FROM THE ARCHIVE
FORGED BY FIRE: Bob Fitzsimmons fought in hard times (his BoxRec.com professional record includes phrases like “fight to the finish” and “the police intervened”) and he was a hard man, despite appearances. At his heaviest the Englishman weighed 175 pounds, but he routinely knocked out much larger opponents and was the first to win world titles in three divisions: middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight. He derived his notorious power from working as a blacksmith, which he demonstrates here for some young fans, circa 1900.
THE RING magazine has amassed an uparalleled collection of photos over its 90-plus years. Here we present examples from the archive. Check back often for updates.
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NOWHERE SAFE: The look on Segundo Murillo’s face seems to represent what must have gone through the minds of many of Tommy Hearns’ early welterweight opponents: “How the hell is this guy hitting me over here when just a second ago he was way over there?” At 6-foot-1 with a 78-inch reach, the Hitman was definitely not your typical 147-pounder. This fight took place in Detroit on March 3, 1979, and was Hearns’ 17th pro bout. He ended his career 50 fights later in 2006, with a record of 65-5-1 (48 KOs) and the distinction of all-time great.
KISS THE SKY: It’s hard to say what’s more impressive, the punch or the fact that Miguel Banda survived it. That’s a young (22) Michael Carbajal, in his eleventh pro fight, administering a chiropractic adjustment to Banda on Jan. 12, 1990. Carbajal scored two knockdowns (Rounds 1 and 7) but won by a unanimous eight-round decision. He would go on to be a five-time world titleholder and THE RING’s Fighter of the Year in 1993, retiring with the WBO junior flyweight belt around his waist after stopping Jorge Arce on July 31, 1999.
NOW AND THEN: Here’s one of those “Now vs. The Old Days” things: The man pictured here throwing a punch, former world welterweight champion Ted “Kid” Lewis, fought one man (Jack Britton) 20 times during his pro career, which ended in 1929 with a tally of 232-45-26 (79 knockouts). The man shown receiving the punch is not Britton, however. It’s Tom Gummer, who, after getting knocked out by Lewis in the first round on Feb. 16, 1922, ended his career at 4-5-1 (3 KOs).
TO THE PEOPLE: Here we present images from when Muhammad Ali’s bus roamed the country to promote his return bout with Ken Norton. Ali mingles with (and clowns around with) fans in New York City. The sign on the bus says: “Meet and greet Muhammad Ali before his revenge battle of broken jaw with Ken Norton,” referring to the injury Ali suffered against Norton in a split-decision loss on March 31, 1973. In the rematch, which took place on Sept. 10 of that year, the decision went in favor of Ali.
SENSATION: Knockout sensation Mike Tyson (right) became the youngest heavyweight champion ever when, at 20, he stopped Trevor Berbick to win the WBC belt on Nov. 22, 1986, in Las Vegas. Tyson would make nine successful defenses and become unified champ before traveling to Tokyo to face Buster Douglas in what was expected by many to be just another walkover on Feb. 11, 1990.
IN MOURNING: Some of the top personalities in boxing pay respects at the grave of middleweight great Stanley Ketchel on March 8, 1913, more than two years after he was murdered. A hired hand shot Ketchel at a ranch where he was staying in Conway, Mo., and the fighter died that night in Springfield. Ketchel was only 24. Pictured at Ketchel’s grave, at Holy Cross Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Mich., are (left to right) Jimmy Dunn, the manager of featherweight Johnny Kilbane; middleweight Jimmy Clabby; Kilbane; bantamweight Johnny Coulon; heavyweight Luther McCarty; and manager Billy McCarney.
AND NEW… Joe Frazier gained recognition as heavyweight champion of the world after WBA titleholder Jimmy Ellis took a beating from Smokin’ Joe and couldn’t come out for the start of the fifth round on Feb. 16, 1970 at Madison Square Garden. Of course, a year later Frazier removed any doubt whatsoever about his right to call himself the champ when he outpointed Muhammad Ali in the same arena.
LESSONS FROM THE MASTER: It’s not clear whether these boys are paying rapt attention or are just in awe of their boxing instructor, former heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey. The photo was taken in New York City around 1930, shortly after his last fight. He appeared to be in fighting shape.
HAIL MARY: Julio Cesar Chavez’s legendary last-second knockout of Meldrick Tayler was predated by more than 40 years by a miracle Jake LaMotta pulled off. LaMotta was losing a hard-fought battle against rugged Laurent Dauthuille going into the 15th and final round on Sept. 13, 1950, in Detroit when he wrote his chapter of history. The Bronx Bull landed a hard right to the head of the tiring Dauthuille in the final moments of the fight, putting the Frenchman down for the count. Only 13 seconds remained. The victory preserved LaMotta’s middleweight title and claimed its place in boxing lore.
HIGH DRAMA: Rocky Marciano’s perfect record was never in more jeopardy than it was in this RING Fight of the Year against Ezzard Charles on Sept. 17, 1954 at Yankee Stadium. A cut on Marciano’s nose was so severe that the fight was in danger of being stopped in the middle rounds. The champ responded by putting Charles down twice in the eighth, the second time for a 10-count. Marciano was losing badly on the cards at the time of the stoppage.
JINX: Boxing fans might remember Michael Spinks best for lasting only 91 seconds against Mike Tyson in 1988, Spinks’ last fight. They might forget that he was perhaps the best light heavyweight of his era – successfully defending his 175-pound title 10 times ÔÇö and a solid heavyweight who twice beat Larry Holmes and stopped Gerry Cooney. In this photo, Spinks is in the process of outpointing Dwight Muhammad Qawi to unify two light heavyweight belts in 1983. Spinks won the middleweight gold medal in the 1976 Olympics.
SUPER HEAVYWEIGHTS: Eric “Butterbean” Esch (left) and Larry Holmes weighed a combined 588 pounds for their 10-round showdown in 2002, Holmes’ last fight. Esch, who got his start in Tough Man competitions and became very popular, was pretty good for such a hefty guy (334 pounds for this fight). However, Holmes could beat Esch in his sleep even at 52, his age when they fought. The former heavyweight champ won a unanimous decision.
HOW TO: The editors of THE RING attempted in this photograph to explain the immense power of the great Stanley Ketchel, the middleweight champion who fought between 1903 and 1910. Ketchel (51-4-4) stopped all but three of his victims. “The Michigan Assassin” was only 24 when he was murdered on Oct. 15, 1910.
WHO’S WHO II: This photo was taken in 1994, according to information on the back of it, which reads, “The Boxing Legends at Fight Night ’94.” Every boxer in the photo ÔÇö with the exception of George Chuvalo ÔÇö is in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The fighters are (left to right): Beau Jack, Sandy Saddler, Carmen Basilio, Kid Gavilan, Ingemar Johansson, Gene Fullmer, Bob Foster, Ken Norton, Chuvalo, Joe Frazier, Archie Moore, Jake LaMotta and Floyd Patterson. Only Chuvalo and LaMotta are living.
UNPRECEDENTED: Carmen Basilio, a dynamic punching machine who won world titles in two weight divisions, is best known for defeating the great Sugar Ray Robinson to win the middleweight championship in 1957 (pictured here). How exciting was Basilio? He was in a remarkable five consecutive RING Fights of the Year, between 1955 and 1959.
TAKE THAT: The great Salvador Sanchez (right) made Danny “Little Red” Lopez his personal punching bag in two memorable fights in 1980. Sanchez, a relative unknown at the time, lifted Lopez’s WBC featherweight title on Feb. 2 with a 13th-round knockout. In the June 21 rematch (pictured here) Lopez fought bravely but was picked apart and beaten up again by a superior fighter. Sanchez won the second fight by a 14th-round knockout. The Mexican idol successfully defended his title seven more times before he was killed in a car accident in 1982. He was only 23.
BIG BOY: We marvel at the size of giants Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko, who are listed at 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-6, respectively. Imagine what folks thought of Jess Willard. The “Pottawatomie Giant,” who fought between 1911 and 1923, was 6-6 1/2, which must’ve seemed like 8 feet back then. This photo was taken in 1915 in Havana, Cuba, presumably before he stopped Jack Johnson there to win the heavyweight championship. He defended only once before Jack Dempsey cut him down to size in 1919.
EYE-YAI-EYE: This is Hall of Famer Carmen Basilio before and after he lost his middleweight title to Sugar Ray Robinson on March 25, 1958, in Chicago. Basilio gave a courageous performance, losing a split decision even though his eye was pounded shut. A two-time welterweight champion, he had taken the middleweight title from Robinson in 1957.