Category Archives: History

Peter Jackson

*** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on August 24, 2012 

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By David Martinez / Boxing Historian /

I agree with most boxing historians before me, that had Peter Jackson been born white, he would have been heavyweight champion in the John L. Sullivan era. In the late 1800’s Jackson never received a world title bout because of Sullivan’s refusal to fight black fighters, so racial prejudice was the only thing that kept Jackson from his chance to win the heavyweight crown.

Jackson was a true pioneer and the first black heavyweight, before Jack Johnson, that set the stage for the top recognition of the black boxers, which was before the turn of the 20th century.

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The 25 Greatest Boxers of All Time


By David Martinez / Boxing Historian /

I have been asked by many who I consider the greatest boxers of all time. I have my top, dynamite-dozen (12), greatest “pound for pound” listed alphabetically in my bio in the menu section of this website since its inception in July 2007, but not in order by ranking.

In this article, I rank these great fighters at the absolute prime/height/peak/pinnacle of their careers. I am not concerned with who-beat-who, and there is no bias shown for favorite fighters.  For example, my two personal favorites are Marvin Hagler and Alexis Arguello; they were great but didn’t make the list.

The fighters that I have listed can be switched around to suit your ranking, but I truly believe that these twenty-five are in that first tier. The second tier of twenty-five includes, just to name a few, Hagler, Arguello, Sugar Ray Leonard, Aaron Pryor, Julio Cesar Chavez, Ruben Olivares, Carlos Zarate, George Dixon, Abe Attell, Jose Napoles, Terry McGovern, Bob Foster, Sandy Saddler, Fighting Harada, Flash Elorde and Tommy Ryan.

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Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries “FIGHT OF THE CENTURY”

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Heavyweight Champion James J. Jeffries
Image from original cigar box, circa 1900
(gift to David Martinez from Al Nelson, Boxing Historian, 1972)
***** FLASHBACK – this article originally appeared on on July 2, 2010

By David Martinez / Boxing Historian

July 4, 2010 will mark the 100th anniversary of Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries, “Fight of the Century”, for the heavyweight championship of the world.

Leading up to this fight, Jeffries won the title in 1899 against Bob Fitzsimmons and after defeating all challengers he retired undefeated in 1905. Johnson won the title in 1908 against Tommy Burns to become the first black fighter to win the coveted crown.

The build up to this fight was nothing less than controversial with a white champion coming out of a five-year retirement to try to win the title back from a black champion.

Scheduled for 45 rounds, the fight took place in Reno, Nevada on July 4, 1910, with Tex Rickard as the promoter and referee. Prior to the fight, Rickard had invited United States president William Howard Taft to be the referee, but Taft declined.
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Frazier vs. Ali – Fight of the Century

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By David Martinez /

Last week was a date that I will never forget in boxing – March 8th. It was 45 years ago that Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali fought in the Fight of the Century.

The bout was the most eagerly anticipated championship fight that I have ever been involved with in my 55 years in boxing. Two unbeaten fighters, both having legitimate claims to the heavyweight title, Frazier (26-0 / 23 by KO) and Ali 31-0 / 25 by KO).

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The Greatest Boxers From Each Country


By David Martinez / Boxing Historian /

Picking the greatest boxers of all time, from different countries around the world, was really an easy and fun task. Over the years I have researched this topic at great length and interviewed many people. I have spoken to the older generations of fans and fighters who personally saw many of the boxers fight that were before my time. Their expertise and the input they offered was invaluable.

For each fighter my main basis for ranking them was the height, peak, prime, and pinnacle of their careers regardless of weight or eras in which they fought. The level of their competition played a huge factor, but not necessarily their ring record.
Alphabetically by geographic area/country, here are my picks, with the runners up included:

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World Colored Heavyweight Championship

***** FLASHBACK ~ This article originally appeared on in November 2012

By David Martinez / Boxing Historian

Let me bring you a feature story that you will probably not read any where regarding, all together, the five best black heavyweights at the turn of the 20th century.

I got the idea when I over heard some mutual friends talking about the best black baseball players that never got the chance to play in the major leagues, and had to settle playing against each other in the old negro league.

I have rated many boxers in many categories throughout my over 50 years of boxing … on this website alone you will find that I have rated the best heavyweights, the best lightweights, the best Mexicans fighters, and now I will personally rate the best black heavyweights in a time period that but only one of them, Jack Johnson, had the opportunity to fight for the heavyweight championship.

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Best Punchers – The Heavyweights

*** FLASHBACK ~ This article originally appeared on in June 2012

By David Martinez /

Here is my list of the 15 best punchers in the heavyweight division from the start of the Marquis of Queensberry era, (i.e.) 1892 to the present.  A formula that I am using to help illustrate this for each boxer is to show their percentage of knockouts which is calculated by the number of wins they had with the number of knockouts in those wins.  This formula isn’t intended to determine the order in which I have placed them; the order also includes my opinion of them as punchers.

I am not concerned about “who beat who”, how many times they were knocked out themselves or the results if they would have fought each other.  Their physical size or if they were a world champion has no bearing – this is strictly based on strength of punching power with the opponents they fought.  Why isn’t Muhammad Ali on this list?  Personally, I would take Ali to beat any of these punchers on my list – but mostly by decision wins and not by knockouts.  When I write rankings of boxers in any capacity I always get disagreements and feedback, so please know that I respect your opinions, and hope you will respect mine.

#1) Joe Louis (66 wins / 52 by KO = 78.7 %) Heavyweight champion 1940-1949. Defended title a record 25 times. He was a smooth, deadly puncher with tremendous power in either hand. His combinations had perfect accuracy with overwhelming power.

#2) George Foreman (76 wins / 69 by KO = 90.7 %) Two time heavyweight champion 1973-1974 and 1994-1997. He is recognized as one of the hardest hitters ever in boxing in any weight division. He is forth on my list in the percentage category of knockouts.

#3) Sonny Liston (50 wins / 39 by KO – 78.0 %) Heavyweight champion 1962-1964. The most intimidating heavyweight ever, his left jab alone was so powerful that it knocked opponents out – the jab – and his left hook was nothing less than devastating.

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Marvelous Marvin Hagler

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By David Martinez /

My favorite and the second best middleweight (160 lbs.) champion, next to Carlos Monzon, that I have seen in the past half century (50 years) in boxing is Marvin Hagler (62-3-2 / 52 by KO).

The greatest middleweight and “pound for pound” boxer EVER was Sugar Ray Robinson.

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A southpaw, Hagler threw a lead right hand jab that was absolutely and unbelievably devastating. His round one with Thomas Hearns and round six with John Mugabi were highlight reels for every boxing fan.

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Hagler vs. Hearns – REVISITED

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By David Martinez /

April 15th is approaching this coming week and most think of it as ‘Tax Day’, which is rightfully so. But, I think otherwise to April 15, 1985 – The Fight of the Year, The Round of the Year (round one), and The Fight of the Decade (eighties) – Marvin Hagler (60-2-2 / 50 by KO) vs. Thomas Hearns (40-1 / 34 by KO) for the ‘undisputed’ middleweight championship of the world at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

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Hagler, normally a slow starter, came out at the opening bell pinning Hearns to the ropes. Hearns threw a devastating right that stunned Hagler for a moment, as both began to trade power punches with knockout intentions. Hagler stunned Hearns with a hard left hand, becoming the aggressor, as the two continued to trade power punches. This vicious action continued, and suddenly Hagler developed a cut on his forehead, but that didn’t stop him as he pinned Hearns to the ropes and continued his assault, hurting Hearns as that blistering round ended.

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The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 2 of 2)

I am delighted to bring you a feature article that was published on in August 2012, and is one of my favorites.  It is about a historic venue that I remember growing up as a kid; I attended many boxing and wrestling matches there.  My friend Bob Quackenbush captures it all in his excellent piece.  This is part two, as part one was just posted last week for your viewing.

By Bob Quackenbush /

olympic auditorium 1970s The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue  (Part 2 of 2)

Though boxing was the sport that put the Olympic Auditorium on the map, legions of young fans in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s remember this place as the hallowed ground of Championship Wrestling.  Throughout the 1930’s, matches were held there regularly; but with the growth of television, later wrestlers such as Gorgeous George, Lou Thesz, Count Billy Varga, Freddie Blassie, the Destroyer, Mr. Moto, Mil Mascaras, Bobo Brazil, John “the Golden Greek” Tolos, Harold Sakata (who played the role of Odd Job in the movie “Goldfinger”), and Rocky Johnson (father of Duane “the Rock” Johnson) became household names.  Presided over by an actor-turned newscaster-turned sports announcer, the great Dick “Whoa Nellie” Lane, they were incredible shows in the pre-WWF days.

Continue reading The Olympic Auditorium: A Look Back at a Grand Venue (Part 2 of 2)