TLW's Boxing Historyscope
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: July 1, 2012. Last Update: May 2, 2017.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to boxing history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
Boxing, AKA Prize Fighting, Pugilism, and the Sweet Science is the most manly of sports, with two nearly nude athletes fighting mano a mano sans teams, with the winner gaining all the glory. At least it's mainly non-lethal, but the lethal element is always present, making it more manly.
In 776 B.C.E. the Greeks founded the Olympics, held every 4 years. In 696 B.C.E. boxing was first added as an event in the 21st Olympiad. In 648 B.C.E. the 33rd Olympiad added the pancratium, a no-holds-barred extreme-ultimate wrestling-boxing event. The Roman Empire conquered Greece in 146 B.C.E., but continued the Olympics. Too bad, after Rome went Christian in 313 C.E. under Emperor Constantine I the Great, it wasn't long before the Olympics were banned by his Christian successor Theodosius I the Great in 391 C.E., as if it mattered since the Western Roman Empire fell to the Goths in 476 C.E., and the Western world fell into the thousand-year Dark Ages where gentlemanly games were replaced by barbarism.
Fast forward to Merry Ole England in the 17th cent. C.E.
On Jan. 6, 1681 Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Abemarle (1653-88) engineers a bout between his butler and butcher (winner), becoming the first recorded boxing match in Britain.
In 1719 James Figg (1695-1734) becomes England's first bare-knuckled boxing champ (until 1729), founding the modern art of boxing - I'm gonna knock your fig off?
In 1729 6' 200 lb. John "Jack" Broughton (1704-89), who founded the London Prize Ring Rules after he killed somebody in the ring takes over the English bare-knuckle boxing title (until 1750) from his teacher James Figg, who retires. On Aug. 16, 1743 Broughton's Rules of Boxing are established in London by boxing champ Jack Broughton, with a 30-sec. knockout rule and no hitting or grasping below the waist; Broughton invents "mufflers", padded gloves for boxing.
In 1789 5'7 160 lb. English Jew Daniel Mendoza (1764-1836) pub. The Art of Boxing, founding scientific boxing. In May 1792 after defeating his mentor "gentleman boxer" Richard Humphreys in three bouts in 1790-1 (the 3rd bout being the 1st time that spectators are charged to see a sporting event) and becoming the first boxer to win the patronage of the prince of Wales and the first Jew to speak to George III, Mendoza becomes world heavyweight boxing champ (until 1795) after Ben Brain retires and he defeats Bill Warr in 23 rounds; too bad, on Apr. 15, 1795 he takes on "Gentleman" John Jackson (1769-1845) for the championship in Essex, and Jackson wins after holding Mendoza's long hair with one hand while bitch-slapping him with the other for 10 min., causing boxers to begin wearing their hair short; Jackson sets up a saloon at 13 Bond St. where he gives instruction to Lord Byron et al. Mendoza dies in poverty.
In 1800 black ex-slave Bill Richmond (1763-1829) becomes a popular boxer - everybody should own one?
On Feb. 7, 1849 the first widely-publicized boxing match in the U.S. sees Tom Hyer (1819-64), son of the first (1816) U.S. boxing champ Jacob Hyer defeat English boxer Yankee Sullivan (1811-56) in round 16 (total 17 min. 18 sec.) in Still Pond Creek, Md., winning a $10K purse and becoming the first recognized world boxing champ.
On Oct. 19, 1856 the James Kelly vs. Jack Smith Fight in Melbourne, Australia is the longest bare-knuckle boxing match in history (until ?), 186 rounds lasting 6 hours and 15 min.
In 1860 John Carmel Heenan (1833-73) of the U.S., AKA "the Bernicia Boy" (not to be confused with the Roman Catholic Cardinal born in 1905) and Tom Sayers (1826-65) AKA "the Little Wonder", "Napoleon of the Prize Ring" of Britain fight for the bare-knuckle boxing title, but Sayer supporters break into the ring (as Heenan is winning?), stopping it.
In 1861 160-lb. middleweight champion and scientific boxer James "Gypsy Jem" Mace (1831-1910) wins the British heavyweight boxing title (until 1862).
In 1862 Jem Mace loses his British heavyweight boxing title to "the Fighting Sailor" Thomas "Tom" King (1835-88), then regains it when King refuses a rematch.
On May 5, 1863 Joe Coburn wins the U.S. boxing title from Mike McCoole in a 63-round match in Charleston, Md.
In 1865 21-y.-o. Scottish boxing fan John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry (1844-1900) et al. found the Amateur Athletic Club to turn boxing into a scientific amateur sport. In 1867 the Marquis of Queensberry Rules of boxing are pub., formulated in London in 1865 by lightweight boxer John Graham Chambers (1843-83) of the London Amateur Athletic Club, supervised by the Marquis of Queensberry to take the barbarity out of "pugilism", esp. bare knuckles, requiring boxing gloves to be worn and providing for 3-min. rounds with 1-min. rest intervals in a 24-ft. ring, with wrestling and hugging prohibited; in 1870 the 12-regulation rules are officially established as the governing code of the sport of boxing - although the gloves actually protect the hand not the other guy's face?
In 1880 Irish-born Am. boxer Paddy Ryan (1851-1900), "the Trojan Giant" defeats Joe Gross to win the heavyweight boxing (bare knuckle) title (until Feb. 7, 1882).
On Feb. 7, 1882 Boston, Mass.-bred John Lawrence Sullivan (1858-1918) defeats Paddy Ryan (champ since 1880) in Mississippi City, Miss. in round 9 to win the heavyweight (bare knuckle) boxing title (until 1892).
In 1888 the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is founded to encourage boxing competition among U.S. youth.
On July 8, 1889 John L. Sullivan defeats Jake Kilrain (John Joseph Killion) (1859-1937) in the last championship bare knuckle fight; the bout lasts 75 rounds and takes 2:16:23.
On Feb. 27, 1890 the 2nd Longest Gloved Boxing Match in History sees Danny Needham and Patsy Kerrigan box 100 rounds in San Francisco, Calif. before the match is declared a draw after more than 6.5 hours. On Apr. 6-7, 1893 the Longest Gloved Boxing Match in History sees Andy Bowen and Jack Burke fight 110 rounds (7 hours 19 min.) before the referees call it a "no contest" after both fighters refuse to continue.
On Sept. 7, 1892 in New Orleans, La. the First Heavyweight Title Boxing Match fought with gloves under the I-think-you're-crazy-just-like-me Marquess of Queensbury Rules ends when 26-y.-o. 178-lb. James John "Gentleman Jim" Corbett (1866-1933) ("Father of Modern Boxing") knocks out 33-y.-o. 212-lb. "Boston Strongboy" John Lawrence Sullivan (1858-1918) in the 21st round (Sullivan's only prof. KO) to win the first world heavyweight boxing title (until 1897); the referee is Prof. John Duffy; months earlier, Sullivan was knocked out by a fluke punch from Mrs. Hessie Donahue, wife of boxing school owner Charles Converse of Worcester, Mass.?
On Feb. 1, 1893 Thomas Edison opens his barn-like Black Maria (pr. ma-RYE-uh) motion picture studio in West Orange, N.J., becoming the first movie studio in the U.S. (world?); one of his first films is Two Men Boxing.
On Mar. 17, 1897 (St. Patrick's Day) 30-y.-o. 183-lb. James John "Gentleman Jim" Corbett (1866-1933) loses the heavyweight boxing title by KO in the 14th round in Carson City, Nev., to 34-y.-o. 167-lb. ("Ruby Robert") ("the Freckled Wonder") ("the Cornishman") Robert James "Bob" Fitzsimmons (1863-1917) of Cornwall, England (a hard puncher), who becomes world heavyweight boxing champ #2 (until 1899), and the last British heavyweight boxing champ (until ?); William Aloysius Brady (1863-1950), mgr. of both Corbett and James J. Jeffries produces the 1.5 hour film The Corbett-Fizsimmons Fight (May 22), the longest film released to date; Fizsimmons goes on to become the first prof. boxer to win the world middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight boxing titles.
On June 9, 1899 24-y.-o. 6'2-1/2" 206-lb. James Jackson "Jim" Jeffries (1875-1953) KOs 37-y.-o. old man Bob Fitzsimmons (Robert Prometheus) (1863-1917) in round 11 in Coney Island, N.Y. to become world heavyweight boxing champ #3 (until 1905).
In 1902 5'4" San Francisco, Calif.-born Jewish-Am. boxer ("the Little Hebrew") Abraham Washington "Abe" Attell (1883-1970) becomes world featherweight champion, dominating the title until 1912, incl. a 6-year consecutive reign in 1906-12; too bad, since he is friends with gangster Abe Rothstein, he is charged with involvement in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, but the charges are dismissed before trial.
In Mar. 1905 world boxing champ (since 1899) James J. Jeffries retires undefeated, and names Marvin Hart (1876-1931) ("the Kentucky Plumber") ("the Fightin' Kentuckian") (who defeated Jack Johnson in San Francisco earlier this year) and Bohemian-born Jack Root (Janos Ruthaly) (1876-1963) (who had already beaten him once) as leading contenders, agreeing to referee their title fight in Reno, Nev. on July 3, in which Hart KOs Root in the 12th round, becoming world heavyweight boxing champ #4 (until 1906).
On Feb. 23, 1906 24-y.-o. 180-lb. Tommy Burns (1881-1955) outpoints Marvin Hart in 20 rounds in Los Angeles, Calif. to become world heavyweight boxing champ #5 (until 1908); James J. Jeffries is the referee.
On Dec. 2, 1908 30-y.-o. 196-lb. Tex.-born black boxer Arthur John "Jack" Johnson (1878-1946) KOS 27-y.-o. 176-lb. white boxer Tommy Burns in round 14 in Sydney, Australia to become world heavyweight boxing champ #6 and first black champ (until 1915); the referee is Hugh McIntosh; the white-is-wrong news causes a frantic search for a Great White Hope as Johnson, sporting a trademark screw-you white smile easily beats several white contenders, and flaunts it by hiring a white chauffeur and white butler, marrying two white women and cheating on them with dozens of white hos.
In 1909 George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925) paints Both Members of This Club, an amateur boxing match in a New York City club where the boxers are granted membership only for the duration of the bout; it makes him a star.
The first Bout of the Century? On July 4, 1910 in Reno, Nev. mostly white spectators listen to a brass band playing "All Coons Look Alike to Me," then watch black boxing champ Arthur John "Jack" Johnson (1878-1946) easily defeat 6'2-1/2" prime specimen and Great White Hope (former champ in 1899-1905) James Jackson "Jim" Jeffries (1875-1953), "the Boilermaker" (who had been talked into coming out of retirement) in round 15; race riots and atrocities against blacks ensue in the South, and the U.S. govt. sets out to "get the nigger" for having sex with our white wimmin, making use of the new U.S. Mann Act; one bright side is a number of blacks winning bets on Johnson made with whites - get him or his johnson, I don't care? In 1910 The Jeffries-Johnson World's Championship Boxing Contest, a record of the July 4 Jack Johnson-James J. Jeffries heavyweight title fight offends American feelings about race, and the U.S. Congress bans its exhibition, pretending that it's the violence not the sight of a black man kicking a white man's butt, and goes on to ban interstate distribution of all prize fight films, which isn't repealed until the 1940s.
On May 13, 1913 black world heavyweight boxing champ Arthur John "Jack" Johnson (1878-1946) is railroaded through an all-white federal jury in Chicago, Ill. on trumped-up U.S. Mann (White Slave Traffic) Act charges; he supposedly paid white ho and longtime lover Belle Schreiber to come meet him while he traveled from Atlantic City to Philadelphia, thus transporting a woman across state lines for an immoral purpose; he is sentenced to one year in priz, causing him to flee to Canada then Europe, returning in 1920 to serve his sentence in Leavenworth, Kan.
On May 30, 1913 Russian-born Jewish-Am. 6'3" boxer Abraham "Abe the Newsboy" Hollandersky (1887-1966) defeats Jack Ortega in nine rounds in Panama City to become the first Am. boxer to win the Panamanian heavyweight title; in 1918 he retires after 1,039 fights since 1905.
This will make it worthwhile to fight WWI? On Apr. 5, 1915 37-y.-o. 205-lb. 6'1" "Galveston Giant" Jack Johnson loses his title (since 1908) to 33-y.-o. 245-lb. 6'6" "Pottawatomie Giant" "Great White Hope" Jess Willard (1881-1968) by a KO in round 26 at the Vedado Racetrack in Havana, Cuba (referee Jack Welch), and Willard becomes world heavyweight boxing champ #7 (until 1919); after rumors spread that Johnson took a dive, Willard utters the soundbyte "If he was going to throw the fight, I wish he'd done it sooner. It was hotter than Hell out there."
On Aug. 31, 1915 English Jewish boxer Ted "Kid" Lewis (1894-1970) wins a 12-round decision over Jack Britton for the world welterweight boxing title; they go on to fight for the title five more times, with Lewis winning two and Britton three, plus 16 non-title bouts, for a total of 224 rounds in six years.
On Oct. 24, 1916 after his mgr. (since 1913) "Dumb" Dan Morgan arranges for him to fight three bouts on Jan. 1, 1915, Philly-born 5'11" Jewish-Am. boxer Battling Levinsky (Barney Lebrowitz) (1891-1949) defeats Jack Dillon tp becp,e world light heavyweight boxing champ, losing it in 1920 to Georges Carpentier of France.
On Dec. 18, 1916 5'2" William James "Jimmy" Wilde (1902=1060) of Wales, England. AKA "the Mighty Atom", "the Tylorstown Terror", and "Ghost with the Hammer in His Hand" defeats Young Zulu Kid of the U.S. in round 11 to become the first world flyweight boxing champ; on Dec. 6, 1919 he loses the title to Little Jackie Sharkey in a 10-round newspaper decision before 8K in Milwaukee, Wisc.
In 1918 Jack Dempsey knocks out Carl Morris in 14 sec.
On July 4, 1919 24-y.-o. 187-lb. Colo.-born "Manassa Mauler" William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey (1895-1983) KOs 245-lb. 37-y.-o. 6'6" old man Jess Willard (b. 1881) in round 3 in Toledo, Ohio to become world heavyweight boxing champ #8 (until 1926); whites manage to keep the title clear up till 1937.
In 1920 the N.Y. Walker Law is passed by the New York State Legislature to regulate prof. boxing, relegalizing it after the repeal of the Frawley Act in 1917, creating the New York State Athletic Commission, with rules incl. 15 rounds max., no head butting, and a physician required to be in attendance.
On July 2, 1921 the Jack Dempsey-Georges Carpentier Fight, boxing's first $1M gate is billed as the fight of the cent., becoming the first broadcast live on radio; French boxer ("the Orchid Man") Georges Carpentier (1894-1975) is badly beaten then KOd in min. 2 of round 4; the first fight sanctioned by the new World Boxing Assoc. (WBA), which was set up to compete with the New York State Athletic Commission.
On Feb. 12, 1922 Jewish-Am. sportswriter Nat Fleischer (1887-1972) begins pub. the mag. The Ring, covering the boxing world.
On July 4, 1923 "Manassa Mauler" William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey (1896-1983) wins a 15-round decision over scientific boxer Thomas J. "Tommy" Gibbons (1891-1960) in a world heavyweight championship fight in Shelby, Mont.; on Sept. 14 Dempsey defeats Argentine boxer Luis Angel Firpo (1894-1960) to retain the title even though Firpo knocks him down 11x, incl. out of the ring once.
In 1924 Denver, Colo. 6'4" boxer Eddie Bohn (1902-90) is crowned Rocky Mountain Heavyweight Champion, then works as Jack Dempsey's sparring partner at $100 a round, finally returning to Denver to found the Pig 'N Whistle restaurant on U.S. Highway 40 (West Colfax Ave. and Wolff St.), which until closure in 1991 hosts an endless stream of boxing-connected visitors incl. Dempsey, Gene Tunny, Max Baer, Primo Carnera, and other famous people incl. Roy Rogers, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, the Dorsey brothers, Wally Schirra, Billy Martin (manages the Denver Bears before going to the New York Yankees), even Clint Eastwood.
In 1925 after introducing the first long-lasting boxing headgear in 1917 for Jack Dempsey, Am. swimwear manufacturer Jacob Golomb (1893-) introduces Everlast brand men's boxing shorts (boxers), made by adding an elastic waistband to boxing trunks.
On Feb. 26, 1926 Theodore "Tiger" Flowers (1895-1927) ("the Georgia Deacon") defeats Harry Greb at Madison Square Garden by a unanimous decision, becoming the first African-Am. middleweight boxing champ; too bad, he dies on Nov. 16, 1927 in New York City of complications caused by surgery to remove scars around his eyes.
On Sept. 23, 1926 the 10-round First Dempsey-Tunney Boxing Match in the Sesquicentennial Stadium in Philadelphia, Penn. sees 31-y.-o. 190-lb. uneducated bad guy former champ Dempsey defeated in a unanimous decision by 28-y.-o. 189-lb. well-educated "boxing's brainiest champ" James Joseph "Gene" Tunney (1898-1978) and his Iron Mike (right hand), who becomes heavyweight boxing champ #9 (until 1928). On Sept. 22, 1927 the Long Count Fight at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. draws a gate of $2,658,660 (first $1M and $2M gate in entertainment history) and is heard by 39M over the radio; Tunney retains the world heavyweight boxing title after lying on the canvas for 13 sec. in the 7th round (the Long Count), and Dempsey stalls in going to a neutral corner so that referee Pop Reilly delays his official count, and Tunney get up and wins on points; the same afternoon Babe Ruth ties his previous record of 56 homers, and Lou Gehrig breaks Ruth's record of 170 RBIs by driving in two runs, giving him 172.
On Jan. 13, 1928 Kiwi-born boxer ("the Hard Rock from Down Under") Thomas "Tom" Heeney (1898-1984) draws Lithuanian-Am. boxer Jack Sharkey (Joseph Paul Zukauskas) (1902-94) before being defeated on July 26 at Yankee Stadium in New York City in round 11 by Gene Tunney; on Apr. 30 Sharkey defeats stone-drunk French Canadian boxer Jack Delaney (Oliva Chapdelaine) (1900-48) at Madison Square Garden in New York City before a crowd of 15K by KO in round 1.
On Sept. 26, 1929 Jack Sharkey defeats ("the Phantom of Philly") Thomas Patrick "Tom" Loughran (1902-82) at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, N.Y. by TKO in round 3 in front of a crowd of 45K to become world heavyweight boxing champ #10 (until 1930).
On Apr. 19, 1930 the comic strip Joe Palooka, by Hammond Edward "Ham" Fisher (1900-55) debuts, about a "big, good-natured prize fighter who didn't like to fight, a defender of little guys, a gentle knight", with excitable Irish mgr. Knobby Walsh, becoming the most successful sports comic strip; a blonde with a cowlick, he changes his face to fit each reigning world heavyweight boxing champ until black fighter Joe Louis, deciding to keep him white, esp. since he goes out with white babe Ann Howe, whom he marries on June 24, 1949. On Jan. 26, 1934 Benjamin Stoloff's Joe Palooka, based on the Ham Fisher comic strip debuts, starring "the Schnozzola" Jimmy Durante (1893-1980) as boxing mgr. Knobby Walsh (Junior), who sings his theme song Inka Dinka Doo; also stars Lupe Velez.
On June 12, 1930 Max Schmeling (1905-2005) of Germany defeats Jack Sharkey in New York City (80K attendance, $750K gate) in round 4 to become world heavyweight boxing champ #11 (until 1932) - something about this great white hope is schmelling?
On June 21, 1932 Jack Sharkey (Joseph Paul Zukauskas) (1902-94) outpoints Max Schmeling in 15 rounds in Long Island, N.Y. to regain the world heavyweight boxing title (until 1933); Schemeling's Jewish-Am. mgr. Joe Jacobs (1898-1939) utters the soundbyte: "We was robbed!"
In 1932 Max Everitt "Slapsie Maxie" Rosenbloom (1903-76) wins the light heavyweight boxing title (until 1934), going on to portray a punch-drunk boxer in films.
On June 29, 1933 in Long Island, N.Y. 6'8" 280-lb. Italian-born boxer Primo Carnera (1906-67), "the Ambling Alp" KOs 201-lb. Jack Sharkey in round 6 to become world heavyweight boxing champ #12 (until 1934).
On July 6, 1933 German boxing champ Max Schmeling marries blonde Czech actress Anny Ondra (Anna Sophia Ondrakova) (1903-87) (who appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Manxman" and "Blackmail" in 1929), and they become Germany's #1 glam couple; Hitler's babe Eva Braun (1912-45) later admits to being jealous of her.
On June 14, 1934 209-lb. Neb.-born Maximilian Adelbert "Madcap Maxie" Baer (1909-59) (wearing a Star of David on his trunks) KOs 263-lb. Primo Carnera in round 11 in Long Island to become world heavyweight boxing champ #13 (until 1935); big meat and egg eater Carnera begins a career slide, compounded by diabetes, and he ends up a pro wrestler in 1946, and a big attraction into the 1960s, becoming the model for the 1962 film "Requiem for a Heavyweight".
In 1934 Joe Louis (Joseph Louis Barrow) (1914-81) (who must always have his left glove put on and tied before the right one?) wins his first boxing match against Jack Kracken in Chicago.
On June 13, 1935 in Long Island, N.Y. 10-to-1 underdog "Cinderella Man" "Bulldog of Bergen" James J. "Jim" Braddock (1905-74) (mgr. Joe Gould) outpoints Max Baer (who once killed a man in the ring with a brain bruise?) in 15 rounds to become world heavyweight boxing champ #14 (until 1937).
In 1935 John Henry Lewis (1914-74) becomes the first African-Am. to win the world light heavyweight boxing title (until 1939).
On June 19, 1936 German boxer Max Schmeling (1905-2005) KOs African-Am. "Brown Bomber" ("Big Black Threat"?) Joseph "Joe" Louis Barrow (1914-81) in round 12 to regain the world heavyweight boxing title; millions of good white Aryans feel vindicated, but the blacks want a rematch; Schmeling's wife listens to the broadcast with Nazi propaganda leader Josef Goebbels, who comments "The white man prevailed over the black, and the white man was German"; Goebbels is so gobble-gobble excited he doesn't go to bed till 5 a.m.?
On June 22, 1937 23-y.-o. 197.25 lb. "Brown Bomber" Joe Louis KOs 31-y.-o. 197 lb. Jim Braddock in round 8 in Chicago to become world heavyweight boxing champ #15 (until 1949), going on to defend his title 25x - and whites begin a long drought in the ring?
In 1937 African-Iroquois boxer Henry "Hurricane Hank" Armstrong (1912-88) (real name Henry Jackson Jr.) holds three boxing titles simultaneously: featherweight (1937-8), welterweight (1938-40), and lightweight (1938).
On June 22, 1938 two years after losing to him, and one year after winning the heavyweight boxing title, black U.S. boxer Joe Louis (1914-81) stuns white German boxer Max Schmeling (1905-2005) with a round 1 KO (2 min. 4 sec.) at Yankee Stadium, scoring an ideological as well as physical V for the U.S. over Nazi Germany while half of the pop. of the U.S. tunes in - tune in and find why life in Berlin can be a drag?
On June 28, 1939 Joe Louis defeats 235-lb. beer-guzzling Tony "Two Ton" Galento (1910-79), who before the fight tells reporters "I never hoid of da bum", and that he will "moida da bum", then knocks Louis down after Louis knocks him down.
On June 18, 1941 William David "Billy" Conn (1917-93), "the Pittsburgh Kid" surrenders his light-heavyweight boxing title to challenge heavyweight Joe Louis (Joseph Louis Barrow) (1914-81) (who dehydrated himself to weigh less for the fight to make it seem more fair), outpointing him until round 13, then trying to knock him out and getting KOd instead, with the soundbyte: "What the use of being Irish if you can't be thick"; When he asks Louis, "Why couldn't you let me hold the title for a year or so?", he replies: "You had the title for 12 rounds and you couldn't hold onto it."
On Apr. ?, 1945 Ga.-born Isiah "Ike" Williams (1923-94) defeats Juan Zurita to become world lightweight boxing champ (until May 1951).
On June 19, 1946 Joe Louis defends his world heavyweight boxing title for the 23rd time with an 8th round KO of Billy Conn at Yankee Stadium, with a record 146K people watching on TV; before the match reporters claimed Conn might outpoint him with greater hand-foot speed, to which Louis replied: "He can run but he can't hide."
In 1946 Ga.-born black boxer Sugar Ray Robinson (Walker Smith Jr.) (1920-89) wins the world welterweight boxing title (until 1951).
In 1946 welterweight Aurele "Al" Couture KOs Ralph Walton with one punch in 10.5 sec., becoming the shortest boxing match in history (until ?).
On Mar. 1, 1949 Joe Louis announces his retirement, and on June 22 in Chicago, Ill. Ezzard Charles (1921-75) of Cincinnati, Ohio defeats "Jersey" Joe Walcott in 15 rounds to become world heavyweight boxing champ #16 (until 1951). On Sept. 27, 1950 Joe Louis comes out of retirement and loses to him in New York City in 15 rounds, despite outweighing him by 34 lbs. (218 to 184).
On Jan. 6, 1951 champion (since 1945) Isiah "Ike" Williams (1923-94) defeats popular Argentine boxer Jose Maria Gatica (1925-63) ("El Mono"), then is defeated in May by James Walter "Jimmy" Carter (1923-94), who becomes world lightweight boxing champ (until 1952).
On Feb. 14, 1951 ("the St. Valentine's Day Massacre") after KOing George Costner last year in 2 min. 49 sec. for trying to steal his nickname, welterweight champ (since 1946) Sugar Ray Robinson (Walker Smith Jr.) (1921-89) defeats "the Raging Bull" "the Bronx Bull" Giacobbe "Jake" LaMotta (1921-) with a 13th round TKO to win the world middleweight title, then becomes a hero in Paris since they hate LaMotta for defeating Marcel Cerdan in 1949, then loses and regains the title in London to Randy Turpin, then next year defeats Rocky Graziano before being defeated by Joey Maxim in 103F heat, retiring with a 131-3-1-1 record (until 1955).
On June 15, 1951 Joe Louis (1914-81) scores his last KO vs. Lee Savold in Madison Square Garden in New York City; on Oct. 26 he is KOd at Madison Square Garden by Rocky Marciano (1923-69).
On July 18, 1951 "Jersey" Joe Walcott (Arnold Raymond Cream) (1914-94) KOs Ezzard Charles in round 7 in Pittsburgh, Penn. to become world heavyweight boxing champ #17 (until 1952) (oldest so far) (37) (until ?).
On Sept. 23, 1952 "Broxton Bomber" Rocky Marciano (Rocco Francis Marchegiano) (1923-69) KOs "Jersey" Joe Walcott in round 13 to become world heavyweight boxing champ #18 (until 1956). Also in 1952 boxer Joe Louis (1914-81) breaks golf's color barrier by appearing under a sponsor's exemption in a PGA event; the PGA later grants him posth. honorary membership.
In 1953 Am. featherweight boxer Tommy Collins (1929-96) is beaten so savagely by mob-connected lightweight champ Jimmy Carter (1923-) that cries for boxing reform lead to the "three-times down rule".
In 1955 Sugar Ray Robinson regains the world middleweight boxing title (until 1957) from white boxer Carl "Bobo" Olson (1928-2002).
On Apr. 27, 1956 undefeated boxing champ Rocky Marciano retires with a 49-0 record, incl. 43 KOs, and on Nov. 30 in Chicago Floyd Patterson (1935-) KOs Archie Moore (1916-) in round 5, becoming world heavyweight boxing champ #19 (until 1959).
In 1957 after losing and regaining the title from Gene Fullmer, middleweight boxing champ (since 1955) Sugar Ray Robinson is defeated by Carmen (Carmine) Basilio (1927-), "the Upstate Onion Farmer" by decision in 15 rounds in Yankee Stadium on Sept. 23, with only the referee scoring it for Robinson, drawing loud boos from the crowd of 19K; Robinson regains it from him next Mar. 25 (until 1960).
On June 26, 1959 in New York City underdog Ingemar Johansson (1932-) of Sweden KOs Floyd Patterson in round 3 to become world heavyweight boxing champ #20 (until 1960).
On Jan. 22, 1960 Paul Pender (1930-2003) wins the middleweight boxing title from aging Sugar Ray Robinson (Walker Smith Jr.) (1921-89) in a split decision in Boston, Mass., then defeats him again in another split decision in Boston on June 10, then retires on May 7, 1963 undefeated after several tough matches, going to college and becoming a vocal opponent of boxing.
On June 20, 1960 former champ (1956-9) Floyd Patterson (1935-2006) (35-2-0) KOs 22-0-0 Ingemar Johansson in round 5 in the Polo Grounds in New York City with a leaping left hook to regain the heavyweight boxing title; the big Swede lays unconscious flat on his back for 5 min. with his glazed eyes staring up at the lights, blood trickling from his mouth, and his left foot quivering - is my car insurance just right for me?
On Sept. 5, 1960 6'3" Louisville, Ky.-born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. (1942-2016) (later Muhammad Ali) wins a gold medal in light-heavyweight boxing, and returns to the U.S. to find he's still treated like an N-word, later throwing it in the Ohio River after being refused service at a Louisville diner while wearing it around his neck; he goes 100-5 in his amateur career.
On Mar. 13, 1961 the Rubber Match (their 3rd fight) in Miami Beach, Fla. sees Floyd Patterson get decked twice and Ingemar Johansson once before Patterson KOs Johansson in round 6 to retain his heavyweight boxing title; they become good friends who fly across the Atlantic to see each other every other year.
In 1961 Lucchese crime family mobster Frankie Carbo (1904-76), known as "the Czar of Boxing" since the 1940s, who is rumored to have engineered the 1947 murder of Bugsy Siegel in Beverly Hills, Calif. is charged with extortion of welterweight boxing champ (1958-60) Don "Geronimo" Jordan (1934-97), and after a 3-mo. trial prosecuted personally by U.S. atty. gen. Robert Kennedy he is convicted and sentenced to 25 years.
On Mar. 24, 1962 Virgin Islands native Emile Alphonse Griffith (1938-) and Cuban immigrant Benny "Kid" Paret (b. 1937) (white trunks) meet for the world welterweight championship in Madison Square Garden in New York City in a televised match, and Griffith knocks Paret out in round 12 after cornering him and pummeling him with a barrage of 29 consecutive punches (18 in 6 sec.), all seen on TV ("a baseball bat demolishing a pumpkin" - Norman Mailer); Paret never regains consciousness and dies 10 days later, causing boxing to be banned on TV for more than a decade; earlier Griffith had KO'd Paret to win the championship, and Paret had come back to reclaim the title by a decision in a rematch; at the weigh-in Paret taunts Griffith, calling him a maricon (homosexual) for visiting gay nightclubs, causing him to live under a cloud after the death; coverage of Vietnam ends up filling the gap in the public's need for bread and circuses?
On Sept. 25, 1962 6' Charles L. "Sonny" Liston (1928-71) ("the Big Bear") (who learned boxing in prison from a Roman Catholic priest) KOs Floyd Patterson in round 1 at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Ill., becoming world heavyweight boxing champ #21 (until 1964). On July 22, 1963 Sonny Liston KOs Floyd Patterson in round 1 to retain his heavyweight boxing title.
On Feb. 14, 1963 the World Boxing Council (WBC) is founded in Mexico City, becoming a rival to the WBA.
World blacks get an incorruptible black-is-beautiful hero after he defeats a scary black monster and makes it look easy? On Feb. 18, 1964 after Sonny Liston says that he doesn't want to meet the "bums", the Beatles visit with Cassius Clay in Fla. while in training for his match with Liston; too bad, the cocky Beatles get out-cocked by cock of the walk Clay, after which John Lennon utters the soundbyte "That man made a fool of us." On Feb. 25, 1964 bigmouth underdog Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. (1942-2016) shakes up the world when he KOs unbeatable WBA world heavyweight boxing champ (since 1962) Charles L. "Sonny" Liston (1928-71) in Miami Beach, Fla. in round 7 after Liston refuses to come out of his corner, claiming a left shoulder injury, leading to rumors of a fix, becoming world heavyweight boxing champ #22 (until 1967); in round 5 Clay had to fight blind after he got a caustic substance in his eyes from Liston's face; after winning, Clay gives his I Shook Up the World Speech to the press, with the immortal soundbyte "I am the greatest" (inspired by wrestler Gorgeous George), also "He wanted to go to heaven, so I took him in seven"; the FBI suspects that the fight was fixed by Las Vegas mobsters, but never proves it or implicates Ali; Clay's connections with the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X are covered up by the press until he wins and asks the press to forget his "slave name" and call him Cassius X; on Mar. 6 Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad gives him the new name Muhammad Ali, and suspends Malcolm X from the org., causing him to announce on Mar. 8 that he is forming his own black nationalist party, formally quitting on Mar. 12; Clay officially becomes Black Muslim Muhammad Ali next Feb. 5.
On Mar. 5, 1965 Ernie Terrell (1939-) wins a 15-round decision in Houston, Tex. over 6' Eddie Machen (1932-72) to win the WBA heavyweight boxing title withdrawn from Cassius Clay over his induction problems (until 1967), becoming the first "alphabet soup" world heavyweight champ. On May 25, 1965 Muhammad Ali (who has just converted to Islam) defeats Sonny Liston in round 1 in Lewiston, Maine; because of death threats a small arena is chosen, and only 2,434 turn out to see him float like a butterfly and sting like a bee; Robert Goulet sings the U.S. nat. anthem, beginning "Oh say, can you see, by the dawn's early night."
On Apr. 28, 1967 world heavyweight boxing champ Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. (1942-2016) (a newly-converted Black Muslim who changed his name to Muhammad Ali) refuses induction into the U.S. Army on the grounds that he is a Muslim minister, uttering the soundbytes "I only fight to expand the territory ruled by Sharia", er, "I ain't got no trouble with the Viet Cong"; "Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I'm not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars, but I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here... If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people, they wouldn't have to draft me, I'd join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I'll go to jail, so what? We've been in jail for 400 years"; he is indicted on May 8, and convicted by a jury in Houston on June 20 of violating U.S. Selective Service laws when he again refuses induction into the U.S. Army after being denied conscientious objector status; sportscaster Howard William Cosell (Cohen) (1918-95) publicly supports his hero's decision, while sportscaster Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith (1905-82) disses him, saying "Cassius makes himself as sorry a spectacle as those unwashed punks who picket and demonstrate against the war"; he is given the maximum 5 years and $10K fine, but released on a $5K bond, then appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court and wins 8-0 on June 29, 1971, after he is stripped of his boxing title and his career ruined by Uncle Honky Sam; the WBA stages an 8-man tournament to crown a successor, which is won next Mar. 4 by Joe Frazier after former champ Floyd Patterson loses a controversial 12-round decision to Jerry Quarry - slapped down like any uppity nigger by the Man?
On Mar. 4, 1968 after Muhammad Ali's title was stripped by the WBA 10 mo. earlier, Joseph William "Smokin' Joe" Frazier (1944-2011) of Philly KOs Buster Mathis (1943-95) of Grand Rapids, Mich. in round 11 in New York City to gain heavyweight boxing title recognition in six states (Ill., Maine, Mass., N.Y., Penn., Tex.); on Apr. 27 in Oakland, Calif. (after an 8-man tournament to fill Clay's place) James Albert "Jimmy" Ellis (1940-) of Louisville, Ky. outpoints "the Bellflower Bomber" Jerry Quarry (1945-99) of Los Angeles in 15 rounds to win the WBA heavyweight title (until 1970); on Sept. 14 Ellis scores a close decision over former champ Floyd Patterson in Stockholm. On Feb. 16, 1970 Joseph William "Smokin' Joe" Frazier (1944-2011) KOs Jimmy Ellis in round 5 in New York City to settle the title, becoming heavyweight boxing champ #23 (until 1973).
In 1968 Nicaraguan featherweight boxer Alexis Arguello (1952-2009), AKA the Explosive Thin Man suffers a round 1 TKO in his prof. debut, then goes on to win 36 of his next 38 bouts, then wins the featherweight world title from Mexican boxer Ruben Olivares in Los Angeles, followed by the junior lightweight title from Alfredo Escalera in Puerto Rico, and the lightweight title from Jim Watt in London; too bad, he is defeated for the junior welterweight title by Aaron Pryor (1955-) in Miami, Fla., and hangs it up.
In 1969 Joe Louis collapses from cocaine use, and is hospitalized in the the Denver VA Hospital and Colo. Psychiatric Hospital for paranoia.
On Oct. 23, 1970 after returning from a 43-mo. exile, during which most boxing orgs. vacated his heavyweight title and awarded it to Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali KOs Jerry Quarry in round 3 in Atlanta, Ga.; the match was approved by Atlanta mayor Sam Massell after black state senator Leroy Johnson pressured him, pissing-off segregationist Ga. gov. Lester Maddox, who proclaims a Day of Mourning and unsuccessfully calls for a boycott, after which black activist Julian Bond calls Atlanta "the black political capital of Amreica".
On Mar. 8, 1971 undefeated (26-0, 23 KOs) 27-y.-o. heavyweight Philly brawler Joseph William "Smokin' Joe" Frazier (1944-2011) defeats undefeated (31-0, 25 KOs) 29-y.-o. Louisville puncher Muhammad Ali (Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.) (1942-2016) on points in the 15-round Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden in front of a crowd of 20,455 and a TV audience of 300M in 46 nations, becoming the richest sports event in history to date, grossing $20M; Ali's old hand speed and finesse are gone, and he spends much of the fight on the ropes; in the 15th round Ali lands on the canvas after a Frazier punch, and gets back up fast, after which he is rubber-legged and his myth of invincibility is shattered; after the fight Ali is hospitalized for a swollen jaw, and Frazier a few days later for headaches; in Apr. Frazier becomes the first black man since Reconstruction to address the S.C. legislature; eventually Ali and Frazier fight three brutal fights, with Ali outlasting Frazier in the last two.
On June 28, 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously (8-0-1, with Thurgood Marshall recusing himself) rules in Clay v. U.S. to overturn boxer Muhammad Ali's 1967 draft evasion conviction, ruling that he had been drafted improperly and that the govt. failed to properly specify why his application for conscientious objector status was denied, with the soundbyte: "The record shows that [Ali's] beliefs are founded on tenets of the Muslim religion as he understands them" - after ruining his career with their endless deliberations they announce their total ignorance of the Muslim doctrine of jihad to permit all Muslims to refuse to fight for the infidel U.S.?
On Jan. 22, 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica, 29-0 Joe Frazier loses his heavyweight boxing title (since 1970) to George Edward Foreman (1949-) in a round 2 KO (3-knockdown rule); Howard Cosell repeatedly yells "Down goes Frazier!" after the first knockdown; Foreman becomes world heavyweight boxing champ #24 (until 1974).
On Mar. 31, 1973 Muhammad Ali is defeated by a split decision by "Mandingo" star (San Diego local) Ken Norton (1949-) in a heavyweight boxing match at the San Diego Sports Arena in Calif.; on Sept. 10 Ali avenges the loss in round 12 of a match at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
On Mar. 25, 1974 39-0 George Foreman KOs Ken Norton (1949-) of San Diego, Calif. in round 2 of a heavyweight title fight in Caracas, Venezuela; meanwhile "the Greatest" Muhammad Ali outpoints Joe Frazier in 12 rounds on Jan. 28 in Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier II in Madison Square Garden in New York City; they each earn $2.6M, the highest purses in boxing history until the Oct. 30 Rumble in the Jungle in Kinshasa, Zaire (later the DRC), which begins at 4 a.m. Zaire time (10 p.m. EST); 4-1 underdog Ali takes a pounding from the bigger-armed George Foreman, letting him punch himself out until the 8th round, when he suddenly changes his style and drops him like a bum with 2 sec. left, regaining the world heavyweight title; "Foreman was humiliated. I told you he was nothing, but did you listen? He punched like a sissy" (Ali); Ali calls Foreman "the Mummy"; "I think he should be respected" (Foreman); they each earn a record $5M; the money for the fight is put up by a Panamanian co. based in Switzerland that is 95% owned by Zaire, which ends up losing $5M after only 35 of 5K planned Americans buy the tour package.
On Oct. 1, 1975 (Wed.) the 14-round Thrilla in Manila sees Muhammad Ali outlast Joe Frazier in their 3rd and final fight; "Frazier was the loser, but that evening, nobody really lost. Because of that fight, Joe Frazier can always boast with honor that he made Muhammad Ali a great fighter" - Pete Hamill in GQ.
On Jan. 7, 1976 John G. Avildsen's Rocky, filmed in 28 days with a $1M budget is a corny-but-uplifting rags-to-riches story of an underdog boxing champ in Philly, based on Bayonne, N.J. boxer ("the Bayonne Brawler") Chuck Wepner (1939-) (who went the distance with Muhammad Ali in 1975), and written and starred in by Sylvester "Sly" Stallone (1946-), who also goes from rags to riches when it becomes a blockbuster hit; the stirring brassy song Gonna Fly Now is nominated for an Oscar; Stallone wrote the script in three days after watching the Ali-Wepner fight, and sells the rights to make the film on the condition that he is cast as the lead, then turns down a $150K offer to let Ryan O'Neal play his part; Stallone loses but nobody remembers?; "His whole life was a million-to-one shot"; "Women weaken legs"; "Yo, Adrian"; "I sat through Rocky at least 40 times, and every time I saw it, I got emotional" (Stallone); the first scene is a fight between Rocky and Spider Rico on Nov. 25, 1975; the pet turtles are Cuff and Link; #1 grossing film of 1977 ($117.2M).
The original six million dollar man? On June 26, 1976 Am. boxer Muhammad Ali fights 6'3" Japanese wrestler Kanji "Antonio" Inoki (1943-) in Tokyo; after 15 rounds the match is declared a draw; Ali makes $6M.
On Feb. 15, 1978 Leon Spinks (1953-) outpoints Muhammad Ali in 15 rounds in Las Vegas, Nev. to win the WBA world heavyweight boxing crown; on June 9 (after the WBC withdraws recognition of Leon Spinks on Mar. 18 and awards its title to Ken Norton for refusing to fight him) Cuthbert, Ga.-born Larry Holmes (1949-), "the Easton Assassin" outpoints Ken Norton in 15 rounds in Las Vegas for the WBC heavyweight boxing crown; on Sept. 15 in New Orleans, La. Muhammad Ali outpoints Leon Spinks and regains the WBA crown.
On June 26, 1979 heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali confirms to reporters that he sent a letter to the World Boxing Assoc. resigning his title, saying that his 3rd announced retirement is indeed f-f-f-final; on Oct. 20 John "Big Johnny" Tate (1955-98) outpoints "Great White Hope" Gerald Christian "Gerrie" Coetzee (1955-) in 15 rounds in Praetoria, South Africa to win the WBA heavyweight boxing title (until 1980).
On Nov. 31, 1979 charismatic Ray Charles "Sugar Ray" Leonard (1956-) TKOs defending WBC welterwight champ Wilfred Benitez in Las Vegas in round 15 with 6 sec. to go; the referee is Carlos Padilla.
On Mar. 31, 1980 Mike Dwayne "Hercules" Weaver (1952-) (nicknamed by Ken Norton) turns in a Rocky performance when he is about to lose the match then KOs John Tate with 40 sec. left in round 15 in Knoxville, Tenn. to win the WBA heavyweight boxing title (until 1986).
On Aug. 2, 1980 the WWII Fight at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich. sees welterweight Tommy Hearns KO Pipino Cuevas at 2:39 in round 2 of 15, ending Cuevas' 4-year reign as welterweight champ.
On Sept. 27, 1980 Am. middleweight Marvelous Marvin Hagler (1954-) defeats English middleweight Alan Minter (1951-) in Wembley, London to become world middleweight champion (until Apr. 8, 1987), getting the word marvelous legally added to his name.
On Nov. 25, 1980 the No Mas Fight at the Superdome in New Orleans, La. sees Ray Charles "Sugar Ray" Leonard (1956-) of the U.S. regain the WBC welterweight boxing title when Roberto Duran (1951-) of Panama abruptly quits in round 8, shouting, "No Mas!"; Duran later denies saying that, claiming he had stomach cramps and Howard Cossell put the words in his mouth; their 2nd of three "superfights".
On Dec. 19, 1980 Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull, a B&W film written by "Taxi Driver" writer Paul Schrader stars Robert De Niro as middleweight boxer Jake La Motta in a montage of brutal boxing scenes; "I ain't a pretty boy no more"; De Niro's last words: "I am the boss" (4x).
On Apr. 11, 1981 6'3" "Easton Assassin" Larry Holmes (1949-) defeats Trevor Berbick (1955-2006) of Jamaica at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nev. by unanimous decision in round 15. On Apr. 12, 1981 Joe Louis (b. 1914) dies in Paradise, Nev. of a heart attack; a greeter at Caesar's Palace, he dies hours after appearing at the Larry Holmes vs. Trevor Berbick heavyweight title fight; he is buried in Arlington Nat. Cemetery; Max Schmeling pays for part of his funeral and acts as pallbearer.
On Sept. 16, 1981 the Leonard-Hearns Showdown at Caesar's Palace in Nev. sees 30-1 Ray Charles "Sugar Ray" Leonard (1956-) KO 32-0 (30 KOs) Thomas "Hitman" Hearns (1958-) in round 14, after which they split a $17M purse and fight a rematch in 1989.
On Dec. 11, 1981 39-y.-o. Muhammad Ali (1942-) (who already shows signs of Parkinson's disease) appears in his last pro fight in the Drama in the Bahamas at Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre in Nassau, Bahamas, which is won by Trevor Berbick (1955-2006) of Jamaica in a unanimous 10-round decision; next Mar. 22 Berbick defeats Pinklon Thomas to become heavyweight champ, then loses his title in round 2 on Nov. 22 to Mike Tyson, ending up as the victim of a homicide in 2006.
On Dec. 10, 1982 Michael Marshall "Dynamite" Dokes (1958-) KOs Mike Weaver in round 1 in Las Vegas, Nev. to win the WBA heavyweight boxing title (until 1983); too bad, fans think the real champ is WBC-IBF champ Larry Holmes.
On Sept. 23, 1983 South African boxer Gerald Christian "Gerrie" Coetzee (1955-) KOs Michael Dokes in round 10 in Richfield, Ohio to win the WBA world heavyweight boxing title (until 1984).
One white guy screws up the works in heavyweight boxing? On Mar. 9, 1984 after Larry Holmes (1949-) bolts for the new IBF, its champion (since Dec. 1983) "Terrible" Tim Witherspoon (1957-) outpoints Greg Page (1958-) in 12 rounds in Las Vegas, Nev. to win the WBC heavyweight boxing title (until 1987); on Aug. 31 in Las Vegas Pinklon Thomas (1958-) outpoints Witherspoon in 12 rounds and takes the title; meanwhile on Nov. 9 in Las Vegas Larry Holmes KOs James Smith in round 12 to take the IBF title, then on Dec. 1 in Sun City, South Africa Greg Page KOs Gerry Coetzee in round 8 to win the WBA title.
On Apr. 29, 1985 Tony "TNT" Tubbs (1958-) outpoints Greg Page in 15 rounds in Buffalo, N.Y. to win the WBA heavyweight boxing title (until 1986), then on Sept. 21 in Las Vegas, Nev. Michael "Jinx" Spinks (1956-) outpoints Larry Holmes in 15 rounds to win the IBF heavyweight boxing title (until 1987).
On Jan. 17, 1986 "Terrible" Tim Witherspoon (1957-) outpoints Tony Tubbs in 15 rounds in Atlanta, Ga. to win the WBA heavyweight boxing title; on Dec. ? he is KOd in round 1 by James "Bonecrusher" Smith (1953-); on Nov. 22 20-y.-o. 5'11-1/2" Michael Gerard "Iron Mike" Tyson (1966-) knocks out Trevor Berbick in round 2 and wins the WBC title, becoming known as "the Baddest Man on the Planet" and "Kid Dynamite". On Mar. 7, 1987 he wins a unanimous decision over James "Bonecrusher" Smith to win the WBA title, followed on Aug. 1 by a unanimous decision over Tony Tucker to take the IBF title, becoming undisputed world heavyweight boxing champ #25 (first since 1978) (until Feb. 11, 1990), becoming the youngest (until ?).
On Apr. 8, 1987 Ray Charles "Sugar Ray" Leonard (1956-) upsets Marvelous Marvin Hagler in Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas to become middleweight boxing champ, raising non-heavyweight boxing's profile; in ? Hagler retires after waiting in vain for a rematch, and moves to Italy to become a movie actor.
On June 27, 1988 Michael Gerard "Iron Mike" Tyson (1966-) retains the undisputed heavyweight boxing crown in Atlantic City, N.J., KOing Michael Spinks 91 sec. into the 1st round; Iran "the Blade" Barkley (1960-) TKOs Thomas Hearns to become WBC middleweight boxing champ, which is voted the upset of the year by Ring mag.; on Feb. 24, 1989 he is defeated by Roberto Duran in a split decision.
On Feb. 11, 1990 (same day Nelson Mandela is freed) the "Upset of the Century" sees 37-0 heavyweight champion Michael Gerard "Mike" Tyson (1966-) KOd in round 10 by unknown Columbus, Ohio native James "Buster" Douglas (1960-) in Tokyo.
On Oct. 25, 1990 Ala.-born, Atlanta, Ga.-raised Evander Holyfield (1962-) KOs Buster Douglas in round 3 of their fight in Las Vegas to become world heavyweight boxing champ #26; he goes on to defend it 3x, lose it to Riddick Bowe in 1992, regain it in 1993 in a rematch, lose it again to Michael Moorer in 1994, then win it for a 3rd time in Nov. 1996 against Mike Tyson as a 25-1 underdog; meanwhile Douglas retires on his $24.6M for the Holyfield fight, gains weight to almost 400 lbs., almost dies from a diabetic coma, and tries a comeback.
On Dec. 18, 1993 the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise (near Las Vegas), Nev. opens, going on to holst the annual Billboard Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and several boxing matches.
In 1993 world heavyweight champion boxer ape on the hoof Michael Gerard "Iron Mike" Tyson (1966-) is stripped of his crown after a felony rape conviction of Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington (1973-) in his hotel room, where he maintained it was consensual (duh, she was in his room?); he regains it in 1996 but loses it to Evander Holyfield in Nov. 1996, setting the stage for the Ear Match on June 28, 1997.
On Aug. 19, 1995 Browning, Mont.-born Blackfoot Joe "the Boss" Hipp (1962-) becomes the first Native Am. to challenge for the world heavyweight boxing title, losing to WBA champ Bruce Seldon at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. on the undercard of the Mike Tyson v. Peter McNeeley fight (Tyson's first after being released from prison for rape); he goes on to win the WBF heavyweight title in 1999.
On June 28, 1997 (Sat.) Mike Tyson bites off the tip of Evander Holyfield's ear in round 3 of the Pay-Per-Chew pay-per-view heavyweight title bout (originally titled "The Sound and the Fury"), losing the match and stinking up his rep., ending his caveman-wolfman-vampire career with one bout, er, bite.
On June 8, 2002 the Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis Bout in Memphis, Tenn. sees Tyson KOd in round 8 in front of a bevy of gay-lesbian Tyson fans.
In 2007 Joe Layden pub. The Last Great Fight: The Extraordinary Tale of Two Men and How One Fight Changed Their Lives Forever, about the 10th round KO of Mike Tyson by 42-to-1 underdog James "Buster" Douglas in Tokyo on Feb. 12, 1990, which leads to the demise of prof. heavyweight boxing as a money-making sport when Douglas loses in round 4 to Evander Holyfield then gets diabetes, and Tyson starts getting in trouble with the law?
On Nov. 13, 2010 5'-6-1/2" southpaw Filipino boxer Emmanuel Dapidran "Manny" "Pac-Man" Pacquiao (1978-) defeats Antonio margarito to clinch the WBS super welterweight title at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, becoming the first 8-div. boxing champion (until ?); on Feb. 17, 2016 after comparing gay sex to animals, boxing champ Manny Pacquaio is fired by Nike from his endorsement contract (begun 2006), joining Lance Amstrong, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Oscar Pistorius.
On May 2, 2015 47-0 Am. 5'8" welterweight boxer Floyd "Pretty Boy", "Money", "T.B.E." (The Best Ever) Mayweather Jr. (Floyd Joy Sinclair) (1977-) decisively defeats 57-6-2 Philippine lefty boxer Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao in 12 rounds by decision at the MGM Grand Garden in Paradise (near Las Vegas), Nev., becoming the highest-grossing boxing match in history (until ?), with a $100M purse for Mayweather, who is now one short of Rocky Marciano's 49-0 record.