel Angel Garcia. Born 15 December 1987-30yo. Former WBO featherweight champion who lost the title on the scales in what was to be his first defence. Former WBO Super Featherweight Champion made one defence then vacated the title. Currently WBC Lightweight Champion. Challenges Sergey Lipinets for the IBF Super Lightweight title on 10 February. Questionable whether he will want to hang around for another ten fights to make the A) list but could do.
6) Gilberto Ramirez 36 (36-0)
Mazatlan, Mexico. Born 19 June 1991-26yo. WBO Super Middleweight Champion. Two defences. Defends the title against Habib Ahmed on 3 February. Has the ability and the time to make the lists but with just one fight in 2016 and two in 2017 his activity level would need to increase considerably.
6 tied) Emiliano Marsili 36 (35-0-1)
Civitavecchia, Italy. Born 11 August 1976-41yo. Former undefeated Italian and European Lightweight Champion. Won his last 24 fights. Age against him breaking into any of the lists.
8 ) Terry Flanagan 33 (33-0)
Lancashire, England. Born 11 June 1989-28yo. Former undefeated WBO lightweight Champion. Made five title defences before relinquishing the title in October 2017. Need 13 wins to get into the lists but at an average of 3 to 4 fights a year may not hang around long enough.
9) Terrence Crawford 32 (32-0)
Omaha, USA. Born 28 September 1987-30yo. Former undefeated WBO lightweight Champion made two defences. WBO Super Lightweight Champion made six defences. WBC Super Lightweight Champion made three defences. Won IBF and WBA Super Lightweight titles with victory over Julius Indongo August 2017 but relinquished the IBF and WBA titles without making a defence and also vacated the WBO title. Has the ability but at a level of 2-3 fights a year has a long way to go.
10) Konstantin Ponomarev 32 (32-0)
Miass, Russia. Born 17 October 1992-25yo. Former undefeated NABF welterweight champion. Has wins over some useful but not top level fighters. Is young enough to build a long unbeaten run but we won’t know his full potential until he faces stiffer opposition and again with only two or three fights a year will struggle to get into the
A),B) or C) lists.
According to BoxRec there are approximately 21, 000 active professional boxers in the world and whilst that seems plenty the level of activity is miles away from that of the last century. Back in the early 1900’s to late 1950’s there was a different level of motive and opportunity. Events such as two world wars and economic depression meant that for much of that time even the “affluent” world saw hardship and financial necessity pushing people into boxing. The rewards were low but that also meant that boxing shows were not expensive entertainment. Promoting as often as possible and paying as little as possible was the strategy and that in turn presented the need and the opportunity for boxers at all levels to fight often. Today it is almost unheard off for a world rated fighter to fight ten times in a year but when Sugar Ray Robinson won the world title in December 1948 he won it in his 16th fight of that year. He continued a high level of activity such that when he lost his middleweight title to Randy Turpin it was in his seventh fight in two months. We will never see that level of activity again and certainly not the level shown in Young Stribling’s career but there are still thousands of young men and women out there who will come to see boxing as a way out of poverty and hardship and there will always be the lure of money and fame but these can be achieved in less than twenty fights rather than the 105 it took Nicolino Locche to get to a world title. Times have changed.
I have drawn from many sources in putting these lists together and I will be amazed if there are no errors or omissions. Any error or omission is down to me and not to that dedicated body of boxing enthusiasts who spend hours in libraries in well known and obscure places scouring newspapers and other sources to try to establish the complete records of boxers from the past. I beg their forgiveness’ for attempting the above and salute them for their dedication.
By Eric Armit
The retirement of Miguel Cotto sees one of the modern greats move to the wings leaving a secure legacy behind him. His achievement have been outstanding, They started 20 years ago with a gold medal at the Pan American Championships in 1997 and in 2004 he won his first world title, the WBO light welter crown. Since then has gone on and on with the WBA welter title in 2006, the WBO welter title in 2009, the WBA super welter title in 2010, the WBC middle title in 2014 and the WBO super welter title in 2017. Six world title in four different divisions. He is 20-6 in world title fights and 16-5 against former, current and future champions. He lost only twice inside the distance to Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao. In the fight after his loss to Margarito was found using a substance to harden his hand bandages and there has to be a high probability that Margarito use the same dangerous material when stopping Cotto. Yes he lost his last fight but it seems likely that was influenced by a bicep injury suffered in the seventh round. He had won rounds six, seven and eight on all three cards but after that his work rate dropped dramatically; he rarely used his left arm and lost all of the remaining rounds on all three cards. Hopefully he won’t feel he needs to have one more fight to try to end on a winning note. He does not need to do that his legacy is already written in stone-and he never ducked anyone. He has his other life as a promoter so let’s hope that keeps him busy.
The last decade saw the “Four Kings” Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran. This decade has given us Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao. Being around at the same time has helped each of them to establish their greatness. Do we have a fourth? Juan Manuel Marquez perhaps, a seven-time champion across four divisions being 1-2-1 in four fights with Manny Pacquiao but a loser against Mayweather is a good candidate. There’s Tim Bradley who was 1-2 against Pacquiao and beat Marquez. His title defence against Ruslan Provodnikov was voted Fight of the Year by Ring Magazine, the Boxing Writers Association of America and Sports Illustrated. Shane Mosley a five-time world champion across four divisions but he did not beat any of the other three “Kings” and lost to Cotto, Mayweather and Pacquiao. I also have severe reservations over Mosley regard to the BACO scandal. You choose.
Heavyweights very much in the news with Tony Bellew vs. David Haye on and Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker near to confirmation. Bellew vs. Haye will be on 5 May at the O2 arena in London but no venue yet for Joshua vs. Parker. If Joshua wins he will turn the clock back to when Wlad Klitschko simultaneously held the IBF, WBA and WBO titles. It would be a massive fight if Joshua won and went on to fight Deontay Wilder which would give us a universally recognised champion. There have been universally recognised champions in the past but since the WBO title was introduced in 1989. no heavyweight has ever held the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO titles simultaneously
The International Hall of Fame Class of 2018 has been announced and it includes Vitali Klitschko, Eric Morales and Ronald Wright in the Modern category fighters and German promoter Klaus-Peter Kohl and broadcasters Steve Albert and Jim Gray in the Non-participants and Observers categories. Every fight fan should visit the Hall at least once. I remember finishing a conversation with Ruben Olivares (through an interpreter) and when I looked around there were the now sorely missed Alexis Arguello and Aaron Pryor with another much missed Angelo Dundee sitting signing copies of his book. A fans fantasy land
Once again the sport shows that it is incapable of dealing strongly enough with boxers giving positive tests. Luis Ortiz tested positive for a banned substance for the second time. The WBA removed him from their ratings. The WBC had Ortiz medical background examined in detail and declared “The WBC Board of Governors hereby ratifies the Prior Ruling’s finding that Mr. Ortiz` failure to disclose his ingestion of prescribed high blood medication constitutes a violation of the WBC CBP Protocol, and confirms the $25,000 USD fine.” So Ortiz was taking medicine to deal with high blood pressure. The VADA, the WBC’s partners in the testing States in its Eligibility, Requirements, and Results Management Policy Section IIB” It is each athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his or her body. Athletes are responsible for any prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers found to be present in their biological samples. Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing use on the Athlete’s part be demonstrated in order to establish a doping violation”. On that basis failing to declare he was taking the medicine is the offence the WBC have addressed. The far more important doping violation is one they have failed to address. They have failed to act in accordance with the VADA Policy and Ortiz has been allowed to slip out from under with a slap on the wrist. Ortiz fights on Saturday so he will get his $25,000 back and remains in line for a million dollar plus purse for fighting Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua. The only approach that will work is stringent testing and a zero tolerance stance based on Section IIB.
The WBC have clashed with HBO over the Orlando Salido vs. Miguel Roman fight with the WBC having agreed it as a fight for the vacant WBC interim super feather title and HBO saying for their schedule they want it to be over ten rounds. Rightly the WBC refused to sanction a ten round “world” title fight so the fight still goes ahead with HBO but as a ten round non-title fight. This is the real world where he who pays the piper calls the tune so HBO get their way. The puzzle now is what happens to the WBC interim title. They can’t give any recognition to the winner so will have to sort out another interim title pairing but it shows that in a money vs. title (particularly an interim title) money wins all the way.
No sooner had Germany finished celebrating that in Manuel Charr they had their first world heavyweight champion since Max Schmelling beat Joe Louis in 1938 than the embarrassment kicked in. Turns out that the Syrian-born Charr does not have a German passport and is not yet a German citizen oops!
The undercard to the 13 December WBO title fight between Jeff Horn and Gary Corcoran is naturally going to have a very Australian flavour. Rohan Murdoch (20-1), Nathaniel May (18-1), former world heavyweight title challenger Alex Leapai (OK he was born in Samoa but let’s not worry about that), former IBF champion Leonardo Zappavigna and Paul Fleming (24-0) and Shannon O’Connell will all be facing imported fighters.
Despite all of the publicity surrounding Horn’s victory over Manny Pacquiao boxing is still not a very high profile sport in Australia. Finding fight reports even in leading papers can be hard and in many big newspapers boxing can be found only after slogging through cricket, Australian Rules football, rugby, horse racing, netball etc.
Good to see the dates being rolled out for the cruiserweight semi-finals of the WBSS tournament. On 27 January Mairis Breidis will have home advantage in Riga against the tournament favourite Alek Usyk but don’t rule out a Briedis win. The other semi-final will be in Sochi Russian on 3 February where Murat Gassiev will be the one with home advantage against Cuban Yunier Dorticos. I expect a Usyk vs. Gassiev final. With Dorticos being Cuban he will have to wait awhile before he ever has the chance of a home fight but it can only be a matter of time before professional boxing returns to Cuba.
So sad to read of former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe in such dire straits. He has been declared bankrupt a couple of times and has now published an appeal for money as he is in danger of losing his home. He needs to find $100,000 but has already sold all of his boxing trophies to get out of previous financial difficulties There are plenty of trainer to teach you to box but very few people to teach you how to look after your money and the number of your friends often decreases in direct proportion to your declining finances. There are some out there who try to help such as the Retired Boxers Foundation led by Alex Ramos but Bowe is in too deep for even their help.
Better news for another heavyweight champion as filming has begun about the life of former WBA champion Gerrie Coetzee. The South African recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hollywood and African Prestigious Awards in California. It is claimed the Denzel Washington will be in the film-but not playing Coetzee naturally. Coetzee actually had the last fight of his career in Hollywood in 1997 when he lost to Iran Barkley.
Former IBF super feather champion Steve Forbes is running his initial show in Portland, Oregon on Sunday. It will be the first show in Portland for more than twelve years and Steve is hoping it will be the first in a series of shows. I have good friend Fred Ryan who runs a great gym in Portland Steve if you are looking for quality fighters. No charge for the plug Fred!
I see that Eleider Alvarez has accepted step-aside money so that Adonis Stevenson can defend his WBA light heavy title against Badou Jack. Step-aside money used to be a regular feature in the fight game. The classic case concerned Tim Witherspoon, Tony Tubbs and Frank Bruno. Witherspoon had beaten Tubbs for the WBA heavyweight title in a fight that was so bad no one was even faintly interested in putting it on but the WBA had mandated a return. Meanwhile Mickey Duff was trying to get Bruno a fight for the title. Allegedly Don Kin went to Tubbs and told him he would get next to nothing for the Witherspoon return as nobody wanted it but that he could get Tubbs some step aside money and quoted him a figure. Let’s say $A dollars. He then went to Witherspoon and told him that fighting Tubbs would be a financial disaster but that he could get a big purse for fighting Bruno. However Tubbs was insisting on $ A x 2 to stand aside. He then went to Duff and told him he could get the Witherspoon fight but that Tubbs wanted $A x 3 to stand aside. Duff agreed and King got $A x 5 and gave Tubbs $A.
Zab Judah is in the picture again. The former three-division world champion is working in partnership with a Western Canadian boxing promotional outfit DEKADA. Judah will fight on their first show in Calgary on 27 January with the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino hosting what they hope will be the first of a series of shows.
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.