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The 50 Greatest Welterweights of All-Time Part Five: 10-1

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 by Matt McGrain

It's the end.

I can't say I'm sorry.  Separating this mix of animals and geniuses was almost as difficult as ordering and researching the cracking fighters that make the lower reaches of this list, and those who barely missed out.  The top ten is supposed to be a bit of a gimmee once the groundwork has been done in the earlier parts, but the mere ordering kept me awake at night.  This was the best I could do with the information I've processed over the past few months.  Give me another few months and we'll make a start on the monsters at lightweight – possible competition for the ultra-stacked middleweight division.

For now, listen.

This, is how I have them:

 

#10 –  Ted “Kid” Lewis (192-32-14; Newspaper Decisions 40-14-10)

 

Originally, I ranked Ted “Kid” Lewis below Tommy Ryan. Then I crunched the numbers. Lewis engaged in twenty-seven world championship fights at the weight. He lost nine of these – but for the most part, these were to the deadly Jack Britton, a fighter he had the atrocious luck to share an era with and with whom he fought the most incredible series in boxing history. They met nineteen times, and although Britton got the best of this astonishing series, the very fact that they were deemed good enough to be matched so often over a period of just six years, and almost exclusively for the welterweight championship of the world, speaks volumes.

Lewis was perhaps the ultimate marauder at the weight and certainly he has only Joe Walcott and Mickey Walker for company; a jackal of a fighter who placed his opponents under relentless pressure with a view to breaking, outworking or stopping them. Aggressive to a fault, perpetual motion was a philosophy he embraced as completely as anyone since the heyday of Harry Greb.  Lewis fought eighteen times in 1918, twelve times in 1919, eleven times in 1920, winning an overwhelming majority of these contests. In his peak year of 1917, he was generally held to have received the nod in four consecutive no-decisions against Britton. A two-time welterweight champion of the world, he achieved this feat despite sharing an era with a great fighter who was also his stylistic kryptonite. Taken in tandem with what is perhaps the most impressive longevity of any swarmer, at any weight, fifteen victories in title fights and a consistently impressive level of  welterweight opposition, a spot just inside the top-ten is his due.

Other Top Fifty Welterweights Defeated: Mike Glover (#37), Jack Britton (3).

#09 – Floyd Mayweather (49-0)

 

Floyd Mayweather is a divisive figure, to put it lightly. For his legion of devoted fans, he is nothing less than the greatest fighter in history and, presumably, the greatest welterweight, too.  For those that seek to undermine him — due, in many cases, to personal disdain for one of boxing’s more unpleasant characters — he belongs nowhere near the top ten welterweights in history. This being the case, I’ve endeavored to stay away, as far as it is possible in this entry, from opinion.  I’ll deal in fact.

Floyd Mayweather defeated more ranked welterweight contenders than Thomas Hearns (rankings by Ring/TBRB). He defeated more top five contenders than almost anyone outside the top ten, aside from the likes of Jackie Fields – but Fields also lost to a handful of welterweights.  Mayweather was unbeaten.

Mayweather defeated more welterweight lineal champions than Barney Ross. Working by the scorecards of the judges he was, for the most part, in non-competitive fights at the weight. He made a past-prime Manny Pacquiao, his #1 contender at the weight, look like a journeyman. He defeated more #1 ranked fighters (champions or top rated contenders) than all but the most storied of fighters. He boxed only three unranked men at the weight, two of whom were soft touches (Sharmba Mitchell, his first fight at the weight, and Andre Berto) and Ricky Hatton, the light-welterweight champion of the world and universally recognized pound-for-pounder, who he knocked out. 

He was one of the few men to become a two-time lineal world-welterweight champion and the only man who ever did it without losing a fight, coming out of retirement to do what Barbados Joe Walcott and Benny Leonard both failed to do. During his welterweight career, moments of true danger were extremely rare; he was run close just once, in the first fight with Marcos Rene Maidana, a narrow victory he rendered wide in the rematch. 

What Mayweather didn’t do was beat everyone who was available. He probably should have taken on Antonio Margarito, and Paul Williams was ranked very near the top when he was active in the division. That said, fighters who beat everyone available are close to non-existent. But if it pleases, you can zip on down to the entry on Henry Armstrong to read about a worse offender. 

Nor did Mayweather show either great longevity (at the weight) or have the opportunity to beat another great welterweight, outside of Manny Pacquiao, who he had a chance to meet in his prime and failed to do so (for whatever reason). This is why Mayweather is not #1, nor anywhere near it. The top ten is well within his range however, which I make somewhere between fourteen and eight.

Outside of the ring he was an arrogant, loudmouthed, woman-beating bully bereft of class.  Inside the ring he was a genius.

Other Top Fifty Welterweights Defeated: Shane Mosley (#29), Manny Pacquiao (#22).

#08 – Tommy Hearns (61-5-1)

 

I have often wondered if any fighter, ever, at any weight, was blessed with such a combination of speed, power and laser-guided accuracy as Thomas Hearns. I think one could construct an argument that yes, Ray Robinson outmatches him in a combined sense over these three key departments – but who else, really, matched the lightning speed with which Hearns lashed out a one-two, the frightening effect those punches had on even the hardest of men, and the terrifying regularity with which he dropped the second punch in a combination on the same spot as the discombobulating first? What else but a combination of extraordinary and raw attributes could have carried Hearns all the way from welterweight to cruiserweight? What else could have made him the most feared puncher in a division that contained Pipino Cuevas, who he met in 1980 having scored twenty-six knockouts in twenty-eight fights, most of them early? 

Whatever the detail, Hearns was never more terrifying than when laying out Cuevas, who had not been stopped since his professional debut nearly ten years earlier. Hearns stalked the belt-holder relentlessly and hurt him with every right hand he landed. Cuevas was reduced to feinting, covering up on the ropes and, humiliatingly, running away from his vastly superior opponent.  This meeting between Cuevas, one of the best welterweights of his era, and Hearns, a comparative novice, was non-competitive. Taking a huge step-up in class, Hearns looked like he had been boxing at title-level for years. 

This was not the case, but he had been meeting ranked contenders for some time, taking on Commonwealth champion Clyde Gray in just his fifteenth fight. Gray was a perfect opponent for the green Hearns, game but limited, and the prospect exposed the veteran’s limitations in the tenth and final round, in part because Gray, to his credit, stopped running and went for the knockout.

Between Gray and Cuevas, Hearns beat the resistance out of former belt-holder Angel Espada so casually and one-sidedly that it felt more like sparring than a title-eliminator. This is also the fight in which Tommy’s jab matured; quick, unerringly pointed and bone-rattling, it was a punch that defined and decided the contest – although it was yet another horrible series of right hands, including a digging uppercut to the mid-riff, that sent Espada to the canvas three times before the end of the fourth.

After Cuevas, Tommy’s key contests were against Luis Primera with whom he tested his footwork and even his punch-resistance against an outclassed opponent but one who refused to be cowed and lasted six rounds, and against Randy Shields. Shields had gone a gutsy fifteen with Cuevas eighteen months earlier but here he found a new kind of bravery to extend Hearns to twelve, whereupon he was rescued due to cuts above both eyes. This was a rough fight and a fight in which Hearns, finally, had his engine tested, had his generalship tested, but questions remained: could a really good fighter take advantage of these less stellar attributes?

No. A good fighter, no, never. A good fighter would get his face kicked in by Tommy Hearns, always. But a great fighter – a great fighter might find a way. Ray Leonard found a way in 1981 when these two finally collided, with barely five-minutes remaining in a fight in which Hearns led on all cards. This result gives me pause. Hearns, like Ted Kid Lewis who is ranked at #10, has a high spot without having actually been the finest welterweight of his generation. How high is too high for a generational number two?

The answer is #2 – a slot occupied by Archie Moore on the corresponding list at light-heavyweight despite his having been defeated three times by the #1, Ezzard Charles. So for Hearns, and for Lewis, a high ranking is possible. Hearns probably hits his roof here – but how, really, to rank him behind Floyd Mayweather who seems so utterly, utterly chanceless against him had they, instead of Leonard, shared an era?

Other Top Fifty Welterweights Defeated: Pipino Cuevas (#35)

#07 – Kid Gavilan (108-30-5)

 

Kid Gavilan was probably impossible to out-brawl at 147lbs. He had a collection of attributes that flat-out negated that style. Active, poised, a brilliant general and a terror on the inside, he had a granite jaw and an unsurpassed engine that enabled him to out-work and out-think just about anyone who came to him. He had to be outboxed; in his stunning prime in 1951, 1952 and 1953, during which he reigned as the world’s 147lb champion, no welterweight of any style was able to defeat him.

Unlike Mayweather and Hearns, Gavilan had and matched the competition to prove his irrevocable greatness and my sense is that for this reason we find, at #7, new heights of achievement within the welterweight ranks. Gavilan’s run against a murderer’s row of top five-ranked talent began before his true prime however, when he matched Tommy Bell in 1948. Bell had dropped Sugar Ray Robinson for a count two years earlier and although Sugar Ray had rocked back off the canvas to take a fifteen round decision, Bell was credited with providing Robinson with tough opposition. Despite the fact he had started to slip, Bell had ambitions of matching Robinson once more but it was the underdog Gavilan who emerged with the victory.  So it was he who got not one, but two stabs at Robinson, fending off the wonderful Ike Williams on two occasions in between receiving two invaluable lessons in boxing from Sugar. 

In the wake of these, and other hard lessons, his prime began, probably with a split-decision victory over Billy Graham in late 1950. This was revenge for Gavilan, who lost a controversial split against Graham earlier in the year. The two met four times; Gavilan won the series 3-1 but there was no definitive victor in any of their contests until their fourth and final fight when Gavilan boxed Graham to a standstill. The following year, 1951, Gavilan had hoisted the title Robinson had left behind him when he departed for middleweight and in addition to Graham, repelled Bobby Dykes, Gil Turner, number five contender Chuck Davey (in what passes for a soft-touch for Gavilan, but also a fighter he utterly destroyed), Johnny Bratton and Carmen Basilio before the wear and tear began to show. 

Basilio accounted for some of that wear and tear; their fight was a fascinating surge and ebb of flow. A truly great general, Gavilan forced Basilio to wait whether he was taking tiny shuffling steps, waiting, circling, or a mixture of the three. He chose when and how Basilio would fight him, whether he was winning the fifteenth almost entirely with his left hand, or hashing it out up close with one of the division’s best infighters. As good on the inside as the outside and truly exceptional at controlling which of those distances the fight would be fought at, Gavilan is a fine herald for the coming of the greatest welterweights of all time.

Other Top Fifty Welterweights Defeated: Billy Graham (#31), Carmen Basilio (#21).

#06 – Henry Armstrong (151-21-9)

 

Henry Armstrong was a monstrous welterweight and a natural 135 pounder. This makes for a confusing title reign.

It's confusing in three parts. First, Armstrong made a habit of fighting lightweights in welterweight title defenses. He contested the 147lb title against Baby Arizmendi in a 1939 defense that was thrilling, bloody but staged against a fighter who weighed 135.5lbs. Davey Day weighed 136lbs. Lew Feldman, 134. There are other examples. One can only imagine the reaction should Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao have taken a welterweight title or strap and then defended it against a series of 135lb men. 

Armstrong himself was often barely above the lightweight limit but that is not the point. The point is, Armstrong wasn't exposed to the true rigors of the welterweight division in these contests. So yes, Armstrong staged a lot of defences, and he was a busy champion, but a handful of these contests were fought against fighters who, frankly, were not welterweights. He was also given to boxing title-matches with fighters who were not qualified to be in such contests. Howard Scott had lost six in six when he got the call. Phil Furr had lost three of his last four.  There were quality defences, but a lot of chaff.

Finally, Armstrong's management – stress that, not Armstrong, his management – didn't seem keen on taking on some of the tougher challenges available. Charley Burley was repeatedly told that Armstrong was to depart for lightweight and so a title fight was not possible, only to box match after match at the weight. Cocoa Kid was, perhaps, deserving of a shot and no shot materialized. The tiny Joe Gnouly, 3-4 in his last seven, did get a title fight, however.

All of this said, Armstrong's destruction of Barney Ross was terrifying. He mangled Ross when he took the championship in 1938. He defeated #1 contender Ceferino Garcia in his first, thrilling title defense, a war fought toe-to-toe. And perhaps that is the point. Armstrong, like Mickey Walker before him, did not make any great concession in style when he met these bigger men. He did what he always did, swarmed all over them trying to dominate and out-land them.  It was a frightening strategy but he made it work throughout one of the busiest title reigns in history. More, he continued battering contenders even after he lost his championship to Zivic, even beating his usurper in a third non-title fight. This is incredible longevity for such a busy fighter employing such an aggressive, killing style.

But I stand by a ranking that may be considered a little lower than expected. It is impossible to imagine a top ten without him, but given the wonderful quality of fighter that lies above, I can't quite squeeze him into the top five.

Other Top Fifty Welterweights Defeated: Fritzie Zivic (#30), Barney Ross (#15),

#05 – Emile Griffith (85-24-2)

 

In just his sixteenth fight, Emile Griffith met the legendary Friday Night Fights veteran Gaspar Ortega. It was an astonishing move but one that Griffith’s trainer and right hand, Gil Clancy, seemed relaxed about. Griffith won a split decision; he rewarded Ortega's efforts with a second fight, a year later by which time Griffith was the welterweight champion of the world. The beating he administered his old foe was brutal and one-sided, Griffith’s left hook a terrifying specter throughout.

Jorge Jose Fernandez, another veteran of enormous experience and also dangerous punching ability, met Griffith early too; Fernandez was unlucky to drop a split so Griffith immediately rematched him and turned matador, slipping, ducking, moving and punching his way to a decision. Fernandez received the same questionable reward for that first tough fight that Ortega did, Griffith winning a weird rematch by ninth round TKO after landing a low blow. 

He was a kindly, humble soul and Clancy described his frustration at watching Griffith hold back if he liked his opponent or felt sorry for him. But properly motivated, he was a machine; a lethal combination of strength, maul, beautiful accuracy and a total grasp of the technical aspects of the sport, for all that he adapted them for awkward, practical purposes. Griffith may be the most difficult fighter on this list to actually fight.

“Any title I have I don’t believe in putting it on the shelf,” Griffith would say. “I believe in letting the other guy have a crack at it.” When people label Griffith inconsistent, it is worth keeping this quote in mind. 

Griffith met Luis Manuel Rodriguez four times, Benny Paret three times, Jorge Jose Fernandez three times, Ralph Dupas twice, Gaspar Ortega twice, Eddie Pace, Jose Stable, Brian Curvis and the terrifying puncher Florentino Fernandez. Of course he lost a few.  But in welterweight title fights he is 10-3; of the losses, there was the brave past-prime effort against the great Jose Napoles (had he won that, Griffith would be ranked #2), a questionable decision loss to Benny Paret, avenged, and finally a dropped decision to all time-great head-to-head monster Rodriguez, which he also avenged – and because that decision was questioned, he fought and beat him again. He was a three-time lineal champion not because of inconsistency but because he fought the best and with the single exception of Jose Napoles, he beat the best.

Other Top Fifty Welterweights Defeated: Benny Paret (#47), Luis Manuel Rodriguez (#18),

#04 – Jose Napoles (81-7)

 

Jose Napoles was run out of Cuba by Fidel Castro’s ban on professional sports. Mexico welcomed him with open arms and as is so often the case, the massed banditry of Mexican opposition hued a fighter made of stone. Napoles emerged from twin-educations in the boxing hotbeds of Cuba and Mexico tough, schooled and savvy to the point of brilliance. He was also ready to box for the welterweight championship, then in the hands of the brilliant Curtis Cokes.

Few welterweights were blessed with a left hand better than Cokes, but Napoles was such a man; even this, however, couldn't entirely explain the outcome of their April 1969 contest. Cokes won not a round on my card and the judges found only one or two for him, before he quit on his stool at the end of the thirteenth, the finish line in sight. It was possibly the most consummate title-winning effort in history, at any weight; it may also have been the definitive boxing clinic ever performed. Napoles was effortless in his excellence, doubling up the jab even when he missed, hitting something with the second, an arm, a glove, making him difficult to counter. He added a right and when Cokes was forced to let him inside despite a reach advantage of two inches, a diet of double-handed uppercuts his reward. Meanwhile the Cokes left seemed to vanish in thin air as he threw it, Napoles countering him so hard and often that he became afraid to punch. A rematch a few months later saw Cokes quit at the end of the tenth, his face bloody and his right eye swollen almost shut by that hideous, persistent left. He described the same “inability to get going” against Napoles that you sometimes hear from opponents of Floyd Mayweather and Bernard Hopkins. Napoles was able to place the same hex on world-class opposition, but he did it whilst boxing much, much more aggressively.

Having taken the title from a near-great welterweight, Napoles staged his first defense against a true great from the last generation, Emile Griffith. Griffith was past-prime and returning to the welterweight division having swapped the 160lb title back and forth with Nino Benvenuti, but he still had victories over the monstrous Dick Tiger, among others, in his immediate future, making Jose's total dominance of him all the more astonishing. It was not a close fight; it was another wide decision victory for Napoles, who even sent the granite-jawed Griffith to the deck with a neat counter in the third.

A stoppage of the highly ranked Ernie Lopez (who he also beat in a rematch) followed before Jose's single weakness was exposed by Billy Backus; Napoles had a propensity to cut, often exaggerated, but impossible to ignore. He was stopped in the fourth, won a rematch, and then staged an astonishing eleven defenses in a row, before John Stracey stopped him on a cut in 1975 to take his title. Napoles then called it a day.

Had he not suffered that cut against Backus, it is likely that Napoles would have managed sixteen consecutive victories in title fights, boxed generally against a high level of opposition. In Hedgemon Lewis, Ernie Lopez, Emile Griffith, Adolph Pruitt, Roger Menetrey, Billy Backus, Cyde Gray and Curtis Cokes he dispatched a wonderful collection of competition ranked in the division's top five, to say nothing of men such as Horacio Saldano and Armando Muniz, who were ranked in the bottom half of the top ten. Even carrying such a disadvantage as vulnerable skin, he is likely one of three or four best welterweights ever to have taken to the ring and his legacy is such that a spot outside the top five would seem unreasonable.

Other Top Fifty Welterweights Defeated: Curtis Cokes (#17), Emile Griffith (#5).

#03 – Jack Britton (103-29-20; 137-28-22)

 

Of the men to make the top ten, Jack Britton is the only one of whom I have seen no footage. I'm sad about that.  Britton was likely one of the greatest defensive fighters in history.

Having fought in around 350 contest (that we know of) and having been stopped only once (in an early fight), his chin is confirmed both as granite and hard to reach; having knocked out only one in ten of his recorded opponents, he was also almost entirely without power. Think, for a moment, of the level of skill necessary to become the single greatest welterweight of your generation despite boxing to a schedule that would have pricked Harry Greb's ears over the course of no fewer than four decades and doing it all without a power punch and you begin to understand the absolute wonder that was Britton. 

I once wrote that it is impossible to provide even a cursory explanation of Britton's career on the internet and that if ever a fighter needed a really good book, it is him. In truth, even surmising his drawn out series with Ted “Kid” Lewis, his mortal enemy and a man he repeatedly fought in contesting the welterweight championship, is impossible. The details of these contests, so numerous and closely contested are too numerous to account here, so, in summary: he won. He won numerically but he also staged an almost impossible moral and literal victory. Champions boxing in the teens of the last century could make a vanquished opponent wait as long as they liked for a rematch with usually the market determining if a defeated foe was in line for another crack. Britton, who claimed the title after his defeat of Mike Glover, had been beaten by Lewis for the title. The fledgling American Boxing Association was flexing its newfound muscle, however, and Britton found himself back in the ring with his mortal enemy, this time boxing a draw. He then defeated Lewis in a six-round non-title fight earning him, in the early part of 1919, a re-match for the title.

But there was a complication. Lewis, in keeping with his era, met Britton in a No Decision bout, a bout where no scorecards were rendered and no judges were present, outside of the newspapermen who would often declare a winner in print in their paper's next edition. The only way for the title to pass on to the challenger was for him to knock the champion out. Given Lewis's iron mandible and Britton's lack of power this seemed impossible.

So Britton did the impossible. He stopped Lewis in the ninth round of a scheduled ten, fighting with uncommon spite, dropping Lewis repeatedly before ripping the title from him. He never lost to Lewis again, running away with their series in repeated defeats of his nemesis.

There is so much more to Britton than Lewis but Lewis did define him. Winning the greatest series in boxing history, despite the hyena hounding him for his title, scrapes him past Napoles and into the top three. 

Other Top Fifty Welterweights Defeated: Mike Glover (#37), Ted “Kid” Lewis (#10).

#02 – Ray Leonard (36-3-1)

 

Making himself great in a mere blink of Jack Britton's eye, Leonard required just forty fights to make himself even greater than that welterweight legend and very nearly the greatest of them all.  Sure, he was flashy, anointed, arguably blessed with an arrogance equalled only by his physical gifts and led a private life every bit as objectionable as that of Floyd Mayweather (with a healthy cocaine habit tossed in for good measure), but Leonard isn't a pre-eminent boxer due to his fame or his infamy. Leonard was a true fistic great.

He began battering ranked contenders in 1978 at just 13-0, taking on one Floyd Mayweather Sr. and stopping him in ten. This is a mature performance for such a green fighter, Leonard giving up his wonderful jab in favor of mid-range two-handed aggressive fighting, the right move against a non-puncher with brittle hands. Randy Shields went next, losing a ten round decision in a surprisingly dirty fight which even saw the referee replaced after he was cut while trying to separate the fighters during an exchange. When he stopped the excellent John Gant in eight in the first month of 1979, he had defeated three ranked men in little over four months. This is important; compared to most of the men on this list, Leonard hardly boxed a career – what is significant is that he defeated more ranked contenders than most of them. Leonard didn't hang around and his rush through the division, once it began, was a destructive one. Pete Ranzany, stopped in four; Andy Price crushed in one; Davey Green and Bruce Finch, too, were butchered without offering much in the way of resistance. Common-garden contenders just weren't able to extend Leonard – he was too good.

But the three results that really make Leonard an all-time great welterweight were posted against the other three all-time great fighters he met at the poundage. Wilfred Benitez, the Puerto-Rican defensive genius and welterweight champion of the world was up first; Leonard boxed brilliantly and within himself, out-waiting and out-jabbing his brilliant foe from the outside, opening up and hurting him frequently between the third and the fifteenth, when he dropped, then stopped Benitez on his feet with mere seconds of the fight remaining. This busy, rather brutal fifteenth confirmed his engine and his ring generalship, which always appeared solid but now seemed supernatural.

 That would be called into question by the next great he met in the ring as he seemed determined to fight the savage Roberto Duran toe-to-toe. Duran taught Leonard his last great lesson; he took it to heart and completely bamboozled his much more experienced opponent with a fleet-footed box-moving style in the rematch. Last up was Thomas Hearns; Hearns, as described above was a quick-handed power-punching master-boxer; Leonard was out-boxed, found a new gear and totaled the suddenly giraffe-like Hearns in the fourteenth round.

Leonard once described himself as a dancer who could punch; I like that, but I'd probably term him a puncher that could dance. He obliterated Hearns in the dying minutes of a fight he was losing, the only welterweight ever to turn the trick. He was also the only welterweight ever to stop Benitez, and, technically, Duran, who was also only stopped at higher weights.

He can almost be called the most well-rounded and dangerous 147lb man in history.

Almost.

Other Top Fifty Welterweights Defeated: Wilfed Benitez (#34), Roberto Duran (#20), Tommy Hearns (#8).

 

#01 – Sugar Ray Robinson (173-19-6)

If Ray Leonard rocketed through the welterweight division and to the title, Sugar Ray Robinson was forced to take a different approach. Denied a title shot by champions Red Cochrane and Marty Servo, Robinson instead set up a slaughterhouse on the champion's lawn and performed summary executions of ranked men while the curtains feverishly twitched.

His career as an executioner got off to a rocky start in a close one with Fritzie Zivic; at least one ringsider thought the veteran deserved a draw with the tall, lightning-fisted prospect. So Robinson re-matched him. Impressed with Fritzie's impressive ability “to make a man butt open his own eye,” Robinson was careful in the clinches and worked hard to the body. Physically brilliant he was learning the fistic arts at great pace; a fighter who had fought him close in October of 1941 didn't make it out of the tenth in January of 1942.

Maxie Berger was in the process of transitioning from contender to gatekeeper when Robinson slaughtered him that February in two; he became the first man to stop the #10 welterweight in the world when he was matched with Norman Rubio in March; he nearly beheaded Tony Motisi, also ranked, when he caught him with a perfect left-hook in the first round of their August meeting. More testing opponents followed in the shape of Izzy Jannazzo, Jackie Wilson and Ralph Zanelli but in truth, only Wilson extended him. Jannazzo didn't win a round and Zannelli, though game and aggressive, did not receive more than three of the ten rounds on any card seen by this writer.

Then, Henry Armstrong.

Much has been written about Armstrong's meeting with Robinson. For the most part, the notion is that Armstrong was busted, a shadow of his former self. Certainly, he was past his prime but he had several good victories over stiff competition ahead of him (after a brief retirement). More, he had defeated the excellent Willie Joyce and the great Sammy Angott earlier the same year; Armstrong was no longer his lethal self but he was still a highly ranked welterweight contender capable of beating fine fighters. Robinson, according to some sources, did not lose a single minute of a single round to Henry Armstrong.  It was a shut-out.

Victories over ranked men Jimmy McDaniels and Sammy Angott (who fought his way to contendership after Armstrong defeated him) followed. All this, before he even came to the title.  No champion would give Robinson the shot but when Servo vacated the title, there was no logic that could keep Sugar from the championship ring that would start a new and glittering lineage.  More than one contender declined to meet Robinson for his coronation such was his withering reputation, but former victim Tommy Bell stepped up. To his credit, he turned that coronation into a hard night's work, but Robinson scrambled from the canvas after a 7-count suffered in the early part of the fight to win a wide decision. Five defenses followed, including one against the great Kid Gavilan who Robinson outpointed twice. 

Over the years Robinson has become the de-facto #1 at welterweight which has perhaps obscured the wonderful work he did in the division before he became the champion. If something is not in doubt the temptation is not to look at the detail.

The detail is overwhelmingly in his favor. Ray Robinson is clearly the greatest of the welterweights; unbeaten in a division stuffed with excellent fighters, he departed it to run amok among the middleweights. One imagines the terrorized victims of his rampage at 147lbs were not sad to see the back of him. 

His equal has never since walked the earth.

 

Other Top Fifty Welterweights Defeated: Fritzie Zivic (#30), Kid Gavilan (#7), Henry Armstrong (#6).

 

 

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A Pearl from the Boxing Vault: Fritzie Zivic Will See You Now 

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“He was a great teacher,” said Billy Conn. “[Fighting Zivic] was like going to college for five years, just boxing him ten rounds…”

Fritzie Zivic never asked why. He never asked if his opponent hit hard, if his opponent deserved the shot, if the opponent would be tough. He just said “yes” and signed the contract. While [Jake] LaMotta, who somehow gained the reputation for fearlessness of which Zivic was more deserving, was asked about Charley Burley, he is supposed to have muttered “Why do I need Burley when I have Zivic?” Zivic, of course, stepped out of his weight class to lose an under-celebrated series with LaMotta, and was one of the few top white contenders to ever meet the avoided Burley.

Perhaps this fearlessness is the reason why Zivic may have fought a better array of boxers than any fighter in history. In addition to the multiple contests with LaMotta and Burley, he met Kid Azteca, Bob Montgomery, Beau Jack, Henry Armstrong, Freddie Cochrane, Lew Jenkins, Izzy Jannazzo, Phil Furr, Bummy Davis, Sammy Angott, Lou Ambers and Jimmy Leto, something very close to a “who’s who” of boxing’s golden age, and he met most of them more than once. He didn’t always win, but he always gave his all and for this the people and the promoters of his hometown of Pittsburgh and beyond loved him. Other fighters? Not so much.

“He’s the dirtiest fighter I ever met,” claimed Charley Burley after his disputed points loss in their first fight. “He thumbed me over and over again.”

“When you fight for a living,” Zivic would explain years later, “if you’re smart you fight with every trick you know. If I hadn’t known nine zillion of them I never could have won the welterweight title from Henry Armstrong.”

In the modern era, fighters can come to a title without even matching a top contender. Forty fights is a career. But in the 1940s, it was unusual to see a champion with so few fights, even a young one. Like other trades, to reach the top of the heap a fighter had to become a master craftsman, the tools at his disposal needed to be of the highest quality. To this end, fighters needed to be matched often or tough or both. But there were and are some fighters who can provide a special lesson to that prospect or contender, a boxing lesson that, win or lose, crystallizes the nature of the sport for the man in the opposite corner.

Fritzie Zivic was such a fighter. Unquestionably world class in his own right, Zivic was a quick learner who took his “zillion tricks” and applied them to roughhouse boxing that tested every corner of his opponent, technical, physical and mental. Anybody that beat him looked destined for the top, anyone that lost could still pick up more than a thing or two. Unquestionably teak-tough, a stinging if not prohibitive puncher, he could box inside or out and a tight defense and iron chin kept him to two legitimate stoppage losses in a 232-fight career. But unquestionably, Zivic’s greatest strength were his smarts, the tricks, traps and roughhouse tactics he absorbed like a sponge during his eighteen years in the ring.

In December of 1936, Zivic would teach some of these tricks to a wonder-kid tearing his way up the middleweight division, one Billy Conn. Zivic was not yet in his own absolute prime but he was twenty-three and listed as a veteran of some sixty-eight fights. Still a teenager, Conn would at least have had bulk to fall back on as a substitute for experience, weighing some seven pounds heavier on fight night at just under 157lbs.

Zivic started fast, attacking with both hands and Conn allowed him his way, trying to outbox and outpunch the smaller man in the pocket. This had become Billy’s habit, fighting, as he did, in a fan-friendly manner that had made him Pittsburgh’s favorite prospect. He had been in a desperately close series with resident local tough and brutal infighter “Honey Boy” Jones. According to some, Conn had been lucky to emerge from their third fight with a decision, his inability to adapt costing him dear in points and punches. Now Zivic fought in a style intent on taking advantage of the same flaws Jones had partially exposed, and Billy was paying for it in blood.

“Through two torrid rounds,” wrote Regis Welsh for The Pittsburgh Press, “Fritzie belted Conn to a fare-thee-well, but never quite touched the vital spot. At the end of the second…[Conn] was smeared with blood from a cut on his left cheek and a badly battered mouth.”

The press hadn’t yet been enlightened to Conn’s iron chin and it’s quite possible that Fritzie had found the “vital spot” over and again throughout the fight. As time would tell, even history’s mightiest puncher would struggle to get over on the near invulnerable Conn. However, at the beginning of the third Billy looked “tired, weary and worn out” and “in the fourth and fifth, Zivic, in a rushing charge, bore Conn to neutral ropes and belted him about the head and body until it seemed that the anticipated kayo was inevitable.”

It needs to be said though, that in spite of his fighting the wrong fight, Conn was doing his own good work, mainly to the body. Some reports credit Conn with turning the fight with a body punch as early as the third, but whilst the supposed fight of two halves (Zivic winning the first five, Conn coming back in the second half of the fight) did not occur, it’s unlikely that Conn’s hooks had the supposed affect this early. Only two judges scored the third for Conn, and all three gave Zivic the fourth. Conn wouldn’t win a round on all three judges’ scorecards until the sixth.

It was in the sixth round that Conn cracked, and went outside. In the seventh and eighth Conn “boxed beautifully…he danced, feinted, pranced and punched.”  Zivic, now out of his element as a bullying counterpuncher and destructive infighter struggled to get past Billy’s “piston-like” jab. Conn had been trained for this by defensive specialist Johnny Ray from the very beginning, but he had been unable to make the transition in the ring until Fritzie had forced it. As one would expect, Zivic now changed tactics too, gunning almost exclusively for the body, only hunting Conn with power punches, bringing him the eighth round on one card. In the tenth, they went at it toe-to-toe again. “The boys used everything but knives,” stated the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “A wild-eyed crowd looked on.” The final round was shared on the three official cards resulting in a split decision win for Conn (6-3-1, 5-4-1, 4-5-1).

“From a mile in the rear to a nose in front takes heart in a man or a horse,” wrote Welsh in The Press. “Particularly in a novice of Conn’s immature ring experience against a seasoned veteran of Zivic’s type.”

Zivic’s type indeed! Fritzie was hell on wheels for a young fighter, one that hadn’t seen a top class cutie, never mind a back-alley wizard. But Conn knew what that fight had been worth, and he knew he was the better for it.

“He was a great teacher. [Fighting Zivic] was like going to college for five years, just boxing him ten rounds…I learned a lot in that fight. He’s a tough fighter, but I believe I’m just as tough.”

It’s a double lesson for a relative novice like Conn. First, he remembers every foul, every slither out of sight of the referee, every feint that cost him a round, every dig inside on the break. But it also teaches him that he can take it, that he can get in there with world-class fighters who know more than him and beat them. The first lesson is priceless, but the second can be the key to a career. Over the next twelve months the young Conn, who had struggled so desperately with Honey Boy Jones only three months earlier, would defeat great champions and ring legends such as Teddy Yarosz, Young Corbett III and Vince Dundee before adding Fred Apostoli and Solly Krieger and annexing the world’s light heavyweight title in 1939.

In 1941 he would be matched with the great Joe Louis. It would be unfair to Conn’s great trainer Ray, and to Conn himself, to lay too much credit for Conn’s legendary performance at Zivic’s door, but Conn’s tactics against Louis—mixing careful, punch-picking infighting with beautiful movement and judge of distance on the outside—were basically a more perfect version of the tactics he used in rounds six, seven, eight and nine against Zivic.

As for the teacher, he was naturally disappointed and was keen on a rematch, but fate was to intervene. Zivic would contract pneumonia the following summer whilst training for a match with Vince Dundee.

Chet Smith, then editor of The Pittsburgh Press: “There didn’t seem to be a chance for him…so we collected all we knew about him, wrote it into a story and sent it to the composing room…There were two weeks when it was touch and go with Fritzie, and the hospital folk refused to give out a single cheerful bulletin. We knew of course when he finally came out of the hospital that his boxing days were ended.”

I guess Zivic would have snorted at that. However they build them out in Zivic’s ancestral Croatia, they build them tough because Zivic was not only far from ended as a boxer, he would get better. There were more lessons to give out. The greatest fighter that would ever draw breath, he needed a lesson.

“I learned more in these two fights with Zivic than in all my other fights put together!”

So said Ray Robinson after pulling off the extraordinary feat of stopping Zivic in January of 1942. But this was the second time Zivic, a rarity in that he never discriminated against opposition on the grounds of colour or quality, had met Robinson. The first had occurred when Zivic had already slipped past his absolute prime, in October of 1941.

“It might have been a draw. It was close,” wrote the correspondent for The Telegraph Herald, but Zivic, the heavier man for a change, looked unsurprised at the unanimous decision against him. In the middle rounds he had, to a degree, had his way with Robinson but Sugar’s explosive domination of the ninth had left him struggling and at no time had he solved the Robinson jab. He knew he was beaten. “[Robinson] took a unanimous decision with such a convincing demonstration of speed and power,” wrote United Press ringside reporter Jack Cuddy, “that he will be favored to win the title.”

Robinson was learning from Zivic the same thing Conn had, that he could master a man at the next level, a veteran, a bigger one at that. But he learned more specific and unpleasant lessons in this fight, too.

“He was about the smartest I ever fought,” Robinson would later say in conversation with writer WC Heinz.  “…he showed me how you can make a man butt open his own eye…he’d slip my lead, then he’d put his hand behind my neck and he’d bring my eye down on his head. Fritzie was smart.”

He also taught Ray that he could coast a little in those middle rounds, that at the highest level he didn’t need to put forth every ounce in every moment, that he could let the occasional round go as long as he was paying attention. The same pattern that Sugar used in his first fight with Zivic he would use in his sixth fight with LaMotta, for the middleweight title, contesting the early rounds, easing off in the middle, and finishing so strongly as to stop the unstoppable, lifting the title on a late TKO. He sharpened that tool for the first time against Zivic.

By now Zivic was almost past the stage of teaching fighters of Robinson’s calibre lessons, but he had one more to give in their second fight just three months later.

Firstly, Robinson showed the importance of a lesson learned, nullifying Zivic’s darker arts, like Conn he was a better fighter for his 10 rounds in the ring with Fritzie. He worked hard to the body in clinches he couldn’t contest with craft or strength (something else he would repeat against LaMotta in their title meeting) and he was careful to break clinches at any cost when Zivic looked to utilize those lethal butts. When his opponent tried holding and hitting on the referee’s blindside, instead of trading he would dance away. Robinson had learned that the man who owned the real estate would win the negotiation and Zivic was being outclassed as a result. Of the first six rounds he won perhaps the first. In the seventh though, Robinson momentarily forgot himself and Fritzie delivered his last lesson. As Robinson came in Zivic stepped back and cracked Robinson with a left hook. “It really hurt. I was coming in and it met me on the chin!” Robinson would say afterwards that it was the hardest punch he had ever been hit with, according to The Afro American.

In the middle of the ninth, Robinson dropped Zivic with a perfect mirror image of the punch he had been shown in the seventh, using the right hand to ditch the heavier man as he was on the way in. Up at nine, Zivic never recovered, and although he was likely stopped prematurely in the tenth, he had nothing left to teach, at least not to Sugar. At 28-0, Ray, like Billy before him, saw his 20 rounds with Zivic as nothing less than finishing school for one of the most storied careers in boxing. They are only two of the dozens of fighters that Fritzie took to school, but perhaps they are the gifts he helped in giving that we can be most grateful for.

For the purposes of this article we’ve taken a look at three Zivic losses. I hoped, by looking at his fights with Billy Conn and Sugar Ray, we might see the benefit of letting a top prospect meet a dangerous genius-thug like Fritzie, the self-proclaimed “second dirtiest fighter in history” (he reserved top spot for Harry Greb). But Zivic did lose those fights. Let it not be forgotten then that between losing to Conn and Robinson, Zivic lifted the world’s welterweight title, destroying with a mixture of aggression, uppercuts and that dirty bag of tricks for which he remains famous, one Henry Armstrong. Zivic finished Armstrong as title material, beating him for the championship of the world not once but twice.

A 4-1 underdog, Zivic had been magnanimous about his own chances going in to their opener.

“If I lose it won’t be the first fight I lost, and if I win it, it won’t be the first fight I won.”

But Zivic had learned his own brutal lessons across the years and would be merciless in bringing them to bear. Also, across the years, between his title win and these more enlightened times, Zivic’s achievement in beating Armstrong has been undermined. Armstrong was old. He was past his best. Zivic had to get dirty to do it. All of that may be true, but it needs to be remembered that Armstrong had gone undefeated in thirteen bouts prior to meeting Zivic and that all of these fights were in defence of his welterweight crown, outside of one, his celebrated tilt at a world middleweight title. It needs to be remembered that in the previous three months, Armstrong had knocked out world-class contenders Phil Furr and Lew Jenkins. It needs to be remembered that Armstrong had his own bag of tricks, and that referee Arthur Donovan’s famous refrain, “if you guys wanna fight like that it‘s okay with me” was prompted by an Armstrong foul and not a Zivic one.

Most of all it needs to be remembered that Zivic never asked why, he just signed the contract. Whichever way you want to look at it, they just don’t make them like that anymore.

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Abraham Nova and his Mascot are Back in Action on Friday Night

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With his black beard dyed gold, junior lightweight Abraham Nova is one of boxing’s most recognizable practitioners. Sometimes there’s two of him which makes him stand out even more. His twin is an inflatable mascot painted to look just like him. On fight nights they are inseparable. The mascot shadows Nova on his ringwalk, bouncing up and down and dancing to animate the crowd.

Some gimmicks are just plain hokey. Some are annoying. But there’s something whimsical about Nova’s invention that brings a smile to boxing fans of all ages. “Abraham Nova having his own mascot is one of the coolest things in boxing,” says fight writer Ryan Songalia.

“I played all sports in high school, football, baseball, track, and got the idea of it from other sports,” says Nova of his twin who he unveiled in January of 2020 at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, New York, where he upped his record to 18-0 with a fourth-round stoppage of Mexican journeyman Pedro Navarrete.

He’s 5-2 since then, the smudges coming against future world featherweight champion Robeisy Ramirez (KO by 5) and defending super featherweight world champion O’Shaquie Foster where he came out on the short end of a split decision. This coming Friday, in his first assignment since failing to de-throne Foster, he opposes 21-0 Andres Cortes at the Fontainebleu in Las Vegas on a Top Rank card airing on ESPN+.

“I was the one who asked for this fight,” says Nova. “Top Rank offered me a match on their June 8th Puerto Rican Parade Weekend show at Madison Square Garden against an opponent who was 17-2, but I turned it down and asked for a better opponent and they accommodated me.” Las Vegas native Andres Cortes, who has been profiled in these pages, is ranked #2 at 130 pounds by the WBO.

In common with boxing’s historical pattern, Abraham Nova had a hardscrabble upbringing.

Born in Puerto Rico to parents from the Dominican Republic, the second-youngest of 10 children, he came to the U.S. at the age of 1 where the entire family was initially shoe-horned into a two-bedroom apartment in Albany, New York.

His father, Aquiles, had a friend here who was the pastor of a church and in need of an assistant pastor to help with his growing congregation. Aquiles eventually founded his own church in Albany, The Pentecostal Church of Unity & Prayer where services are held in both Spanish and English.

As a toddler, Nova lived briefly in Guatemala and Mexico where his parents were called to “spread the word” and to assist in redevelopment projects. The family traveled 5,500 miles in a rickety old school bus from Albany to Guatemala during the end days of the Guatemalan Civil War.

Each of Nova’s four brothers boxed, but he was the only one to turn pro. As an amateur, he won the 2015 Olympic Trials Qualifying Tournament in Memphis, defeating Frank Martin and Richardson Hitchins in back-to-back fights, but failed to make the U.S. team for the Rio Games when he lost a split decision to Gary Antuanne Russell at the Olympic Trials in Reno. Those bouts were contested at 141 pounds.

A 30-year-old bachelor, Nova had his final amateur fights in Lowell, Massachusetts, a pillar of amateur boxing in New England, and has remained in the Boston area without losing his Albany identity. He is trained by ex-U.S. Marine Mark DeLuca, a boxer of some renown who sports a 30-4 record and may not be done with fighting quite yet at age 36.

Nova’s opponent, Andres Cortes, has won five of his last seven inside the distance beginning with a smashing first-round knockout of 34-2 Genesis Servania. On paper, it’s a 50-50 match-up. (The pricemakers are flummoxed; as of this writing, they have yet to establish a betting line.)

Abraham Nova’s mascot may never become as well-known as some of the costumed human mascots in college sports (e.g., West Virginia’s Mountaineer or Michigan State’s Sparty), let alone as beloved as the University of Georgia’s flesh-and-blood bulldog mascot Uga, but give the boxer credit for originality and for bringing a little levity to a sport too often besotted with incivility.

Note: Abraham Nova vs. Andres Cortes is the co-feature. In the main go, new Top Rank signee Rafael Espinoza makes the first defense of his WBO world featherweight title against Mexican countryman Sergio Chirino. Espinoza forged the 2023 TSS Upset of the Year when he got off the deck to defeat Robeisy Ramirez on Dec. 9 in Pembroke Pines, Florida, winning legions of fans with his unrelenting buzzsaw attack. Action from the Fontaineblue begins at 4:00 pm PST on ESPN+.

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A True Tale from the Boxing Vault: When the Champion Refused to Fight

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A True Tale from the Boxing Vault: When the Champion Refused to Fight

BY TSS Special Correspondent David Harazduk — A hundred years ago, ducking a worthy challenger wouldn’t simply stoke the ire of the fans, it came with the prospect of jail time.

On Thursday, November 3, 1927, 16,000 fans packed Wrigley Field in Los Angeles hoping to witness their local favorite challenge for the welterweight world championship. Nicknamed the “Nebraska Wildcat,” Ace Hudkins had relocated to the Pacific Coast where his devil-may-care style in the ring made him instantly popular among Angelino fight fans. He was set to battle Joe Dundee, the champion, an Italian immigrant who had settled in Baltimore at a young age. But there was one problem.

The champion refused to fight.

Members of the California boxing commission, along with promoter Dick Donald, raced to the Biltmore Hotel to plead with Dundee (pictured) and his manager Max Waxman to come to Wrigley Field and fight. Waxman steadfastly refused. Donald, a quick-witted cigar-chomping Irishman known as the “Boy Promoter,” had promised Max’s man the ungodly sum of $60,000, and Dundee wouldn’t enter the ring for a penny less.

Under the rules of the California commission, a fighter could only receive a guarantee of $500. The rest of the purse came from a percentage of the gate: 37.5% for the champion and 12.5% for the challenger. Waxman insisted that Donald had offered $60,000, but the commission couldn’t enforce this side deal.

Tickets in the bleachers were sold at $2.20 a pop while those closer to the ring went for $11. The most the gate could possibly produce would be $90,000. Add in Wrigley Field’s 15% usage fee and payments to the preliminary fighters, officials, and even to rent the chairs situated around the ring, and Dundee’s dreams of $60,000- $75,000 if he lost the title- never had a prayer of being realized. After all, 37.5% of $90,000, plus $500, is only $34,250.

Meanwhile, Eddie Mahoney, a preliminary fighter, entered the ring at 8:30pm. Mahoney was scheduled to fight Joe Dundee’s brother Vince, a future middleweight world champion. When Vince didn’t follow Mahoney into the ring, Mahoney soon left, much to the bewilderment of the crowd.

Donald scrambled to find a plan B. He searched for welterweight contender Sergeant Sammy Baker to replace Dundee and fight Hudkins. When Baker couldn’t be located, Donald asked a preliminary fighter, Olympic gold medalist Jackie Fields, to take on Hudkins instead. Hudkins and Fields had been sparring partners when the featherweight champion of the 1924 Games in Paris was a nascent pro back in 1925. Fields’s manager, Gig Rooney, felt Hudkins was too big for the Olympic champ at this stage of his career and preferred to remain on the undercard against San Francisco’s Joey Silver.

With no plan B, Donald and the commissioners went back to Waxman in a last desperate plea to coax Dundee to defend his title. One commissioner, Charles Traung, offered Waxman an additional $10,000 check for Dundee to fight. Waxman stubbornly held out for more.

At 9:20pm, back at Wrigley, Donald signaled Jackie Fields and Joey Silver to enter the ring. Though Fields was wobbled twice, he opened up a cut over Silver’s left eye and split the San Franciscan’s lip on route to a convincing points victory in a ten-rounder. A few minutes after 10pm, Mahoney and Vince Dundee finally entered the ring for their clash. Dundee starched Mahoney inside of two rounds. When Waxman, who also managed Vince, heard of the second-round stoppage, he said “Vince knocked that guy out, eh? I told him to carry him along.” Waxman had hoped to stall for time.

Soon after the end of the Dundee-Mahoney fight, Ace Hudkins waltzed to the ring. He spent fifteen minutes seated in his corner, covered in a bathrobe and towels to keep him warm. Dundee never showed.

At 11:25pm, ring announcer Frank Kerwin slid into the ring and bellowed, “Owing to the fact that Joe Dundee did not receive his guarantee, he refused to go on with his match against Ace Hudkins.” The crowd was advised to “hold their seat checks and watch the newspapers for other announcements.”

The fans didn’t take too kindly to the announcement and hurled those rented chairs in disgust. Fights broke out all over the stadium, spilling into the ring. All available police officers in the area rushed to Wrigley Field, wielding their nightsticks in a bid to subdue the violent mob. Dozens of fans were injured in the fracas. To add insult to injury, those who had paid $2.20 for their seats in the bleachers were out of luck; they had never received a ticket in the first place.

The next day, Waxman and Joe Dundee checked out of the Biltmore Hotel at noon and made their way to the train station. Later that night, they were pulled off an eastbound train at Pasadena and arrested for false advertising.  Waxman posted a $1,000 bond for each of them.

A warrant was issued for Donald on the same false advertising grounds. He phoned into the police station promising to turn himself in once his feelings of humiliation subsided. The police agreed to wait.

Ultimately, all accused would be acquitted. Waxman would return the $22,249.43 that had been placed in his account and an $11,000 check.

Fans didn’t receive refunds as it was deemed unfair to give them only to those who had bought $11 tickets since the gallery patrons had no ticket stub and thus, couldn’t get a refund anyhow. After the preliminary fighters, Wrigley Field, officials, ushers, and the chair rental company were compensated, the rest of the money was placed into a community fund.

Because he had entered the ring for his title challenge, Ace Hudkins declared himself the new champion, but no commission accepted his claim. Dick Donald’s promotional career, once so promising, abruptly ended. In 1935, he took one last gasp in boxing, serving as matchmaker at the famed Olympic Auditorium for a brief spell.

Joe Dundee would never fight in California again. His championship reign ended dishonorably a year and half later when several commissions agreed to strip him of the title for refusing to fight any top contenders. When Jackie Fields won the vacant title, he and Dundee were matched for the undisputed crown on July 25, 1929. With Dundee a two-to-one underdog, Waxman and Dundee bet $50,000 on Joe to win, with fouls canceling the bet. Fields shellacked Dundee, knocking him down twice. In the second round, after the second knockdown, Dundee knew he was licked. He got up and hit Fields low as hard as he could. Dundee was instantly disqualified, losing any claim to the title as disgracefully as his hold-out against Hudkins.

If only some of the alphabet champions of today had to post bail under the threat of jail for ducking contenders, maybe boxing would be in a better state.

EDITOR’S: Author David Harazduk has run The Jewish Boxing Blog since 2010. You can find him at  Twitter/X @JewishBoxing and Instagram @JewishBoxing

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