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.
FOR SALE: My friend, Joey Olmos, the former Chief Inspector of the California State Athletic Commission, is selling boxing statues. The statues are of various boxers and highlighted by a statue of John L. Sullivan (4′ tall / 150 pounds). These are unique items from his collection for the avid collector.
If interested, and on behalf of Joey, I will gladly assist you through this website at email address firstname.lastname@example.org Please reference the subject as “boxing statues” when contacting me.
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.
by Bob Quackenbush / dmboxing.com
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.
by Bob Quackenbush / dmboxing.com
In the world of championship boxing, the arenas which host the bouts quite often become nearly as famous as the warriors which graced their canvas stages. Those which come to mind are legendary venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York City, Cobo Arena in Detroit, the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, and more recently, the Las Vegas sites such as Caesar’s Palace, the MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay.
For boxing fans in Southern California, though, one name stands out when it comes to the sweet science: the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. The edifice was constructed in 1924 in preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games of 1932 (the location at 1801 South Grand Avenue led to its later name of the Grand Olympic Auditorium). At the opening ceremonies on August 25, 1925, celebrities such as screen legend Rudolph Valentino and boxing champion Jack Dempsey were in attendance. Dempsey had also turned over a spade of soil at the official ground breaking ceremony prior to construction.
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.
#4) Rocky Marciano (49 wins / 43 by KO = 87.7 %) Heavyweight champion 1952-1956. He retired undefeated. Had limited skills and had a weight disadvantage, but his tremendous will to win overshadowed that with bigger opponents; his fights averaged a remarkable fewer than 5 rounds per bout. Was responsible for the greatest knockout in heavyweight history in his 1952 title win over Jersey Joe Walcott in round 13 despite being behind on all scorecards.
The date was May 24, 1974 when Bobby “Schoolboy” Chacon and Danny “Little Red” Lopez met in the ring for a long awaited and most anticipated bout between two Southern California rising stars. I was there that night ringside and sitting next to me was HBO Real Sports host Bryant Gumbel – who at that time was a sportscaster for KNBC channel 4 in Los Angeles. The mega match was promoted by “the first lady of boxing” Aileen Eaton and was held at the L.A. Sports Arena with a crowd of over 16,000 in attendance. Chacon was 23-1 entering the fight and Lopez was a perfect 23-0 with 21 of those bouts ending by knockout.
The two fighters lived up to all the hype and staged an action packed fight up to the ninth round, where Chacon scored a spectacular knockout stopping the previously undefeated Lopez in 48 seconds of that round. Both would go on to win world championships, Chacon the WBC Featherweight (1974-75) and the WBC Super Featherweight (1982-84) titles and Lopez the WBC Featherweight (1976-80) title.
Knowing both of these champions personally, I am happy to announce that they are the best of friends and hold the highest respect for each other. What’s amazing is that fight fans still talk and rave about their fight – 38 years ago!
In the fifty years I have been connected to boxing, I have been blessed to have met some wonderful people in the sport and Eddie Perkins is one of those wonderful people. Eddie passed away on the evening of May 10, 2012 at his home surrounded by family; he was 75.
I had the esteemed honor to be chosen to be Eddie’s presenter when he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame on October 14, 2006. His wife, Annie, and his entire family were present and it was such a pleasure meeting this loving family. For that event I put together Eddie’s bio for the official progarm regarding his induction into boxing’s elilte and now would now like to bring back what I wrote in 2006 honoring Eddie.
May his soul rest in peace in heaven with the Lord.
Eddie Perkins might just have been the best welterweight champion that many boxing fans never knew about, he fought for three decades against the top rated contenders of his time and about half of his 97 bouts were fought in various foreign countries outside the United States. All seven of his Junior Welterweight title fights (1961-1965) were fought outside the United States.
Eddie was born in Mississippi and moved to the windy city of Chicago when he was four years old and had an amateur bout span of 46 fights before turning pro in 1956, known thoughout his career as a very slick boxer and counter puncher, was only stopped once (Al Urbina in Mexico City 11-28-59) in 97 professional fights as a professional.
Eddie’s first bid for a world title in October 1961 was against Duilo Loi, who only had two losses on his ring record in 113 fights. The bout was in Loi’s home town of Milan, Italy and it resulted in a 15 round draw – thus Loi retaining his title.
In their next fight in September 1962 Eddie won the WBA Junior Welterweight championship with a convincing 15 round decision over Loi, again in his home town of Milan, Italy. They fought a third time a mere three months later in December when Eddie lost the title to Loi via 15 round decision.
Eddie reagined the WBA / WBC title in June 1963 when he fought Roberto Cruz in his home country, Manila, Philippines. He knocked Cruz down in the very first round to win a unanimous 15 round decison.
Eddie made two successful title defenses, both in the opponents home land countries (Yoshinor Takahashi / Tokyo, Japan and Bunny Grant / Kingston, Jamaica) before traveling to Caracas, Venezuela in Januray 1965 to defend his title against home town opponent Carlos Hernandez. This was a fight that referee Henry Armstrong said “was the worst instance of partiality I have seen in my 35 years of boxing”. Armstrong scored the fight unanimously for Perkins, only to be-out voted by two Venezuelan judges.
In Januray 1973, Eddie fought and won the North American Boxing Federation title from a much younger Armando Muniz (Eddie was just shy of 36 years old) and also won the rematch a year later in 1974.
Eddie Perkins, a two time Junior Welterweight world champion, officially retired from boxing in June 1975 with a ring record: 74-20-2 / 2 NC (21 by KO).