Category Archives: History

History for new site

October 14, 2018
October 14, 2018
jack britton

Feedspot followFeedly follow

JACK BRITTON was a masterful, stand-up boxer who paced himself carefully and was able to campaign for 25 years before ending his career in 1930 at the age of 44. Billed as “The Boxing Marvel”, Britton is well known for his amazing series of 20 bouts with Britain’s Ted “Kid” Lewis, exchanging the world welterweight title along the way. Most of these matches were officially No Decision bouts but in 1915, in their second meeting, Lewis won the 12-round decision to win the world welterweight title. There was bad blood between the rivals as they exchanged threats and refused the customary handshake before the bout.

For the next six years the two men monopolised the championship. The title passed to Britton in 1916 when he won a 20-round decision in New Orleans. Lewis regained it in 1917 but two years later Britton scored the only inside the distance win between the rivals when he knocked out Lewis in the ninth round to regain the title once more. Lewis later claimed he had climbed out of his sick bed to fight believing that the light-punching Britton would not be able to stop him.

Their final bout ended in a 15-round points win for Britton in 1921. Overall, Britton won the series by four bouts to three with one draw and 12 No Decisions. They were amazing times. In 1917 Britton and Lewis fought four times in a row in a five week period while a year later, between May 2, 1918 and June 25, Britton fought seven times which included two of his fights with Lewis and his first against lightweight legend Benny Leonard.

Read: The 10 greatest welterweights of all time

Britton was born William James Breslin in Clinton, New York in 1885 of Irish parentage and started his career in the small boxing clubs of Milwaukee and Chicago. He fought a classic three-fight series with the great Packey McFarland. The first was a draw but two ended in No Decisions. Ringsiders were treated to displays of great ring artistry seldom seen by the two fighters. Britton met another master boxer, Benny Leonard, in June 1922 and was clearly winning the fight after 12 rounds according to the gathered ringside writers.

jack britton

In the 13th round Jack went down on one knee from a borderline body punch. The normally cool Leonard stepped in and cracked him with a left hook as he kneeled on the canvas and was promptly disqualified. Britton’s luck ran out in his next defence when he was floored three times and outpointed by Mickey Walker. Britton was 37, Walker a mere 21, 16 years his junior.

Jack continued to fight until 1930, when he finally retired after losing to one Rudy Marshall. He died in Miami, Florida in 1962 at the age of 76.

‘Fifty grand’

  • Britton failed to go the distance only once in 344 bouts, when knocked out by Steve Kinney in his third fight.
  • Ernest Hemingway’s short story Fifty Grand is based on the Jack Britton-Mickey Walker fight in Madison Square Garden on November 1, 1922. While Hemingway, a great boxing fan, did not attend the fight but he is believed to have gleaned his ideas from the ringside reports of the day.
  • Britton lost all his ring earnings in failed Florida land investments. He became a boxing instructor and mentor to young athletes in New York City after he retired and eventually ran a drugstore with his wife in Miami.

Fast facts

Born October 14, 1885 in Clinton, New York Died March 27, 1962 Wins 104 Knockouts 28 Losses 27 Draws 21 No Decisions 190 No Contests 2 Best win Ted “Kid” Lewis w ko 9 Worst loss Mickey Waker l pts 15 Pros Master boxer, toughness, knew plenty of tricks Cons Did not hit hard

October 13, 2018
October 13, 2018
mike tyson

Action Images/Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

Feedspot followFeedly follow

MIKE TYSON bludgeoned the resistance out of happy-go-lucky Brian Nielsen in six rounds, and, as he usually does, left us with more questions than answers in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 13, 2001.

Does the 35-year-old former world heavyweight champion really want to fight the winner of Hasim Rahman vs Lennox Lewis? Does he really want to fight at all? What on earth was he doing weighing 17st 1lb? How vulnerable was he becoming when Nielsen decided honour was satisfied and a strategic withdrawal was sensible?

By his standards Mike Tyson was positively effusive as he stopped for a string of polite interviews afterwards. In recent years he has tended to bolt out of fight arenas, surrounded by his ridiculous, impregnable posse of goons, as if journalists’ questions pose a terrible threat to his privacy.

This time he even waited so long in a corridor of the Parken Stadium that Sky’s Adam Smith was able to throw in a jocular “round-up” type of question about whether or not this supposed boxing monster would manage a smile or two that night. Tyson said, with wonderful understatement: “I am not a happy, smiley kind of guy,” before wandering on to talk to CNN.

Plainly, Tyson saw Nielsen as no kind of threat, but then that was also true of Lou Savarese, Julius Francis and several others. There were stories of his staying up to carouse with his team in Copenhagen restaurants  during the week (which may explain his weight). Of course, Tyson is a great manipulator of the media. If he wants to, he can give a marvellous interview. Or maybe, just maybe, he really is wising up to the fact his time in boxing is almost done. Again, talking to the British newspapermen a few days before the fight, he said: “You get old too soon, smart too late.”

Mike Tyson

Tyson also spoke about his struggle to stay in shape. “Sometimes when I’m out of condition, I get very discouraged. Sometimes I can’t walk around the block without huffing for air. When you are in condition, you want to box. When you’re not, you just want to throw it all out the window. You’re thinking, ‘Hell, I’m going to get killed’.”

Of course trainer Tony Brooks played the party line. “Tyson is as mean and mad as a hungry bulldog chasing a meat truck,” he said.

In fact, he was more like a top class greyhound with a bellyful of Winalot and water. He bolted out of the trap, but by the third corner was lolloping along uncomfortably, safe in the knowledge the line comes sooner or later.

Some say they heard on the corner microphone that he told Brooks when he sat down at the end of round six he felt very tired.

Nielsen’s retirement was perfectly understandable. Never mind the eye damage he cited as the reason, he had absorbed six rounds of heavy shots from one of the best punchers of recent times. However, it was also frustrating to see the big Dane actually reach the part of the fight where his size and strength might become a positive rather than a negative help, and then opt out.

If Nielsen gritted his teeth, walked out for the seventh and carried on shoving Tyson around in the clinches and biffing away, what would have happened in Mike’s mind?

It was only a 10-round bout and so we must assume that Tyson would have won on points, but would he have been prepared to fight through exhaustion?

However, Nielsen couldn’t go on, and we have to accept that. He spoke well in his halting English. “No, I am not proud because I wanted to go the distance,” he said. “Every time he hit me on the left eye I could not see.”

Of the third round knockdown, only the second of his 63-fight career, the Dane said: “I am not embarrassed. He hit me. But he would never have knocked me out.”

It was defiant, cartoon-character Hagar the Horrible stuff from a man whose appeal in Denmark is substantial. More than 20,000 fans turned out to see if he could do anything at all against the boxing legend from New York, and while few of them probably expected him to last more than a round or two, when he ambled to the ring to Monty Python’s satiric anthem Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life the crowd sang lustily and waved their (plastic) mugs of beer in his honour.

“He was tougher than I appreciated, it surprised me. He was in his home town and he wanted to show his people how tough he was,” he said of the 36-year-old Dane, and pointed out that he felt his lay-off of a year had affected him.

“When I am prepared I will knock anybody out,” said Tyson. “But I need two more fights before I fight these guys.”

On the evidence of what we saw, Tyson is still a very dangerous puncher.

Mike Tyson

For two or three rounds he looked to have plenty of moves, but just didn’t have the speed or precision of his better years. The excess bulk – he has never weighed 16st in his career, let alone 17st – could have had an effect, and could have tired him mentally as well as physically.

However, the little feints and changes of pace he used to have were absent. Instead of finding holes in Nielsen’s defences and exploiting them, after the third he bludgeoned away the way Rocky Marciano sometimes used to do, not caring particularly where the punches landed, just making sure they hit something. It worked because Nielsen was worn down. But it wasn’t what Tyson did at his best. n

October 11, 2018
October 11, 2018
Floyd Mayweather

Action Images/Reuters/Steve Marcus

Feedspot followFeedly follow

OCTOBER 11, 1996. Original fight report from BOXING NEWS

FEATHERWEIGHT bronze medallist Floyd Mayweather, who still claims he was robbed (although he was not), looked fast and powerful before dispatching lanky Robert Apodaca after 37 seconds of the second with a double left hook to head and body.

DID YOU KNOW: The referee for Mayweather’s debut was Kenny Bayless, who refereed Floyd’s 49th bout against Andre Berto.

DID YOU KNOW: Diego Corrales was also on the card, hammering Sergio Macias inside four rounds. Five years later, Mayweather thrashed Corrales in 10 rounds to retain his WBC super-featherweight title.

READ this: Manny Pacquiao bites back at Floyd Mayweather

READ MORE: On This Day articles

October 9, 2018
October 9, 2018
Nigel Benn vs Chris Eubank

Action Images

Feedspot followFeedly follow

THE eagerly awaited return between bitter rivals Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn occurred on October 9, 1992. It was hosted by Manchester United’s Old Trafford, and the 42,000 who crammed into the stadium to witness the fight were dwarfed by the estimated 16.5million who watched on ITV.

THE terrestrial station paid £1.5 million to secure the rights to broadcast the fight live in the UK.

BOTH Eubank’s WBO super-middleweight title, and Benn’s WBC belt were on the line. It was reported that Benn – who had lost their 1990 opener in nine rounds – had paid the WBO’s sanctioning fee of £10,000 so the bout would remain a unification showdown.

EUBANK’S corner came into the ring with ‘WBO and WBC champion’ emblazoned on their jackets.

AT the end of the first round, Eubank spent 40 seconds of the interval strolling and posturing before eventually taking his place in the corner.

EUBANK had to be dragged back to his corner by his trainer Ronnie Davies after threatening to do the same after a wild third round in which both men were hurt.

BENN lost a point, fairly, for hitting low in round six, but even so, his excellent output seemed to have him comfortably ahead with three rounds of the scheduled 12 to go. The rematch lacked the savagery of the first bout, but it was engrossing.

EUBANK, as was one of his great strengths, came on strong down the stretch to leave the decision in the balance. The scores were 115-113, 113-115, and 114-114. It was a draw, and the fans – who loved to hate Eubank – spewed their displeasure.

BOXING NEWS scored the bout 115-114 in Benn’s favour, but then-editor Harry Mullan refused to buy into the ‘robbery’ and called it a very close fight.

October 8, 2018
October 8, 2018
Billy Conn

Feedspot followFeedly follow

BILLY CONN, a clever light-heavyweight champion, is best known for a fight he lost… his challenge to Joe Louis for the heavyweight championship at the New York Polo Grounds in June 1941.

Through 12 rounds Conn boxed beautifully, jabbing, punching cleanly, moving, keeping Louis twisting, turning and chasing… three rounds to go and the 23-year-old from Pittsburgh had overhauled the champion’s early lead and was in front. One judge had it level at six rounds each, but the other two had Conn ahead.

There was still work to do but Conn was the man in the ascendancy, Louis the one with something to find. And then in the 13th the crowd of 54,487 saw Louis draw Conn into trading punches. Briefly Conn outfought him, but then held on as a series of right hands hurt him – and then more rights sent him crashing to the canvas. He was counted out with two seconds left in the round.

Conn’s grandfathers were immigrants from Derry and Cork and the beaten challenger took a pragmatic view of his tactical switch in that fateful 13th: “What’s the point in being Irish if you can’t be thick?”

Six months later the attack on Pearl Harbor brought the USA into World War II and immediate plans for a return were shelved. Conn did have three fights in 1942, but then was out for four years before, in the first big fight after the war, and without a warm-up, he met Louis again in June 1946 at Yankee Stadium, New York.

Neither man was as good as he had been five years before, but Conn’s deterioration was greater. He was knocked out in the eighth round. He boxed only twice more, in a 10-day spell in 1948, then had an exhibition with Louis in Chicago and retired.

In his prime Conn had won the world light-heavyweight title at the age of 21 with a 15-round decision over Melio Bettina in New York. He had defended it three times, twice against Gus Lesnevich before relinquishing it to concentrate on his first fight with Louis. He had also beaten top heavyweight contenders in Lee Savold, Bob Pastor and Al McCoy as well as middleweights like Fred Apostoli and Teddy Yarosz.

Conn invested his money in oil wells, was paid by a car dealership and for three years in the 1960s interrupted the quiet life he led with his family in Pittsburgh to manage the Mob-owned Stardust in Las Vegas. He occasionally refereed bouts, including a lightweight title fight between Carlos Ortiz and Sugar Ramos in Mexico City in 1966. His decision to rule Ramos out because of a cut eye sparked a riot with fans throwing rocks and bottles – and he had to fight his way to the dressing room.

In 1990 he made the headlines when he floored an armed robber in a store with a left hook out of the memory bank.

Conn died of pneumonia in a Pittsburgh hospital in 1993, aged 75.

‘He can run, but he can’t hide’

WHEN told of Conn’s upcoming “hit and run” strategy ahead of their first fight, Louis calmly replied: “He can run but he can’t hide.”

Scorecards in the Louis fight were: judge Healy had it 6-6 even, judge Monroe had it 7-4-1 to Conn and referee Joseph had it to Conn by a 7-5 margin.

Fast Facts

Born October 8, 1917 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Died May 29, 1993 Wins 63 Knockouts 14 Losses 12 Draws 1 Best win Gus Lesnevich (I) w pts 15 Worst loss Joe Louis (I) l ko 13 Pros Clever boxing skills, indomitable spirit Cons Lacked knockout power

October 7, 2018
October 7, 2018
lennox lewis

Action Images/Nick Potts

Feedspot followFeedly follow

LENNOX LEWIS returned to the stage of his American debut on October 7, 1995 when he took on Tommy Morrison. The bout was set for the Atlantic City Convention Center and victory was crucial for both men as they . Lewis – who had recently joined forces with Emmanuel Steward – had failed to convince in his two comeback bouts since losing his WBC title to Oliver McCall, and Morrison – the former WBO boss – was hoping to build on an impressive win over Razor Ruddock and secure a world title shot.

ALREADY financially secure, Lewis was more interested in proving himself in the ring than the riches he could earn. He spent long periods dedicating himself to improvement, in Steward’s Kronk Gym and for this bout, in the Poconos in Pennsylvania.

LEWIS earned $2.4million and Morrison picked up $2.1million for the showdown, that was watched in the arena by 8, 369.

IT did not provide the thrills and spills that many hoped but it was an impressive performance from Lewis as he handed out a one-sided beatdown. He dropped Morrison once in the second, again in the fifth, before two knockdowns concluded matters in the sixth.

MORRISON was forced to pursue victory for much of the fight with just one eye as Lewis’ powerful mits forced his right eye to clamp shut. Morrison retained his sense of humour in the aftermath, saying: “With Ray Mercer it was inexperience, with Michael Benntt it was a case of not training properly – I liked girls too much – and this time if I’d practised sparring with a patch over my eye I would have kicked Lewis’ ass.”

“THE DUKE”, when asked how to beat Lewis, said, “Kick him straight in the balls.” The respectful loser went on to say he thought the Englishman was capable of regaining the title.

LEWIS would do just that. In his next fight he survived a 10-round war with Ray Mercer, winning a decision, before beating old conqueror McCall for the vacant WBC title in February 1997. It was a farcical affair, but Lewis would go on to craft a fine heavyweight legacy, as he defeated the likes of Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, and Vitali Klitschko before retiring in 2004.

MORRISON’S story did not end well. He tested positive for HIV after the bout, and his career was all but over. The affable star claimed the test results were inaccurate, and he campaigned to be allowed to box again. He did have three more fights – all knockout wins – under questionable legislation, but it was clear he was not the same fighter. Morrison died, aged just 44, in September 2014.

October 4, 2018
October 4, 2018
lennox lewis

Action Images/Nick Potts

Feedspot followFeedly follow

1. CLUES about leading heavyweight contender Andrew Golota’s state of mind were not hard to find before he challenged world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis on October 4, 1997. The two bouts that created the Pole’s chance were disqualification losses to Riddick Bowe. On both occasions Golota, bossing the former champion impressively, hijacked victory by fouling incessantly with hacks below the beltline.

2. GOLOTA, largely unknown before the Bowe fights, was supposed to then fight slugger Ray Mercer only for the fight to be cancelled as a result of a neck injury to the 1988 Olympic champion.

3. LEWIS was struggling for respect coming into the fight. He emerged from a maul-fest with Henry Akinwande via disqualification three months before, and his failure to definitively put away an emotionally challenged Oliver McCall prior to that did not go down well with boxing fans.

4. THE challenger was an imposing physical specimen, and Lewis’ manager accused Golota of steroid use in the build-up to battle. Tests came back clear.

5. LEWIS was guaranteed a $4 million purse, with Golota set to pocket a cool $ 1.75 million. Despite the challenger’s ludicrous behaviour in the Bowe contests, he was seen as a massive threat to the Englishman. Lewis was a narrow favourite – 6-5 – but many were predicting a changing of the guard.

6. ALMOST 14,000 fans bought tickets to witness the showdown at the Atlantic City Convention Center, with a further 300,000 putting their hands in their pockets for the PPV broadcast.

7. GOLOTA, struggling with an injured knee, was injected with powerful painkiller lidocaine in an effort to stave off the discomfort. Following the bout, he was fined $5,000 for using the drug. His punishment triggered a $21 million lawsuit – from Golota – against the doctor that administered the shot. It all culminated in an out-of-court settlement of $1 million.

8. LEWIS was in exceptional form when the bout began and made a mockery of the doubters. An overhand right landed flush, and Golota was in trouble. Several more punches followed and the challenger went down under the pressure. He managed to regain his footing, briefly, but Lewis emphatically finished the job to complete one of his most impressive performances.

9. “THERE was too much pressure,” admitted the loose cannon afterwards. “I was nervous.” Golota’s accomplished trainer, Lou Duva, went further with his assessment of the proceedings. “He froze,” he said. Golota had a seizure after the fight and had to go to hospital before making a full recovery.

10. LEWIS said: “I wanted to get rid of all the misfits and this was the last misfit.”