By David Martinez
If you were around then, as I was, you know that it was fifty years ago this month that Cassius Clay (now known as Muhammad Ali) shocked the world by stopping Sonny Liston to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
The stoppage came after six complete rounds; but when the bell sounded to begin the seventh round Liston remained on the stool, not able to continue. The fight officially went into the record books as a seventh round knockout win for the young, brash confident 21 year old champion, Cassius Clay.
Liston was a 7 to 1 favorite that night and all the experts, myself included, picked him to retain his title. February 25, 1964 was truly a memorable day in boxing history, one that will be remembered forever!
By Tom Donelson / Member Boxing Writers Association
Boxing is one of those sports that seem forever on its death bed only to rise again and certainly 2012 was a good year and so far 2013 have seen some classic bouts with a whole new generation of fighters making their marks. The question is can Boxing capitalize on its increase popularity?
Let begin with what has happen on the positive side. The improvement of Showtime and the addition of NBC Sports network have added to the televised coverage. Let’s begin with emergence of Showtime as the major player in the Sport today. Showtime for years have adopted a strategy of concentrating on specific weight divisions and their SHOBOX series allowed the network to build up new stars. Now with coordination with CBS, Showtime has a network television outlet to promote fights to go with the Showtime family. Showtime has added a new twist they borrowed from their MMA competitors when they broadcast a big event. They have preliminary bouts on Showtime Extreme where many of their young fighters can be exposed to a wider population. ShoBox, the Next Generation has served as promoting stars of the future and Showtime Extreme allows some of those young fighters to be on undercard of bigger events. Fans have an entire evening of boxing to enjoy and Showtime is able to promote stars of the future while putting on great main events with the stars of today.
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.
By Jim Amato
Senior Boxing Writer
The history of great boxers to come out of the fine state of Ohio is rich and glorious. Many came well before my time. Jimmy Bivins and Johnny Risko. Joey Maxim, Paul Pirrone and the great Ezzard Charles. Need I go on?
In my time that stretches back some forty years, this state has produced a fine array of talent in several weight classes.
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!