Friday, April 06, 2007

The Boxing Hall of Famers

When speaking of Boxing Hall of Fame, almost anyone I meet will blurt out the name Muhammad Ali, or Larry Holmes, or George Foreman, or Joe Louis or Michael Spinks. Who’s to blame them since it was only expected. During this era when these great boxers rose to prominence, was also fortunately the era media television was gaining expansive reach. And people saw them more than the great boxers of the recent generations.

There are also those boxers who once a time became pinnacles of the boxing sport, Boxing Hall of Fame inductees, but whose popularity isn’t as far reaching. Here are some of the Boxing Hall of Famers who didn’t make it much into the limelight.

John “Jack” Broughton can only be posthumously inducted into the Boxing Fall of Fame; since when he was at his brightest, the sport of boxing was still at its weaning stage. He was a bare knuckle fighter, and was known to be undefeatable with strings of victory credited to his title. But what made him the pioneer of the Boxing Hall of Fame was his London Prize Ring Rules, a set of rules governing the bare knuckle boxing of that time, which paved the way for the modern version of boxing.

The first recognized boxing champ, John L. Sullivan, is yet another name in the Boxing Hall of Fame. More of a rough and merciless brawler than a cultivated fighter, Sullivan was the precursor of today’s savage boxing icon we see as Tony Galento and Mike Tyson. And John L. Sullivan was also one of the few fighters that has seen (and fought) with the transition from bare knuckle to gloved boxing.

William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey was a cultural icon of his time. He had held the World Heavyweight Champion for 7 years starting 1919, as the Manassa Mauler. During the turn of the century war, the First World War, Jack Dempsey was hailed by many as national hero for the masses who needs diversion from the ailing of the war.

Better known as the Cinderella Man, James J. Braddock was a struggling professional boxer who’d alternate work in the docks with his boxing to support his family’s needs at the time of the Great Depression. He saw chance when he was to fight unexpectedly against John “Corn” Griffin who, when defeated paved Braddock’s way to John Henry Lewis. This led to the much feared Max Baer, which he defeated as a 10:1 underdog in one stunning upset in boxing history.

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