Though the sport of boxing has historical roots as far back as the Roman Empire, modern boxing can arguably be dated to have begun with the Marquis of Queensbury rules. Additionally, heavyweight championships are widely accepted to have began with Jack Dempsey and the ‘National Boxing Association’ in 1921. From this point onward, the sport of boxing began to demand more skill from its athletes and a new format for fighting bouts was established. The old lean-back stances and bone blocks gave way to new styles, styles as dependent on defense as offense, styles that put emphasis on skill and speed, not just overwhelming power and brute force. With that said, let’s now take a look back at nearly a century of Heavyweight greats…
… and for those who may not have an image based browser, or just love it in plain text. Here is the whole breakdown with a bit more detail.
|July 4, 1919||September 23, 1926||Jack Dempsey||Universal||American|
|September 23, 1926||July 31, 1928||Gene Tunney||Universal||American|
|Tunney announced his retirement from professional boxing on July 31, 1928, relinquishing the championship.|
|June 12, 1930||January 7, 1931||Max Schmeling||Universal||German|
|Schmeling defeated Jack Sharkey to earn universal recognition as champion but was stripped of the NYSAC version of the title in 1931 for refusing a rematch with Sharkey. The NYSAC title remained vacant until the two men eventually did fight in 1932.|
|January 7, 1931||June 21, 1932||Max Schmeling||NBA & IBU||German|
|June 21, 1932||June 29, 1933||Jack Sharkey||Universal||American|
|June 29, 1933||June 14, 1934||Primo Carnera||Universal||Italian|
|June 14, 1934||June 13, 1935||Max Baer||Universal||American|
|In late 1934 the International Boxing Union ordered world champion Max Baer to defend his title against the reigning European champion, Pierre Charles of Belgium. When Baer instead opted to fight James J. Braddock they withdrew recognition of him as champion. The IBU matched Charles with the American heavyweight George Godfrey for their version of the title with the fight taking place in Brussels, Belgium on 2 October 1935. Godfrey won a fifteen round points decision but did not press any claim to the championship and was inactive for the next two years. The IBU then recognized Baer’s successor, James J. Braddock, as champion.|
|June 13, 1935||June 22, 1937||James J. Braddock||Universal||American|
|June 22, 1937||March 1, 1949||Joe Louis||Universal||American|
|As of 2009, Louis still holds the record for holding the title longer than any man (11 years, 8 months and 8 days.)|
|June 22, 1949||September 27, 1950||Ezzard Charles||NBA||American|
|Charles won the vacant National Boxing Association championship in June 1949, but was not universally recognized as champion until June 1951.|
|June 6, 1950||June 16, 1951||Lee Savold||EBU||American|
|On the retirement of Joe Louis in March 1949, the European Boxing Union announced that a fight in May 1949 between Lee Savold of the USA and British champion Bruce Woodcock would determine their version of the world heavyweight title. The NYSAC and the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) also decided to recognize the winner of the fight as their champion but it was postponed for over a year due to injuries Woodcock had suffered in a car crash. The NYSAC decided instead to recognize the winner of the upcoming bout in September 1950 between Ezzard Charles and Joe Louis as their champion. Louis was returning to the ring after an absence of 27 months. When the fight for the EBU and BBBofC world heavyweight titles eventually took place in June 1950, Savold defeated Woodcock in four rounds.|
|September 27, 1950||June 16, 1951||Ezzard Charles||NBA & NYSAC||American|
|June 16, 1951||July 18, 1951||Ezzard Charles||Universal||American|
|Following his defeat to Joe Louis in a non-title fight in June 1951, Lee Savold was no longer recognized as the world heavyweight champion by the EBU and the BBBofC, who both immediately transferred their recognition to Ezzard Charles. Charles therefore became universally recognized as world heavyweight champion.|
|July 18, 1951||September 23, 1952||Jersey Joe Walcott||Universal||American|
|September 23, 1952||November 30, 1956||Rocky Marciano||Universal||American|
|Marciano announced his retirement from professional boxing, relinquishing the championship.|
|November 30, 1956||June 26, 1959||Floyd Patterson||Universal||American|
|June 26, 1959||June 20, 1960||Ingemar Johansson||Universal||Swedish|
|June 20, 1960||September 25, 1962||Floyd Patterson||Universal||American|
|September 25, 1962||February 25, 1964||Sonny Liston||Universal||American|
|February 25, 1964||June 19, 1964||Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali)||Universal||American|
|The WBA and the NYSAC withdrew their recognition of Clay (now known as Muhammad Ali) as champion for agreeing to an immediate rematch against Liston, a violation of the organization’s rules at the time. The WBC and other organizations continued to recognize him. (See Ali versus Liston.)|
|June 19, 1964||February 6, 1967||Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali)||WBC||American|
|March 5, 1965||February 6, 1967||Ernie Terrell||WBA & NYSAC||American|
|February 6, 1967||April 29, 1967||Muhammad Ali||Universal||American|
|The WBA, the NYSAC and several other US state boxing commissions withdrew recognition of Ali as champion for his refusal to be inducted into the United States Army subsequent to being drafted in early 1967.|
|April 29, 1967||March, 1969||Muhammad Ali||WBC||American|
|The WBC eventually followed the lead of the WBA and the NYSAC and stripped Ali of their title in March 1969.|
|March 4, 1968||February 16, 1970||Joe Frazier||NYSAC||American|
|April 28, 1968||February 16, 1970||Jimmy Ellis||WBA||American|
|February 16, 1970||January 22, 1973||Joe Frazier||Universal||American|
|Frazier and Ellis fought on February 16, 1970, at Madison Square Garden, New York. Frazier entered the ring as the holder of NYSAC version of the world title and Ellis held the WBA heavyweight title. The fight was also for the WBC title vacated by Muhammad Ali. Frazier defeated Ellis and was universally recognized as champion. He cemented his reputation upon defeating Muhammad Ali on March 8, 1971.|
|January 22, 1973||October 30, 1974||George Foreman||Universal||American|
|October 30, 1974||February 15, 1978||Muhammad Ali||Universal||American|
|February 15, 1978||March 18, 19783||Leon Spinks||Universal||American|
|March 18, 1978||September 15, 1978||Leon Spinks||WBA||American|
|March 18, 1978||June 9, 1978||Ken Norton||WBC||American|
|Spinks was stripped of his world title by the WBC for refusing to defend his title against their #1 ranked contender, Ken Norton. Spinks instead agreed to fight a return bout against Ali for the WBA crown. The WBC awarded Norton the title and, since he lost to Larry Holmes in his next defense, he is sometimes omitted from a list of heavyweight champions because he never won a world title fight.|
|June 9, 1978||December 11, 1983||Larry Holmes||WBC||American|
|Holmes relinquished his WBC title to assume the championship of the newly formed International Boxing Federation.|
|September 15, 1978||April 27, 1979||Muhammad Ali||WBA||American|
|Believing his career over, Ali relinquished his WBA title in exchange for a payment from promoter Don King, who was trying to stage a bout between then-WBC champ Larry Holmes and John Tate for the undisputed title. The bout never materialized, and Ali would return to the ring in 1980.|
|October 20, 1979||March 31, 1980||John Tate||WBA||American|
|March 31, 1980||December 10, 1982||Mike Weaver||WBA||American|
|December 10, 1982||September 23, 1983||Michael Dokes||WBA||American|
|September 23, 1983||December 1, 1984||Gerrie Coetzee||WBA||South African|
|December 11, 1983||September 21, 1985||Larry Holmes||IBF||American|
|March 9, 1984||August 31, 1984||Tim Witherspoon||WBC||American|
|August 31, 1984||March 22, 1986||Pinklon Thomas||WBC||American|
|December 1, 1984||April 29, 1985||Greg Page||WBA||American|
|April 29, 1985||January 17, 1986||Tony Tubbs||WBA||American|
|September 21, 1985||February 19, 19873||Michael Spinks||IBF||American|
|January 17, 1986||December 12, 1986||Tim Witherspoon||WBA||American|
|March 22, 1986||November 22, 1986||Trevor Berbick||WBC||Canadian / Jamaican|
|Jamaican born Berbick was a naturalized Canadian citizen and former Canadian heavyweight champion.|
|November 22, 1986||March 7, 1987||Mike Tyson||WBC||American|
|December 12, 1986||March 7, 1987||James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith||WBA||American|
|March 7, 1987||August 1, 1987||Mike Tyson||WBA & WBC||American|
|May 30, 1987||August 1, 1987||Tony Tucker||IBF||American|
|August 1, 1987||May 6, 1989||Mike Tyson||Universal||American|
|May 6, 1989||January 11, 1991||Francesco Damiani||WBO||Italian|
|Though Damiani defeated Johnny DuPlooy to become the WBO’s first Heavyweight champion, Tyson’s reign in the division during this period is virtually undisputed. Additionally, during this period Tyson also knocked out Michael Spinks who some regarded as the ‘lineal champion.’|
|May 6, 1989||February 11, 1990||Mike Tyson||IBF, WBA & WBC||American|
|February 11, 1990||October 25, 1990||James “Buster” Douglas||IBF, WBA & WBC||American|
|October 25, 1990||November 13, 1992||Evander Holyfield||IBF, WBA & WBC||American|
|January 11, 1991||December 24, 1991||Ray Mercer||WBO||American|
|May 15, 1992||February 3, 1993||Michael Moorer||WBO||American|
|November 13, 1992||December 14, 1992||Riddick Bowe||IBF, WBA & WBC||American|
|Bowe was stripped of his WBC championship for refusing to fight Lennox Lewis.|
|December 14, 1992||November 6, 1993||Riddick Bowe||IBF & WBA||American|
|December 14, 1992||September 24, 1994||Lennox Lewis||WBC||British|
|Lewis was born in England but moved to Ontario, Canada at the age of 12, later winning an Olympic gold medal for Canada. Lewis defeated Razor Ruddock on October 31, 1992, in a WBC ‘eliminator’ fight. When Riddick Bowe‘s championship recognition was withdrawn by the organization, the WBC immediately awarded Lewis the title.|
|June 7, 1993||October 29, 1993||Tommy Morrison||WBO||American|
|October 29, 1993||March 19, 1994||Michael Bentt||WBO||American|
|November 6, 1993||April 22, 1994||Evander Holyfield||IBF & WBA||American|
|March 19, 1994||March 11, 1995||Herbie Hide||WBO||British|
|April 22, 1994||November 5, 1994||Michael Moorer||IBF & WBA||American|
|September 24, 1994||September 2, 1995||Oliver McCall||WBC||American|
|November 5, 1994||March 4, 1995||George Foreman||IBF & WBA||American|
|The World Boxing Association withdrew its recognition of Foreman, but Foreman retained IBF championship recognition until it too was withdrawn.|
|March 4, 1995||June 28, 1995||George Foreman||IBF||American|
|The IBF withdrew its recognition of Foreman when he declined a rematch with Axel Schulz of Germany. Schultz was matched with Francois Botha of South Africa for the vacant title. The bout took place on December 9, 1995 in Stuttgart and resulted in a split decision points victory for Botha. Botha however tested positive for illegal anabolic steroids in a post-fight drugs test and the result was changed to a no-contest. Although some record books continue to list Botha as a world champion, the IBF state that they do not regard that he was ever champion.|
|March 11, 1995||May 1, 1996||Riddick Bowe||WBO||American|
|April 8, 1995||September 7, 1996||Bruce Seldon||WBA||American|
|September 2, 1995||March 16, 1996||Frank Bruno||WBC||British|
|March 16, 1996||September 7, 1996||Mike Tyson||WBC||American|
|June 22, 1996||November 8, 1997||Michael Moorer||IBF||American|
|June 29, 1996||February 17, 1997||Henry Akinwande||WBO||British|
|Akinwande had been ranked the WBC’s #2 contender when he won the WBO title. The WBC, which has feuded with the WBO since the latter’s founding in 1988, dropped Akinwande from its rankings altogether. Akinwande subsequently relinquished his WBO title in exchange for the opportunity to meet Lennox Lewis in a bout for the WBC championship.|
|September 7, 1996||September 24, 1996||Mike Tyson||WBA & WBC||American|
|September 24, 1996||November 9, 1996||Mike Tyson||WBA||American|
|November 9, 1996||November 8, 1997||Evander Holyfield||WBA||American|
|February 7, 1997||November 13, 1999||Lennox Lewis||WBC||British|
|June 28, 1997||June 26, 1999||Herbie Hide||WBO||British|
|November 8, 1997||November 13, 1999||Evander Holyfield||IBF & WBA||American|
|June 26, 1999||April 1, 2000||Vitali Klitschko||WBO||Ukrainian|
|November 13, 1999||April 29, 2000||Lennox Lewis||IBF, WBA & WBC||British|
|In early 2000 the World Boxing Association and Lewis were sued by representatives of John Ruiz claiming that they had reneged on an agreement by which Ruiz would have fought Lewis for the WBA title. A New Jersey court ruled in favor of Ruiz, and ordered Lewis to either have his next bout against Ruiz or relinquish the title. Lewis elected instead to fight contender Michael Grant, relinquishing his WBA title on the day of the match.|
|April 1, 2000||October 14, 2000||Chris Byrd||WBO||American|
|April 29, 2000||April 22, 2001||Lennox Lewis||IBF & WBC||British|
|August 12, 2000||March 3, 2001||Evander Holyfield||WBA||American|
|October 14, 2000||March 8, 2003||Wladimir Klitschko||WBO||Ukrainian|
|March 3, 2001||March 1, 2003||John Ruiz||WBA||American|
|April 22, 2001||November 17, 2001||Hasim Rahman||IBF & WBC||American|
|November 17, 2001||September 5, 2002||Lennox Lewis||IBF & WBC||British|
|Lewis relinquished the IBF title upon receiving payment of $1 million (US) by promoter Don King, who wished to stage a bout between Chris Byrd and Evander Holyfield for the vacant title.|
|September 5, 2002||February 6, 2004||Lennox Lewis||WBC||British|
|December 14, 2002||April 22, 2006||Chris Byrd||IBF||American|
|March 1, 2003||February 20, 2004||Roy Jones Jr.||WBA||American|
|March 8, 2003||October 9, 2003||Corrie Sanders||WBO||South African|
|February 20, 2004||December 17, 2005||John Ruiz||WBA||American|
|Ruiz beat Hasim Rahman on December 13, 2003, to become the WBA’s “interim” champion. He was awarded the championship following Roy Jones, Jr.’s announcement that he was relinquishing it to concentrate on lower weight divisions. Ruiz’s title reign ended on April 30, 2005, following a loss to James Toney but ten days later, a drug test on Toney detected he had used products containing nandrolone, an anabolic steroid. Thus, Toney’s victory was changed to a ‘no contest’ by New York state athletic commission, and as a result, the WBA declared Ruiz was keeping the title.|
|April 10, 2004||April 1, 2006||Lamon Brewster||WBO||American|
|April 24, 2004||November 9, 2005||Vitali Klitschko||WBC||Ukrainian|
|November 9, 2005||August 13, 2006||Hasim Rahman||WBC||American|
|Rahman defeated Monte Barrett on August 13, 2005, to become the WBC’s “interim” champion. He was awarded the championship following Vitali Klitschko‘s announcement that he was retiring due to injury.|
|December 17, 2005||April 15, 2007||Nikolay Valuev||WBA||Russian|
|April 1, 2006||November 4, 2006||Sergei Liakhovich||WBO||Belarusian|
|April 22, 2006||February 23, 2008||Wladimir Klitschko||IBF||Ukrainian|
|August 13, 2006||March 8, 2008||Oleg Maskaev||WBC||American/Russian|
|Maskaev was born in Kazakhstan to Russian parents. He originally held Kazakh citizenship but was granted US citizenship in 2004. In December 2006 he was also granted Russian citizenship. On September 24, 2007, Samuel Peter was declared the WBC’s “interim” champion. Peter ultimately defeated Maskaev on March 8, 2008.|
|November 4, 2006||June 2, 2007||Shannon Briggs||WBO||American|
|April 15, 2007||July 4, 2008||Ruslan Chagaev||WBA||Uzbekistani|
|Chagaev’s mandatory title defence against former champion Nikolay Valuev, scheduled for July 5, 2008, had to be cancelled for a second time after Chagaev suffered a complete tear of an Achilles tendon during his training for the fight. Because of the injury and necessary recovery time, the WBA elected to make Chagaev “Champion In Recess” and mandated that top-contenders Valuev and John Ruiz meet for the title. They set a deadline of June 26, 2009 for Chagaev to fight the champion but as this deadline was not met, Chagaev was stripped of his “Champion In Recess” title when the WBA published their Official Ratings as of June 2009.|
|June 2, 2007||February 23, 2008||Sultan Ibragimov||WBO||Russian|
|February 23, 2008||present||Wladimir Klitschko||IBF & WBO||Ukrainian|
|March 8, 2008||October 11, 2008||Samuel Peter||WBC||Nigerian|
|July 4, 20084||July 24, 2009||Ruslan Chagaev||WBA||Uzbekistani|
|The WBA had set a deadline of June 26, 2009 for Chagaev to fight the champion but this deadline was not met. On July 24, 2009, when the WBA published their Official Ratings as of June 2009, Chagaev was stripped of his “Champion In Recess” title.|
|August 30, 2008||November 7, 2009||Nikolay Valuev||WBA||Russian|
|Valuev regained the WBA title by beating John Ruiz on August 30, 2008, shortly after Chagaev had become the “Champion In Recess”. Upon making Chagaev the “Champion In Recess”, the WBA set a deadline of June 26, 2009 for him to fight the champion. This deadline was not met and Chagaev was stripped of his “Champion In Recess” title when the WBA published their Official Ratings as of June 2009.|
|October 11, 2008||present||Vitali Klitschko||WBC||Ukrainian|
|November 7, 2009||present||David Haye||WBA||British|
|In 2010 Haye was awarded citizenship of North Cyprus . A state whose existence is recognized only by Turkey.|
There is no doubt the heavyweights will always be the ‘Kings of the Ring’ and be the big names. The last hundred years or so of heavyweight history have been an amazing thing to watch, read and be a a part of. I don’t know about you, but I cant what to see what and who comes next.
As I prepare for my annual holiday vacation, I want to make sure that I reach each and everyone who reads this column (and even those who do not), the very best wishes for the holiday season.
Both ShowTime and HBO have a nice early Christmas present on tap for boxing fans.
Let’s take a close look at two fights which will be held at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington, on December 11.). The double main-event figures to have more action than most of the fight cards you’ve seen this year. What would you expect from some tough bantamweights?
In the first bout, hard hitting Vic Darchinyan, 34, from Australia, takes on undefeated 25-year-old, Mexican Abner Mares. This bout is going to be a classic boxer versus slugger match, with Mares, 20-0-1 (13, much preferring to box and Darchinyan, 35-2-1 (27), always ready, willing and able to tee off.
Except for Darchinyan’s power, this bout really offers little to choose from. Darchinyan is a southpaw, which may create problems for Mares, who does have a 3 ½” reach advantage.
I make it a point to pick a winner, and so I’ll give a slight edge to Mares to take a hard-fought decision in a fight that will see a lot of blood fly.
The other bout, for the IBF bantamweight title features champion Yohhny Perez, a tough 31-year old Colombian taking on former IBF champ Joseph Agbeko, 22, from Ghana.
Perez, 31, is a talented boxer with a mark of 20-0-1 with 14 knockouts, while Agbeko, 27-2 (22), wants his title back.
Perez, seems to have a bit of a problem with his defense, so my gut feeling is that the African fighter will take a close decision in a very tough toe-to-toe brawl.
Both fights are scheduled to be shown on ShowTime.
On HBO, a couple of light welters compete for the WBA crown, from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
These two fighters are better know in Europe than in America as they have seen most of their action out of the USA.
Amir Khan 23-1 with 17 knockouts from the U.K., takes on Marcos Madana 29-1 (17) for the WBA light welterweight title.
On paper this bout also appears to be a toss-up. Madana 29, from Argentina, having more ring experience, but Khan a slight edge up in opponents talent as well as punching power.
By David Martinez / Boxing Historian
I have followed boxing now for about half a century and I truly consider myself blessed meeting so many wonderful people in that tenure. The past twenty-five years I have also been blessed being involved in working with amateur fighters in local boxing gyms in which I have met many kids that have delighted in my teaching and expertise.
In August of this year, I, along with Henry Calles, a former amateur fighter and owner of Duke’s Boxing in Isla Vista, California, took one of our young fighters to a show in Lompoc, California. These shows are a showcase for all amateur boxers, male and female, and are simply a treat for boxing fans to come out and support their fighters.
Once at the Lompoc arena, we were preparing our male fighter for his fight. Off in the distance, I couldn’t help but notice a young girl warming up with her trainer prior to her fight. I must admit that I was distracted because of the excellent shadow boxing and mitt work that I observed. I knew right then and there that this girl was special, and so I anxiously waited to see her fight in the ring.
When her bout came, I sat close to ringside and I was very impressed to see this young female boxer do her work in such an amazing style; a beautifully executed left jab and complete focus in the ring. After winning a three round bout by decision, I knew that I wanted to do a feature story for my website to showcase her and what she represents in female amateur boxing. Her sportsmanship and ring generalship is what really impressed me the most.
a) 7 days
b) 10 days
c) 14 days
d) 21 days
2) What Gold Medal winner was voted the most outstanding boxer in the 1976 Olympics ?
a) Howard Davis, Jr
b) Sugar Ray Leonard
c) Leo Randolph
d) Michael Spinks
We finally have a fight at the Superdome in Dallas, and it’s not the Cowboys or their cheerleaders who are involved.
The Dallas Cowboys are an embarrassment as a team. Except for their cheerleaders and a lap dance or two, they offer nothing of interest for the fans.
With that in mind, there is the possibility of a good fight taking place in this venue on November 13.
Manny Pacquiao is a solid fighter, and if Mayweather would be willing to put his undefeated tag on the line, you’d have a great fight with a great crowd. Using the Cowboys cheerleaders as ring girls seems like an extra incentive for a fight that probably doesn’t need the push.
So, let’s get to the fight in question, Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao against Tony “I plead innocent” Margarito.
Seriously, this could be a very interesting fight. The question that has to be asked is if Margarito has a solid punch with the loss of the “heavy” material in the gloves, why didn’t he show that power against Shane Mosley last year.
Another question that must be answered is if Pac Man, who trainer Freddy Roach said “had the worst training camp he had ever had.” Manny, not training hard, raises many other questions; mainly, is he taking Margarito too lightly.
First, let’s take a look at the match-up itself: At 32, Margarito is a year older than the southpaw Pacquiao.
Okay Rusty, the election is over and the votes are in; it’s time to “man-up”!
Bet you’re thinking about the local and national elections, but in truth I’m talking about the election for the newest class for the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota.
The ballots had to be in by November 1, and in the interest of being true to my word (in boxing)? I could not vote for Mike Tyson.
As I wrote in this column a few weeks back, I cannot and will not, vote for anyone who has used performance enhancing drugs, unless that person goes into the Hall with an asterisk after his/her name.
It’s not that Tyson needs my vote. He’s a lock for the Hall on the first ballot, and deservedly so. Tyson won a lot of his fights on the fear of his ring foes, but he still deserves admittance to the IBHOF. But he should have the fact that he used these banned drugs registered on his record. Until the Hall of Fame does so, either via asterisk or other means, I’ll continue to vote for anyone proven to have used these substances.
In my mind, or what’s left of it, I have to believe that these PED drugs not only assist in the performance of the fighter, but also fool the fight fans as well.
For the record, I voted for Julio Cesar Chavez, and five others, who, to the best of our knowledge fought ‘clean’.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Glove 2 Glove:
Sad to note the passing of Alan Rudkin, British bantamweight champ, who left us at age 68.
Also news that Johnny ‘Smiler’ Van Rensburg, 78, South African light and welterweight champion. Prayers are requested.
I really like knowing David Martinez. Of course there’s his endless boxing knowledge – his ability to analyze a fight – even as it’s happening. I respect his advice big time.
One of the best things he does is something that only happens at Halloween. He will dress up like a masked wrestler. So let me share with you now a photo of this years 2010 edition of him at a party posing with young lady – Kim. He will always accommodate others for a picture and let me say that it’s my absolute pleasure to serve as his producer since this website started back in July 2007 – thank you David!