Julio Cesar Chavez, Salvador Sanchez, Ruben Olivares, Carlos Zarate, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales are all names we instantly think of when referring to Mexican Legends of the squared circle, when I am asked one of the first names that instantly spring to mind is Juan Manuel Marquez.
Fantasy fights between heavyweight greats have been one of the most debated subjects amongst the fight fraternity. Ali v Louis, Louis v Dempsey and Ali v Tyson are probably the three most discussed fights around tables or on social media. But what about one of the greats versus one who had the potential for greatness?
Back in the 90’s, waiting patiently to view certain international fights was the norm. Sometimes weeks or months passed before a fight you had read about in one of the boxing publications found it’s way on to either Sky Sports or Eurosport (when both were part of your subscription, oh the good old days!).
Today marks the 50th year anniversary of Howard Winstone’s world title triumph, fulfilling a lifelong dream that at times looked like it would never happen.
How things can change so fast in twelve months. As we entered 2017, Roman Gonzalez sat atop of the mythical pound for pound list. Unbeaten at 46-0, with 38 KO’s, the Nicaraguan had become his countries first ever four division champion and the first fighter to ever win titles in boxing’s four lightest weight classes.
Men have been throwing hands at one another since the dawn of time way before the ancient Greeks accepted the sport as an Olympic spectacle in BC 688. In a time where we have seen our fair share of great fighters embark on their own legacies as the sport of boxing has evolved into the one we see today.
In 1980 a future two-weight world champion was born into a Tarahumara family, a man who overcame such adversity that only he from his four other brothers would make it in the harsh climates/conditions that his tribe lived in.
Last week marked the 20th year anniversary of a tragic date for boxing, a night which left one of the sports best in a critical condition, a night which started so brightly for the American Gerald McClellan ended with him on the canvas fighting for his life.
Benny Leonard (born Benjamin Leiner) the son of Orthodox Jews grew up in the rough and tumble lower east side neighbourhood of New York City.
Back in the 1940’s & 50’s there resided a group of men known as The Murders Row, men who were so good that they were avoided at all costs by the champions in or around their particular division, left instead in most cases to fight each other.
“I’d like to break a man’s jaw and watch it just hanging there”. Michael Moorer gave this insight in to the vicious streak that bubbled below the surface of his calm spoken exterior when he was bludgeoning his way through the light-heavyweight division in the late 80’s and the start of the 90’s.
If you search for one punch knockouts online, the chances are you will see Julian “The Hawk” Jackson rendering some poor, unfortunate fighter in to an unconscious state. One of the heaviest handed fighters in ring history, Jackson terrorised the super welterweights (junior middleweights) and middleweights throughout the late eighties and early nineties, his reputation growing with each outing.
Throughout the twentieth century, the image of the British heavyweight was frowned upon. “Horizontal” was the word used to define the failure to capture boxing’s richest prize. Good fighters such as Tommy Farr, Don Cockell, Brian London, Henry Cooper, Joe Bugner, Richard Dunn and Frank Bruno had all fallen in their respective challenges for the world heavyweight championship. But things started to change as the new millennium approached. Starting in the early nineties, one man, possessing great athleticism, a fight ending right hand and, more importantly, a winning and highly competitive mentality, changed the face of things forever.
Born into poverty in the tough streets of Merida in Venezuela, Edwin Valero was no stranger to standing his ground undeterred by weight or height he quickly made a name for himself as a street thug, where he and his friends would ride around the tight streets of Venezuela looking to steal and rob for personal gain.
Like a candle blown out by the wind, that’s how it felt for me personally when Ike Ibeabushi was sentenced back in 1999. Aged 26 a career full of promise and excitement came crashing down around him just as he was on the verge of taking over boxing’s most glamorous division.
Playing tag with the demons within his own mind, Johnny Tapia was one of life’s tortured souls, always running but never fully able to outpace the very thing that would aid to his downfall.
As a Police Officer in Alburquerque, New Mexico, Bob Foster was required to carry a fire arm. But in the ring, he carried weapons of a very different variety, two that rendered most of the top light-heavyweight contenders of his generation unconscious. The extraordinary leverage he could muster from his sleek, 6 ft 3 inch frame was awe-inspiring. He was one of boxing history’s most destructive forces.
In the cycle of life, a son will generally look to emulate his father. They watch with love and admiration as the father provides for his family whilst being a strong and protective presence. Influenced by this, many attempt to follow in the footsteps that have been laid out before them.