Sports

Boxing

Who are the boxing greats of the television era?

The first televised heavyweight boxing championship bout was between Joe Louis and Jersey Joe Walcott (Arnold Raymond Cream; 1914–1994) from Madison Square Garden in 1947. In 1951 Walcott and Ezzard “Quiet Tiger” Charles (1921–1975) fought in the first heavyweight championship prizefight telecast coast-to-coast. In the fifteen-round bout held in Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium on June 5, Walcott outpointed Charles and then became the oldest person ever to win the heavyweight title. Sugar Ray (Walker Smith) Robinson Jr. (1921–1989) became the first black fighter to hold the middleweight title on five separate occasions. He lived like a champion, drove flashy cars, and enjoyed fun and nightlife. Floyd Patterson (1935–2006) became the first black to regain the heavyweight title, in 1960. Another boxing great, Archie Moore (1913–1998) set the record for the most knockouts in his twenty-seven-year career that ended in 1963. Joe Frazier (1944–2011) won the Olympic gold medal in Japan in 1964 and became the first American Olympic heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight title of the world. The first black boxers to draw a multimillion dollar gate were Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali (1942–). They fought at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971; Frazier won the match on points. Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns (1958–) became the first black to win boxing titles in five different weight classes, in 1987. George Edward Foreman (1948–), another popular fighter, knocked out Michael Moorer in the heavyweight championship fight in Los Angeles on November 5, 1994, and regained the title he had lost to Muhammad Ali twenty years earlier. In doing so, he became the oldest man to hold the world championship title. A minister, he named all of his five sons George: George H., George II, George III, George IV, and George V.



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