5. Barney Ross

Immensely brave both in and out of the ring. After the ring wars were over, Ross signed up for World War II. His heroics at Guadalcanal earned him the Silver Star, but the morphine used to stem the pain from his wounds turned Barney into a junkie.

In Civvy Street, he was sometimes spending 500 dollars a day on heroin – and that was in the late 1940s.

His climb from the gutter and battle to beat his addiction was made into a film, Monkey On My Back.

Inside the ring, Ross – real name Dov-Ber Rosofsky – established himself as one of the greatest Jewish fighters the world has seen. He won two of three world title wars with Jimmy McLarnin and lost the crown in 1938 to Henry Armstrong.

Ross died in 1967, aged 57, from throat cancer: the only opponent he couldn’t beat.

Barney Ross

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