The BN24 Classic Boxing Hall of Legends

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by McGrain, Oct 22, 2022.



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  1. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    VICENTE SALDIVAR
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    "He was a really special fighter." - Ken Buchanan.

    Inducted At: Featherweight, Inaugural
    Years Active: 1961-1973
    Lineal Champion: 1964-1967; 1970
    Boxrec Record: 37-3

    The term “cleared out the weight division” is perhaps the most abused in boxing. This is because it almost never happens; there’s always someone out there. That being said, and for all that there is no room to tell that story here, Vicente Saldivar perhaps came as close as any man to achieving the mythical clearout; he roared through the featherweight division of the 1960s with few left behind to tell the tale of his passing unscathed.

    Saldivar was an insidious force of nature, someone who built his fight-plan from the bottom and delivered the knockout when he was ready and not before. As for the possibility of his being out-pointed, he was a brilliant technician with superb speed and a patience matched only by that of Salvador Sanchez. Age caught up to him in the form of the inexhaustible Kuniaki Shibata but by that point two stints as world champion and a record of 9-0 in featherweight title fights against excellent competition had already guaranteed his immortality.

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  2. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    SALVADOR SANCHEZ
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    "I am the champion. I know I am the better boxer than Gomez."

    Inducted At: Featherweight, Inaugural
    Years Active: 1975-1982
    Lineal Champion: 1980-1982
    Boxrec Record: 44-1-1

    As the 1980s dawned, so did the title reign of Sal Sanchez, and it was to be a brilliant one. His first defense was perhaps his toughest, against the #2 contender Ruben Castillo. Castillo and Sanchez were almost identical physically, the same age, the same height and of course the same weight; the only significant difference was Sanchez’s advantage in reach. Castillo was then unbeaten outside of a knockout loss to Alexis Arguello, in which he had gathered invaluable experience against a rangier fighter; he applied this against Sanchez, feinting and circling to draw Sanchez across him before throwing the left. It’s beautiful to watch and brought Castillo many of the early rounds; Sanchez made a wonderful adjustment, introducing a shepherding jab and patiently holding his line while applying pressure. Nevertheless, I didn’t see Sanchez ahead until the eleventh in what is my favorite of his performances; in the championship rounds, he assumed control, winning three of the last four.

    Sanchez was repeatedly troubled through this glorious title run which makes me wonder about his future had he not been tragically killed in a car crash in 1982. He had the generalship, stamina, jaw and punch selection to trouble just about anyone but that slow start he was often guilty of may have hurt him against a fighter like Pedroza, or some lesser contender. But maybe, just maybe, his ability to think on his feet, to adjust across the ring, would have bought his way out of trouble against all of them. Had he caught a cab instead of getting behind the wheel that day, and had he abandoned his plans to retire young, he might have had talent to leave an even greater legacy.

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    Last edited: Mar 8, 2023
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  3. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    MICHAEL SPINKS
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    “I live the life of a fighter. I program myself as a fighter.”

    Inducted At: Light-Heavyweight, Inaugural
    Years Active: 1977-1988
    Lineal Champion: 1983-1985; 1985-1988, Heavyweight
    Boxrec Record: 31-1

    Michael Spinks achieved immortality with his pair of wins over faded genius Larry Holmes, but it was at 175lbs that he achieved the Hall and revealed the true nature of his fighter's character.

    Dwight Muhammad Qawi was among the most terrifying of light-heayweights. He was a monster. Two months before Spinks was to take to the ring with this monster, his common-law wife and the mother of his young daughter was killed in a car accident. Just days before the fight he wept openly in front of members of the press – and on the night of the fight? Nothing.

    Spinks assumed absolute control in the ring, and when his control was challenged he had the tools to equalise the situation with extreme prejudice. Marvin Johnson challenged him, as Marvin Johnson was wont to do, in March of 1981, directly attacking Spinks, and arguably winning all three of the opening rounds in doing so. Spinks backed up, appraised his man, and then delivered an uppercut so brutal that Johnson was unable to continue in its wake. This is the same Marvin Johnson, it should be remembered, that Matthew Saad Muhammad was unable to lay low with three dozen flush power-punches.

    Probably the greatest light-heavyweight in colour, Spinks staged four defences of the lineal title he finessed and clubbed from Qawi before abandoning it for the heavyweight division, undefeated at 175lbs. There is no company in which Spinks need bow his head – there are other light-heavyweights in his class, but none in excess of it.

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  4. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    DICK TIGER
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    "He is one of those fighters who just keep coming… the kind you don’t fight unless you have to.” - Paul Pender.

    Inducted At: Middleweight, Inaugural
    Years Active: 1952-1970
    Lineal Champion: 1963; 1965-1966; 1966-1968 at 175lbs
    Boxrec Record: 60-19-3

    I suspect that the fighter capable of attacking Dick Tiger during his savage prime and defeating him has yet to be born. In a fire-fight, he might be favoured to beat any fighter of the poundage, alive or dead. Tiger proved this with a string of wins over some of the most savage brawlers in middleweight history. Florentino Fernandez, the lethal Cuban hooker, tried his luck with a pounding pressure style in 1962. Fernandez was coming off a narrow decision loss against Gene Fullmer and had had the monstrous Fullmer in serious trouble in the late rounds.

    That said, a certainly vulnerability to boxers sees him go 3-2-1 in middleweight title fights as a two-time champion of the world but a third regin, up at 175lbs, ensures his inclusion here.

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    Last edited: May 5, 2023
  5. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    GENE TUNNEY
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    "I did six years of planning to win the title from Jack Dempsey."

    Inducted At: Light Heayweight, Inaugural.
    Years Active: 1915-1928
    Lineal Champion: 1926-1928 at Heavyweight.
    Boxrec Record: 65-1-1

    Gene Tunney was a Rolls-Royce of a fighter, beautifully balanced with an exquisite left, a digging right (he scored a sizeable number of knockouts with that punch at the weight), he was a solid body-puncher and a world-class counter-puncher. It was a combination that saw him defeat every light-heavyweight he ever met, bar none, Leo Houck, Battling Levinsky, Fay Kesier, Jimmy Delaney, Harry Greb and Georges Carpantier among them.

    Even so, his great masterpieces lay ahead of him and he executed those two defeats over Jack Dempsey with aplomb. His plans, years in the making, were executed absolutely. Tunney lost hardly a round to his nemesis.

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  6. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    PANCHO VILLA
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    "I am in condition and once in condition, my worries are over."

    Inducted At: Flyweight, Inaugural.
    Years Active: 1919-1925
    Lineal Champion: 1923-1925
    Boxrec Record: 77-4-4

    Frankie Genaro again bested Pancho Villa in 1922 but priced himself out of a meeting with American champion Johnny Buff, - Villa happily stepped in to fill the void. He had studied carefully and tempered his unhinged style for the American ring. The first round he boxed against Buff was careful and thoughtful; by the seventh Buff was described as “a crimson smear”; in the eleventh his corner tossed the towel. Four months after besting ring legend Frankie Mason, Villa found himself in the opposite corner to a ring immortal, “The Might Atom” Jimmy Wilde, tempted out of retirement for one last payday in defense of the flyweight championship most still hung upon him. Villa controlled their contest completely. He out-fought and out-sped the older man from the third through to the desperate ending when he dropped a right-hook from a square stance depositing Wilde on his face.

    Already, Villa’s head was being turned by the bigger purses that could be had at higher weights. At flyweight he staged three title defenses, the best of them against the excellent Benny Schwartz who he out-pointed over fifteen. His failure to defend against Genaro would be a black mark against his reign but articles were signed for that fight before first one, then the other pulled out with injury. Pancho's tragic death at just twenty-three cheated us of a final showdown

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  7. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    JOE WALCOTT
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    "Since no welterweight or middleweight will fight me I am compelled to go to the next class. Will any heavyweights fight me?"

    Inducted At: Welterweight, Inaugural.
    Years Active: 1892-1911
    Lineal Champion: 1909-1904
    Boxrec Record: 87-24-24

    It was the ever-strange and always brave Rube Ferns who gave Joe Walcott his second title shot in December of 1901. Probably he wished he hadn’t bothered as “The Barbados Demon” battered him to body and head, stopping him in just five rounds. It was a performance of terrible destruction and typical of Walcott who was the most feared puncher between John L. Sullivan and the prime of Sam Langford and among the most terrible punchers of all time, pound-for-pound. Which is why some of what followed is so strange. First, Walcott fought Billy Woods, a tough customer, certainly, but not a great fighter and yet he had Walcott in trouble in the sixteenth and according to some reports came away with the better part of a closely contested draw. His second defense was against Young Peter Jackson - the two had met thrice already, the ledger reading 2-0-1 in favour of Walcott. They boxed their second draw for the title, Walcott once more clinching excessively in the final quarter, with some reports suggesting that the crowd favored a Jackson decision. He then battered Mose LaFontise, who had been agitating for a fight for some time, in three rounds, before getting a little luck in draws with a young Sam Langford and the wonderful Joe Gans and losing his title to Honey Melody.

    Walcott, for all that he was a wonderous welterweight, seemed sometimes to find himself better off meeting bigger fighters at higher weights. Such was the extremity of his punch and punch resistance such feats were possible for him.

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    Last edited: Mar 8, 2023
  8. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    MICKEY WALKER
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    "I was born dead, with a black eye, too stubborn to quit."

    Inducted At: Welterweight, Inaugural.
    Years Active: 1919-1935
    Lineal Champion: 1922-1926; 1926-1931 at 160lbs
    Boxrec Record: 93-19-4

    "Think of a fighter - Mickey Walker would take that fight. His own weight varied greatly during what is one of the most storied careers in history, from 140 to 175 pounds, but it was up at heavyweight he made his most stunning impact. He outpointed the 210-pound Bearcat Wright, the 200-pound contenders Paulino Uzcudun Johnny Risko and King Levinsky, rated all, he knocked out the 200-pound Les Kennedy in two rounds, the 223-pound Arthur De Kuh and the 205-pound Salvatore Ruggirello in just one, fought future heavyweight world champion Jack Sharkey to a draw and fought former heavyweight champion Max Schmeling so hard the German found himself begging the referee to stop the fight as Walker sucked up an horrific beating and kept coming. He made himself a legitimate heavyweight contender despite the fact that he never weighed in as one. "It was my idea to fight the big guys," Walker would say some years later, "As a kid, I found it easier to fight big guys."

    Raw ingredients make for the best stew and Walker brought extreme durability, a very nice punch, and frightening physical strength. These are all things that can be said about another welterweight slayer of heavies, Barbados Joe Walcott who retired just eight years before Walker turned professional in 1919. Like Walcott, Walker did seem to find it easier to fight big guys, the jaw-dropping feats of giant-killing he perpetrated amongst the heavyweights not reflected by dominance or wider resume at his natural weights of welterweight and middleweight.

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  9. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    FREDDIE WELSH
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    "I can't say I ever worried much about what people thought or said of me."

    Inducted At: Lightweight, Inaugural.
    Years Active: 1905-1922
    Lineal Champion: 1914-1917
    Boxrec Record: 74-5-7

    Freddie Welsh was crazy. Whilst his compatriot Jim Driscoll was born into poverty and turned to boxing as a means to elevate himself, Welsh came from a family of wealth and when he went to America to ride the rails and fight as a professional he was still just a boy, bound by some savage impulse most of us cannot understand. On paper, his best run came before the title. In 1907 he turned the corner, boxing an ND over six rounds with the more established Jim Driscoll before adding an additional 17-0-1. In 1908, he took his step up but dropped a ten-round decision to emerging demi-god Packey McFarland. At this point, the press was still less than impressed with Welsh who the New York Sun named a “second-rater,” criticizing McFarland for failing to put him away. He would change minds by going 6-0-2 for the rest of the year, boxing a draw with McFarland, and picking up a win over the reigning featherweight champion Abe Attell.

    When he headed home in 1909 it was as one of the best lightweights anywhere in the world, and picking up the European and British titles against the excellent Johnny Summers seemed almost a routine matter. He got another stab at McFarland, the man he never could best, boxing a controversial draw but in the fifty-six fights that had followed his loss to his nemesis, Welsh slipped up just once, against Matt Wells. Future champion Willie Ritchie, Pal Moore, Matty Baldwin, future welterweight champion Jim Duffy and Jim Driscoll all fell to him in this time. After he lifted the title in 1914, Welsh took something of a low-road, preferring non-title fights and no-decision fights to legitimate title affairs, but perhaps he had earned it. Regardless, he continued to hoover up top-draw scalps including Jimmy Anderson, Charley White, Frank Fleming, Ad Wolgast, and best of all, Benny Leonard in a non-title fight in 1916.

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  10. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    JIMMY WILDE
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    "In America they had no chance - I knocked them all cold in America."

    Inducted At: Flyweight, Inaugural.
    Years Active: 1911-1923
    Lineal Champion: 1916-1923
    Boxrec Record: 131-3-1

    Sources would have us believe that Jimmy Wilde turned professional very late in 1910 or early in 1911 but such are the vagaries of the era that either of these dates is highly debatable. Wilde seems to have fought for money for many years before this, perhaps as early as his fifteenth year. Can we credit his own claim of 850 fights? Although this seems unlikely I would also consider it a given that Wilde fought more than the 150 fights he is credited with by BoxRec.

    Regardless, Wilde'd domination of even the half-formed flyweight division of the era is enormously impressive; but it is south of 112lbs that things got really spooky. Jimmy Wilde dispatched featherweight Joe Conn. Conn was on a hot streak but couldn't live with Wilde in spite of a weight advantage of around 20 lbs which was around 20% of Wilde's total bodyweight. Jimmy chopped him off in twelve. Next was Joe Lynch who would go on to become one of the definitive bantamweights of a golden generation for that weight division. Wilde nipped him. More bantamweights followed including world-title claimant Pal Moore, whom he shaded over twenty with an aggressive punching display that nearly saw him knocked out late in the fight. Moore was a handful for any of the era's superb bantamweights; that Wilde proved his master whilst outweighed by 8-11 lbs is extraordinary.

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  11. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    HOLMAN WILLIAMS
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    "Holman Williams was a great boxer, but he never got the recongnition because he wasn't a punhcer. He had the finesse of Ray Robinson but no punch." - Eddie Futch.

    Inducted At: Wildcard, Inaugural.
    Years Active: 1932-1948
    Lineal Champion: No
    Boxrec Record: 146-31-11

    A middling puncher in his youth, Holman Williams, who reportedly had a very relaxed attitude to training, had desperately fragile hands, a heinous disadvantage for a black 1940s middleweight who needed to box fifteen times and more in a year in order to make the ends meet. Williams adapted his style in order that he might survive the maelstrom of brilliance that surrounded him and the regularity with which he entered it, pulling his punches and playing for points. He became a poisonous shadow, hard to hit, lethal in his counters.

    Holman's win resume is astonishing: boxing at welterweight, he beat Cocoa Kid, Fritzie Zivic, Gene Buffalo, Ceferino Garcia and Jimmy Leto. Moving into the middleweight division, he defeated Charley Burley on three occasions, the bigger Lloyd Marshall on two occasions, the monstrous Jack Chase four out of four, Eddie Booker, Kid Tunero, Steve Belloise, Aaron Wade, Bert Lytell twice, a light-heavyweight Archie Moore, legendary puncher Bob Satterfield, and Joe Carter, as well as others. Utterly brilliant at his best, his transformation from boxer-puncher to defensive specialist made him perhaps the definitive technician of his era, a man Futch claimed he would rather watch shadowbox than see his contemporaries fight.

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  12. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    IKE WILLIAMS
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    "I will never give up this title."

    Inducted At: Lightweight, Inaugural.
    Years Active: 1940-1955
    Lineal Champion: 1947-1951
    Boxrec Record: 126-24-4

    In his incredible career, Williams defeated, among many others, Sammy Angott, Kid Gavilan, Beau Jack, Bob Montgomery and Willie Joyce as his very best. Ike went 6-1 in lineal world title fights and the “1” was suffered in 1951 with the poundage almost past him and the battle to make it as tough as the one Jimmy Carter waged against him. Before that, Williams was close to invincible. He grabbed a strap in 1945, destroying the excellent Juan Zurita in two having established himself four months before in a similarly brutal dispatch of Dave Castilloux in five; in 1947 he became undisputed and lineal based upon perhaps his greatest lightweight performance, a six-round obliteration of Bob Montgomery who found himself helpless on the ropes against the most devastating technical puncher of the lightweight era.

    Five defenses followed in a period during which only a welterweight Kid Gavilan could best him.

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  13. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    MIDGET WOLGAST
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    "The Midget has a wonderful amount of stamina and he works his feet incessantly. In fact all of his movements along this line are for the purpose of distracting an opponent." - New Castle News.

    Inducted At: Flyweight, Inaugural.
    Years Active: 1925-1940
    Lineal Champion: No
    Boxrec Record: 144-36-15

    Midget Wolgast was the most outrageous geniuses in fistic history. His boxing was a conflation of dizzying defensive wonderment and mobile attacking brilliance. He feinted his opponent forwards and then moved off the center line, his reactions to any offensive foray a deft slip of the head, but his own offense was what differentiates him from other great defensive wizards. Wolgast, who couldn’t punch to save himself, was unequalled at firing off blows while on the move. His bread and butter was a shrill pop of a jab that he could land whatever angles his balletic movement inflicted, and as an improviser he was second to none. When the time came to scrap, he moved in on his man, head working like a cat about to strike, deploying a swarming body attack of dizzying variety. He was a jazz musician in a pair of boxing gloves, and domination was his art.

    And he did dominate the flyweight division while making more than a mark in the divisions above.

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  14. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    CARLOS ZARATE
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    "I don't know if I would call it revenge - but I loved it."

    Inducted At: Bantamweight, Inaugural.
    Years Active:1970-1988
    Lineal Champion: No.
    Boxrec Record: 66-4

    Carlos Zarate’s story is told in blood and punches. My favorites landed – detonated is likely a better word – in 1975. Zarate was just another contender then, for all that he was one with violence painted upon every canvas he ever stepped upon, thirty three fights and thirty-two knockouts in his terrible wake; his opponent, perhaps was not even a contender. A gatekeeper marked with the name Orlando Amores, he troubled Zarate early, not unusual, many lesser men tested him while he sought them, but when he found them…in round three Zarate countered an increasingly frenetic Amores to the ropes and parked two neat uppercuts followed by a neat hook upon his opponent’s chin. They were not violent punches – they were hardly even flamboyant. They were thrown a little like a drunk emptying two full ashtrays into his garden. But Amores was gone, capable only of rolling onto his stomach, face pressed to the canvas, gloves either side of his head as though in devout prayer, heaving in oxygen.

    In 1976 Zarate deployed said violence against the superb Rodolfo Martinez, cracking him to the canvas in the fifth and breaking him down with those extraordinary, long, luxurious punches, finally terminating his resistance with a right uppercut in the ninth. The tough Italian Paul Ferreri lasted a little longer before Zarate opened up his face for him. The unbeaten Alonso Zamora, the world’s other outstanding bantamweight, lasted only four before being blasted into the same netherworld Amores had been sent to. When his corner threw in the towel it landed across their fighter’s eyes and he raised himself, more defeated barfly than professional fighter. Even Alberto Davila, one of the toughest bantamweights ever to live, could not survive him, succumbing in eight.

    Zarate’s punches changed men. He introduced them, briefly, to their own mortality.

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