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BWAA Information Sheet 2021 International Boxing Hall of Fame Nominees

BWAA Information Sheet:

2021 International Boxing Hall of Fame Nominees

With ballots either in hand, or on their way, for voters, below are biographical capsules on the new and returning candidates for entry into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Modern Class.

First Time Nominees

Acelino Freitas

Career: 1995-2017

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Record: 41-2 (34 KO) Boxrec Record

*Notable Outcomes: Anatoly Alexandrov KO1, Joel Casamayor UD12, Daniel Attah UD12, Jorge Barrios TKO12, Artur Grigorian UD12, Diego Corrales TKO by 10, Zahir Raheem SD12, Juan Diaz RTD by 8

Title Belts Held: WBO Jr. lightweight, WBA super featherweight, WBO lightweight

A bonafide celebrity in Brazil, Acelino Freitas was inspired as a child by his hero, the legendary champion Eder Jofre, to find glory in the ring. A brawler with a heavy punch, the barrio that produced Freitas was never far from his mind; in time, it wouldn’t be far from the mansion he purchased with his earnings. A Jr. lightweight and lightweight for most of a career spanning 22-years, he faced two future consensus world champions, defeating Joel Casamayor by controversial decision in 2002, and surrendering to Diego Corrales after 10 rounds in 2004. After a string of wins, he was stopped by Juan Diaz in 2007. Five years later, he was a political appointee for the Brazilian Republican Party and surprised everyone by returning as a jr. middleweight to stop an undefeated novice. He fought again in 2015 and in 2017, at 42, bid farewell after rising from a knockdown to win one more time.

Roy Jones Jr.

Career: 1989-2018

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Pensacola, Florida

Record: 66-9 (47 KO) Boxrec Record

*Notable Outcomes: Jorge Vaca KO1, Jorge Castro UD10, Bernard Hopkins UD12, Thomas Tate TKO2, James Toney UD12, Vinny Pazienza TKO6, Tony Thornton TKO3, Merqui Sosa TKO2, Bryant Brannon TKO2, Mike McCallum UD12, Montell Griffin DQ by 9, Montell Griffin KO1, Virgil Hill KO4, Lou Del Valle UD12, Otis Grant TKO10, Reggie Johnson UD12, David Telesco UD12, Richard Hall TKO11, Eric Harding RTD10, Derrick Harmon RTD10, Julio Gonzalez UD12, Clinton Woods TKO6, John Ruiz UD12, Antonio Tarver MD12, Antonio Tarver TKO by 2, Glen Johnson KO by 9, Antonio Tarver L12, Joe Calzaghe L12, Danny Green TKO by 1

Title Belts Held: IBF middleweight, IBF super middleweight, WBC light heavyweight, WBA light heavyweight, IBF light heavyweight, WBA heavyweight

Wrongly denied a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics, Jones won titles in four professional weight classes as a pound-for-pound fixture for a decade. Jones handed Hopkins his only loss at middleweight for the next dozen years to win his first title. The following year, Jones delivered an eye-opening rout of Toney at super middleweight title to cement his elite status. A disqualification loss to Griffin was his only blemish until 2004. Jones immediately avenged it in one round. Among other impressive career knockouts, Jones was the first to stop Hill and only to stop perennial contender Thomas Tate and future titlist Clinton Woods. In 2003, Jones rose to defeat Ruiz, becoming the first former middleweight titlist to win a heavyweight title since Bob Fitzsimmons. A narrow win over Antonio Tarver was followed by a stark fall with consecutive knockout losses to Tarver and Johnson.

Pongsaklek Wonjongjam

Career: 1994-2018

Historical World Championships: Flyweight (2001-07; 10-12)

Hailed from: Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

Record: 91-5-2 (47 KO) Boxrec Record

Notable Outcomes: Malcolm Tunacao TKO1, Luis Lazarte TKO2, Daisuke Naito KO1 Hidenobu Honda UD12, Hussein Hussein UD12, Daisuke Naito Tech. Dec. 7, Daisuke Naito L12, Daisuke Naito D12, Koki Kameda MD12, Julio Cesar Miranda UD12, Edgar Sosa UD12, Sonny Boy Jaro TKO by 6, Rey Megrino TKO by 3

Title Belts Held: WBC flyweight

The Thai southpaw was a model of versatility, consistency, and excellence throughout the first decade of the 21st century through two reigns as flyweight champion. His first tenure was record-setting, as his 17 successful consecutive defenses surpassed Miguel Canto's previous divisional mark of 14. His second reign -- which began at age 32 by dethroning the 22-0 Koki Kameda in Japan -- pushed his final total to 21 defenses. Wonjongkam is one of only 11 men in history to accumulate 20 or more. Wonjongkam had a 56-fight winning streak between October 1996 and July 2007 and his 34-second knockout over Daisuke Naito was the fastest ever scored in flyweight championship fight. During his career, Wonjongkam defeated nine men who would win widely recognized alphabet titles ranging from light flyweight to bantamweight and though he fought mostly in Thailand, Wonjongkam went 6-1-1 (2 KO) in title fights held in Japan.

Return Nominees

Yuri Arbachakov

Career: 1990-97

Historical World Championships: Flyweight (1992-97)

Hailed from: Kizes, Russia

Record: 23-1 (16 KO) Boxrec Record

*Notable Outcomes: Muangchai Kittikasem KO8, TKO9; Yoon-Un Jin UD12; Ysaias Zamudio UD12; Nam Hoon Cha UD12; Chatchai Sasakul UD12, L12

Title Belts Held: WBC flyweight

The 1989 World Amateur Champion became Russia’s first professional world champion in the post-Soviet era. Blessed with quick hands, accuracy, and punishing power, Arbachakov could box from the outside but was better when he didn’t. Fighting out of Japan, Arbachakov quickly rose through the ranks with a knockout of Rolando Bohol in his sixth fight. In only his thirteenth contest, Arbachakov knocked off Kittikasem, the former IBF 108 lb. titlist and reigning WBC and lineal 112 lb. king, in the eighth round. The Russian would make nine successful defenses against a pool of contenders with a combined record of 219-15-5, including a rematch knockout of Kittikasem. At the height of his reign, he would climb as high as sixth in Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound ratings. Following his last winning defense, hand injuries sidelined Arbachakov for over a year. He would fight once more, losing the title to Chatchai Sasakul after soundly defeating him two years before. Arbachakov would hang up his gloves for good after his lone defeat.

Jorge Arce

Career: 1996-2014

Historical World Championships: Jr. Flyweight (2002-05)

Hailed from: Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico

Record: 64-8-2 (49 KO) Boxrec Record

Notable Outcomes: Juan Domingo Cordoba UD12; Michael Carbajal TKO by 11; Yosam Choi TKO6; Melchor Cob Castro TW6; Joma Gamboa KO2; Melchor Cob Castro KO5; Hussein Hussein TKO10, TKO2; Rosendo Alvarez KO6; Hawk Makepula TKO4; Cristian Mijares L12; Rafael Concepcion RTD9; Vic Darchinyan RTD by 11; Simphiwe Nongqayi L12; Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. TKO12

Title Belts Held: WBO light flyweight; WBC light flyweight; WBO super flyweight; WBO super bantamweight; WBO bantamweight

By dethroning WBO light flyweight titlist Juan Domingo Cordoba in December 1998, Arce, at 19 years 136 days, became the 10th youngest champion in boxing history and the second youngest Mexican ever to win a major boxing title behind Pipino Cuevas. He lost the belt in a blood-spattered war to Michael Carbajal in his second defense. He went on to win the WBC belt from Yo Sam Choi in July 2002 and recorded seven successful defenses before vacating. After capturing and defending a secondary WBC belt at flyweight and enduring an 0-3 slump in title fights, Arce revived his career by winning three belts in an eight-fight stretch to become the second Mexican to win titles in four weight classes. Besides his 14-6 (9 KO) record in major title fights, Arce was beloved for his blood-and-guts, never-say-die style and mischievous personality.

Paulie Ayala

Career: 1992-2004

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Fort Worth, Texas

Record: 35-3 (12 KO) BoxRec record

Notable Outcomes: Joichiro Tatsuyoshi L Tech. Dec. 6; Johnny Tapia UD12, UD12; Johnny Bredahl MD12; Clarence Adams SD12, UD12; Erik Morales L12

Title Belts Held: WBA bantamweight

The all-action southpaw did it without a significant knockout punch. In 1999, he was named The Ring Fighter of the Year, and won The Ring Fight of the Year, upsetting Tapia for the WBA crown at 118 lbs. In his second fight with Clarence “Bones” Adams in 2002, he became Ring Magazine Jr. Featherweight champion in one of his best performances. Later that year, an attempt to win a vacant WBC Featherweight crown was thwarted by Erik Morales in a spirited battle. Ayala was sometimes as lucky as he was good, getting the nod in some highly debated outcomes against Hugo Dianzo, his second fight with Tapia, and his first battle with Adams.

Nigel Benn

Career: 1987-1996

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Ilford, Essex, United Kingdom

Record: 42-5-1 (35 KO) Boxrec record

Notable Outcomes: Michael Watson TKO by 6; Doug DeWitt TKO8; Iran Barkley TKO1; Chris Eubank TKO by 9; Mauro Galvano RTD3; Chris Eubank D12; Gerald McClellan KO10; Thulani Malinga L12; Steve Collins TKO by 4; Steve Collins RTD6

Title Belts Held: WBO middleweight, WBC super middleweight

"The Dark Destroyer" stopped his first 22 opponents, 19 in two rounds or less, before Michael Watson's "rope-a-dope"-esque tactics led to a stoppage loss in six. Benn answered this adversity with five consecutive wins, including a TKO of Doug DeWitt to win the WBO middleweight title and a one-round shootout with Iran Barkley. That showing set up a dramatic domestic showdown with Chris Eubank, who suffered plenty of hurt before dethroning Benn in round nine. Afterward, Benn transformed his style to one that was much more controlled. The results were impressive: A 15-0-1 record and a three-and-a-half year reign as the WBC's super middleweight titlist. The one draw, hotly disputed, came against then-WBO belt-holder Eubank and his tragic war with Gerald McClellan rates as one of the greatest 168-pound title fights ever waged. Benn lost his belt to previous victim Thulani Malinga and ended his career with two corner-retirement losses to WBO king Steve Collins.

Timothy Bradley Jr.

Career: 2004-2016

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Palm Springs, California

Record: 33-2-1 (13 KO) BoxRec Record

Notable Outcomes: Junior Witter SD12; Kendall Holt UD12; Devon Alexander TW10; Manny Pacquiao SD12, L12, L12; Ruslan Provodnikov UD12; Juan Manuel Marquez SD12; Diego Chaves D12; Jessie Vargas UD12

Title Belts Held: WBC super lightweight, WBO Jr. welterweight, WBO welterweight

Three minutes are all anyone would need to understand the depth of Timothy Bradley’s heart. In the sixth round of his fight with Ruslan “The Russian Rocky” Provodnikov, he was hit with a left hook that put an abrupt stop to his momentum and sent him sagging into the ropes. Where most fighters would have been looking for a place to lay down, Bradley didn’t stop punching. It was The Ring’s Round of the Year (2013). Bradley went on to fight his way to a strong lead on the scorecards but was tested again by a determined Provodnikov in the final round. It was ESPN’s “Round of the Year” (2013). Bradley was far more than an overachiever who could out-Rocky Rocky, he was a highly-skilled, perfectly-conditioned boxer who was never stopped and who owns official wins over two all-time greats in Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Vuyani Bungu Career: 1987-2005

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, South Africa Record: 39-5-0 (19 KO) BoxRec Record Notable Outcomes: Kennedy McKinney UD12, SD12; Naseem Hamed KO by 4

Title Belts Held: IBF super bantamweight

Known as "The Beast" and "The Carousel Kid," Bungu won the IBF super bantamweight title in The Ring's 1994 Upset of the Year against 1988 Olympic gold medalist Kennedy McKinney. Bungu then assembled a reign encompassing four-and-a-half years and 13 defenses, which trails only Wilfredo Gomez's divisional record 17. Bungu's title defense total also broke Brian Mitchell's record of 12 among South African world champions. Bungu compensated for his lack of one-punch power with hustle, discipline, conditioning, technique and drive. After vacating his 122-pound belt, he lost back-to-back fights to longtime WBO featherweight champion Naseem Hamed (KO by 4) and former IBF super bantamweight king Lehlohonolo Ledwaba, but rebounded with back-to-back wins over future titlist Takalani Ndlovu.

Ivan Calderon Career: 2001-2012

Historical World Championships: Jr. Flyweight (2007-10) Hailed from: Guaynabo, Puerto Rico Record: 35-3-1 (6 KO) BoxRec Record Notable Outcomes: Daniel Reyes UD12; Issac Bustos UD12; Hugo Cazares SD12, TW7; Rodel Mayol Tec. Draw 6; TW7; Giovani Segura KO by 8, KO by 3

Title Belts Held: WBO minimumweight, WBO light flyweight

Calderon overcame his profound lack of power as well as his short height and reach with superior mobility, timely counter-punching, impressive strategic command and defensive skills that some declared the best of his era. The Puerto Rican held a major title almost continuously for more than seven years, an impressive achievement when one considers how quickly fighters in the extreme low weight classes age. He recorded 11 successful defenses of the WBO minimumweight belt as well as six more defenses of the WBO's 108-pound title, some of which were aired in the U.S. on pay-per-view undercards. He defeated nine men who held titles and, from time to time, executed his defensive moves with such flair that crowds shouted "ole" when he made his opponents miss.

Joel Casamayor

Career: 1996-2011

Historical World Championships: Lightweight (2006-08) Hailed from: Guantanamo, Cuba Record: 38-6-1 (22 KO) BoxRec Record Notable Outcomes: Jong Kwon Baek TKO5; Roberto Garcia TKO9; Acelino Freitas L12; Nate Campbell UD12; Diego Corrales TKO6, L12, SD12 Diego Corrales; Jose Luis Castillo L12; Almazbek Raiymkulov D12; Jose Armando Santa Cruz SD12; Michael Katsidis TKO10; Juan Manuel Marquez TKO by 11

Title Belts Held: WBA super featherweight, WBC lightweight

After defeating Ireland’s Wayne McCullough for gold at the 1992 Olympics, “El Cepillo” continued to rack up wins in the amateur ranks until the chance came to defect and pursue new fortunes. Casamayor won the WBA title at 130 lbs. and defended it four times before a closely contested loss to WBO titlist Acelino Freitas. Casamayor would spilt his first two battles with Diego Casamayor, and fell short in his first bid for the lightweight title in a fierce battle with Jose Luis Castillo. Casamayor won the WBC and lineal lightweight crown from Corrales in their third fight. Following a highly controversial win over Jose Armando Santa Cruz, Casamayor would engage in two classics, retaining and then losing the lightweight crown against Michael Katsidis and Juan Manuel Marquez. Casamayor would go 2-2 in his final four bouts before retiring.

Sot Chitalada

Career: 1983-1992

Historical World Championships: Flyweight 1984-88, 89-91 Hailed from: Chonburi, Thailand

Record: 26-4-1 (16 KO) BoxRec Record

Notable Outcomes: Gabriel Bernal SD12, D12, UD12; Rae-Ki Ahn KO4; Yong Kang Kim L12, SD12; Richard Clarke TKO11; Jung Koo Chang MD12; Muangchai Kittikasem TKO by 6; TKO by 9

Title Belts Held: WBC flyweight

Nicknamed "The Ali of the Orient," Chitalada was a flashy boxer with potent right-hand power. Born Chawalit Wongcharoen, Chitalada dramatically vaulted onto the world stage in just his fifth pro fight by giving WBC junior flyweight titlist Jung Koo Chang all he could handle before losing a 12-round decision. Three fights later he captured the WBC flyweight title from Mexican southpaw Gabriel Bernal by split decision, launching a nearly eight-year stay near the top of the division. Bernal and Chitalada fought twice more. The Thai twice came off the floor to eke out a controversial draw before producing a sparkling long-range boxing performance in the lopsided third fight. Other highlights of his first reign included a five-round battering of ex-champ Charlie Magri in the challenger's back yard of London and a near-whitewash of onetime WBC junior flyweight king Freddy Castillo in Kuwait. Making weight was a longtime problem for Chitalada and it played a large role in defeats against Kim and Kittikasem. The loss to Kim was considered a huge upset and he avenged it four fights later for his second title. He notched wins over future 112 and 115-pound titlist Carlos Salazar and long-avoided mandatory challenger Richard "Shrimpy" Clark before beating a faded but determined Chang in the rematch and losing twice to Kittikasem.

Diego Corrales

Career: 1996-2007 Historical World Championships: Lightweight (2005-06)

Hailed from: Sacramento, California

Record: 40-5-0 (33 KO) BoxRec Record Notable Outcomes: Roberto Garcia TKO7; Derrick Gainer TKO3; Angel Manfredy TKO3; Floyd Mayweather L12; Joel Casamayor TKO by 6, SD12, L12; Aceleino Freitas TKO10; Jose Luis Castillo TKO10, KO by 4

Title Belts Held: IBF super featherweight, WBO super featherweight, WBC lightweight, WBO lightweight

Though "Chico" had the physique of a points boxer (5-feet-10 1/2 inches, 70-inch reach), he had the soul of a warrior as he fearlessly tore into opponents with blistering combinations and concussive blasts that scored 33 knockouts in 40 wins. Corrales won the IBF super featherweight title from future trainer of the year Robert Garcia and recorded four successful defenses (three by KO) to earn a big-money fight against Mayweather. Beset by weight-making issues and a domestic violence charge, Corrales was floored five times en route to a 10th round TKO defeat. Following his return to the ring two years later, Corrales engaged in a stirring and controversial trilogy against Joel Casamayor (his victory in the second fight earned him the WBO super featherweight title), scored a 10th round TKO over Acelino Freitas to win the WBO lightweight belt and added the WBC lightweight strap against Jose Luis Castillo in one of history's greatest fights. That twice-off-the-floor 10th round KO win proved to be his last, for he ended his career on three straight losses to champions Castillo in an ill-advised over-the-weight match (KO by 4), Casamayor (a split L 12) and Joshua Clottey (L 10). Corrales died at age 29 in a motorcycle accident exactly one month after the Clottey defeat.

Miguel Cotto

Career: 2001-17

Historical World Championships: Middleweight (2014-15)

Hailed from: Caguas, Puerto Rico

Record: 41-6 (33 KO) Boxrec Record

Notable Outcomes: Victoriano Sosa TKO4; Lovemore N’Dou UD12; DeMarcus Corley TKO5; Carlos Quintana RTD5; Oktay Urkal TKO11; Zab Judah TKO11; Shane Mosley UD12; Antonio Margarito TKO by 11; Joshua Clottey SD12; Manny Pacquiao TKO by 12; Yuri Foreman TKO9; Floyd Mayweather L12; Austin Trout L12; Sergio Martinez RTD10; Daniel Geale TKO4; Saul Alvarez L12; Sadam Ali L12

Title Belts Held: WBO jr. welterweight, WBA welterweight, WBO welterweight, WBA super welterweight, WBC middleweight, WBO Jr. middleweight

Cotto successfully took the baton of Puerto Rican boxing from Felix Trinidad by becoming the first from his nation to ascend to the top rungs of four weight divisions, scoring 20 victories and 16 knockouts in championship competition and serving as the centerpiece of multiple Puerto Rican Day Parade weekends thanks to his fights inside Madison Square Garden. A man of few words, Cotto expressed his pride and competitiveness inside the ring through his fearsome hooks and a never-say-die spirit. He boxed and bombed with equal ability and though he suffered several defeats, his talent always forced foes to offer

their best.

Chris Eubank

Career: 1985-1998

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: London, England

Record: 45-5-2 (23 KO) Boxrec record

Notable Outcomes: Nigel Benn KO9, D12; Michael Watson MD12, TKO12; Tony Thornton UD12; Steve Collins L12, L12; Joe Calzaghe L12; Carl Thompson L12

Title Belts Held: WBO middleweight, WBO super middleweight

"Simply the Best" was a showman's showman as he entered the ring by leaping over the top rope, struck muscle-man poses between rounds, and uttered polysyllabic trash-talk while wearing a monocle and a bevy of three-piece suits. He backed up his bluster by winning WBO titles at 160 and 168, registered 14 defenses of the latter belt (behind only Joe Calzaghe and Sven Ottke's 21 on the all-time division list), and mastered the art of winning close decisions. His back-to-back wars with Michael Watson were classics, though the latter contest ended with Watson permanently injured. After losing decisions to Steve Collins (twice) and Joe Calzaghe, Eubank jumped two divisions and mounted two stirring but unsuccessful challenges against WBO cruiserweight king Carl Thompson, dropping him in round four of fight one. Eubank's completely closed left eye in the rematch ended the bout, and his eventful career, in round nine.

Carl Froch

Career: 2002-2014

Historical World Championships: None Hailed from: Nottingham, United Kingdom

Record: 33-2-0 (24 KO) BoxRec Record

Notable Outcomes: Jermain Taylor TKO12; Mikkel Kessler L12, UD12; Arthur Abraham UD12; Glen Johnson MD12; Andre Ward L12; Lucian Bute TKO5; George Groves TKO9, TKO8

Title Belts Held: WBC super middleweight, IBF super middleweight, WBA super middleweight

"The Cobra's" mix of physical strength, one-shot power, stamina, toughness, aggression, durability and grit made him one of his era's best, and he performed especially well in front of his hometown fans in Nottingham, where he was 15-0 (11 KO). Although his only two losses came to elites Mikkel Kessler in "The Viking Warrior's" native Denmark (a hotly disputed but unanimous decision) and to Andre Ward in the "Super Six" tournament final in Atlantic City, Froch also notched big road wins against Arthur Abraham in Helsinki and Jermain Taylor in Mashantucket, a dramatic come-from-behind KO in his opening "Super Six" tournament bout. After losing to Ward (who ended his career undefeated), Froch crushed longtime IBF titlist Lucian Bute in five rounds, comprehensively avenged his loss to Kessler and concluded his career with a pair of wins over future champion George Groves (a controversially stopped KO 9 in fight one and a one-punch KO in the rematch). The final punch of Froch's career was deemed "Knockout of the Year" by The Ring.

Leo Gamez

Career: 1985-2005

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Parnama, Venezuela

Record: 35-12-1 (26 KO) Boxrec record

Notable Outcomes: Shiro Yahiro TKO9; Juan Antonio Torres TKO7; Hadao CP Gym D12; Hi Yong Choi L12; Saen Sor Ploenchit L12; Aquiles Guzman L12; Hugo Soto KO3; Sornpichai Kratchingdaenggym KO by 8; Hideki Todaka KO7; Celes Kobayashi TKO by 10

Title Belts Held: WBA minimumweight, WBA light flyweight, WBA flyweight, WBA super flyweight

Arguably boxing’s most unheralded four-division titlist, Gamez won belts in every division from 105 to 115 lbs. and came up shy in attempts at adding a fifth title at Bantamweight. A favorite son of the Venezuela-based WBA, Gamez was never short for opportunities. A pressing fighter with a big right hand at his best, Gamez defeated Kim for his first title at 105, moving up shortly after to pursue a Jr. Flyweight crown. He suffered his first two losses to Hall of Famer Yuh in a pair of quality title battles in 1990 and would also fail in his first attempt at a Flyweight crown in 1991. Gamez rebounded to win a vacant title at 108 in 1993 and defended 3 times before moving up for good. His reigns at 112 and 115 lbs. both ended in their first defense. He retired following one last crack at an interim WBA belt at 118 lbs.

Ricky Hatton

Career: 1997-2012

Historical World Championships: Jr. Welterweight (2005-09)

Hailed from: Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom Record: 45-3, 32 KO BoxRec Record Notable Outcomes: Aldo Rios RTD9; Kostya Tszyu RTD11; Carlos Maussa KO9; Luis Collazo UD12; Jose Luis Castillo KO4; Floyd Mayweather TKO by 10; Juan Lazcano UD12; Paul Malignaggi TKO11; Manny Pacquiao KO by 2

Title Belts Held: IBF Jr. Welterweight, WBA Jr. Welterweight, WBA Welterweight

As his ardent fans always loved to sing, there was only one. Hatton developed a frenetic, mauling style behind a fierce attack to the body and constant aggression. His career reached its peak in 2005. At home, but as an underdog, he ended the reign of Kostya Tszyu and laid claim to history’s crown as the world Jr. welterweight champion. He defended the lineal crown five times with various sanctioning body titles in tow, partially unifying against Carlos Maussa and briefly holding a welterweight title after a tightly contested battle with Luis Collazo. His second attempt at a welterweight title ended in his first defeat, a knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather. He returned to Jr. welterweight, ultimately losing his claim to the crown in a devastating loss to Manny Pacquiao. Returning three years later, he was ahead on the cards when, fittingly, a Vyacheslav Senchenko body shot ended his career.

Genaro Hernandez

Career: 1984-1998

Historical World Championships: Jr. Lightweight (1997-98)

Hailed from: Los Angeles, California

Record: 38-2-1 (17 KO) Boxrec record

Notable Outcomes: Oscar De la Hoya RTD by 6; Azumah Nelson SD12; Anatoly Alexandrov SD12; Floyd Mayweather RTD by 8

Title Belts Held: WBA super featherweight, WBC super featherweight

At 5-foot-11 and owning a 72-inch reach, "Chicanito's" willowy frame was built for long-range boxing but his skill and toughness allowed him to prosper in close. Won the WBA title by stopping hometown hero Daniel Londas in France and of his eight defenses of that belt three were on the road (two in Japan, one in Mexico). Following a non-title TKO of Jorge Paez, Hernandez challenged Oscar de la Hoya for his WBO lightweight title. He held his own but an uppercut shattered his nose in round six and prompted him to surrender at round's end. Three fights later he challenged WBC 130-pound king Azumah Nelson and thoroughly out-boxed him to win a decision. However, the fight was best remembered for Hernandez choosing to continue despite being illegally hit in the throat. Hernandez's career ended against an ambitious 21-year-old Floyd Mayweather Jr., who forced Hernandez to retire between rounds eight and nine.

Chris John Career: 1998-2013

Historical World Championships: None Hailed from: Banjarnegara, Indonesia Record: 48-1-3 (22 KO) BoxRec Record Notable Outcomes: Juan Manuel Marquez UD12; Hiroyuki Enoki UD12; Rocky Juarez D12, UD12; Simpiwe Vetyeka RTD by 6

Title Belts Held: WBA featherweight

"The Dragon" amassed numbers that rank highly in featherweight annals: A reign of more than nine years and 18 successful title defenses as well as a career record of 48-0-3 before the 34-year-old John lost his final fight by sixth-round TKO to Vetyeka. After winning an "interim" belt by split decision, John was elevated to "full" WBA champion and defeated former 122-pound titlist Sato in Japan in his first defense. John defeated Marquez in Indonesia (many called it a hometown result), dominated former titlist Gainer after being floored in the first and fought impressively in his lone U.S. appearances against Rocky Juarez (a draw many thought was a win in fight one, a lopsided points win in the rematch). Though lacking one-punch power, John prospered on mobility, technique, timing and volume, assets that often led to lopsided scorecards during his best years. John is the fourth Indonesian to capture a major boxing title (Ellyas Pical, Nico Thomas, Muhammad Rachman). The winning percentage of his title defense victims was .858 (502-66-17).

Mikkel Kessler Career: 1998-2013

Historical World Championships: None Hailed from: Copenhagen, Denmark Record: 46-3 (35 KO) BoxRec Record Notable Outcomes: Manny Siaca RTD7; Anthony Mundine UD12; Markus Beyer KO3; Librado Andrade UD12; Joe Calzaghe L12; Andre Ward L12; Carl Froch UD12, L12

Title Belts Held: WBA super middleweight, WBC super middleweight

The “Viking Warrior” combined movie star looks with a stiff left jab, long right hand, and a willingness to travel for some of his toughest fights. He won his first 34 fights to earn a crack at WBA titlist Manny Siaca, winning his first of three belts in the super middleweight division. Working through hand and back injuries, Kessler would defend the title twice before luring WBC titlist Markus Beyer to Denmark for partial unification of the division. He defended both belts once before an entertaining showdown with undefeated WBO titlist Joe Calzaghe in Wales. After fighting on even terms through much of the first half, Calzaghe took over in the second to earn the unanimous decision. Kessler regained the WBA belt when Calzaghe moved to light heavyweight with a knockout of Dmitri Sartison and defended it twice before losing a lopsided decision to Andre Ward in the opening round of the Super Six tournament. Kessler would rebound in the second round, winning a violent brawl to hand Carl Froch his first loss before withdrawing from the tournament with injuries. Kessler would return to the ring a year later, winning three more times and capturing a lesser WBA belt before finishing his career with a spirited rematch loss to Froch.

Santos Laciar Career: 1976-90

Historical World Championships: None Hailed from: Cordoba, Argentina Record: 79-10-11 (30 KO) Boxrec record Notable Outcomes: Peter Mathebula TKO7; Luis Ibarra L15; Juan Herrera TKO13; Prudencio Cardona KO10; Hilario Zapata UD15; Gilberto Roman D12, TKO13, L12; Sugar Baby Rojas L12; Juan Carazo L12; Hugo Soto L10

Title Belts Held: WBA flyweight, WBC super flyweight

Laciar is one of the unsung greats from the land of Carlos Monzon, Argentina, and one of the more dominant titlists of the 1980s. Possessing both skill and pop, Laciar had a great beard and was never stopped in more than 100 contests. He held the WBA belt twice at Flyweight, with all of his nine successful defenses coming in the second reign. Laciar would win his first belt from Peter Mathebula by knockout, only to lose it in his first defense, versus Luis Ibarra. He bounced back less than a year later to stop Ibarra’s conqueror, Juan Herrera, in thirteen and would hold the title until a move up to Jr. Bantamweight. His move to Jr. Bantamweight brought less time as a champion and an early setback. In the first of three fights with Roman in August 1986, the reigning WBC and lineal champion at 115 lbs., he settled for a draw. Six straight wins set up a rematch just as evenly contested through the first ten rounds, but cuts suffered by Roman awarded Laciar the title in the eleventh round. It would be his last title victory, as Rojas would soundly outbox Laciar in his first attempted defense. He continued until 1990, losing the third Roman fight in 1989 by decisive scores and finally retiring following a loss to future titlist Hugo Soto.

Rocky Lockridge Career: 1978-1992 Historical World Championships: Jr. Lightweight 1984-85 Hailed from: Tacoma, Washington Record: 44-9 (36 KO) Boxrec record Notable Outcomes: Eusebio Pedroza L15, L15; Juan LaPorte KO by 2; Cornelius Boza Edwards UD10; Roger Mayweather KO1; Tae Jin Moon TKO11; Kamel Bou-Ali TKO6; Wilfredo Gomez L15; Julio Cesar Chavez L12; Dennis Cruz KO7; Barry Michael RTD8; Johnny De La Rosa TKO10; Harold Knight UD15; Tony Lopez L12, L12

Title Belts Held: WBA super featherweight, IBF super featherweight

Sometimes bad luck trumps good fighting. That was often the case in the career of Lockridge who just missed defeating three Hall of Famers. A split decision loss to Eusebio Pedroza in a 1980 Featherweight title crack was a heartbreaker. A loss to Wilfredo Gomez in defense of Lockridge’s first 130 lb. title was worse. Largely reviled as a bad call, Lockridge walked away the winner in many minds. There are also still many who think he did enough to hand Julio Cesar Chavez his first loss, laying the early blueprint on how to fight the Mexican legend. Those were the tough days. Title-winning knockouts of Mayweather and Michael were highlights as was a classic defeat to Tony Lopez in the 1988 Ring Fight of the Year. A skilled boxer with serious power, Lockridge could also take it; he was stopped only once in his career.

Miguel Lora Career: 1979-1983

Historical World Championships: None Hailed from: Monteria, Colombia Record: 37-3 (17 KO) Boxrec record Notable Outcomes: Daniel Zaragoza UD12; Alberto Davila UD12; Raul Perez L12

Title Belts Held: WBC bantamweight

Nicknamed “Happy” for his cheery demeanor even while fighting, Lora showed power early in his championship time by decking Zaragoza five times and stopping Enrique Sanchez and former WBC Flyweight king Avelar. As his reign lengthened, Lora depended heavily on lively legs and quick hands to outclass opponents. Lora defended only twice in his native Colombia, beating Davila before 50,000 in Barranquilla and defeating the capable Lucio Lopez over 12 in Cartagena. All but one of his other defenses were in Miami, his rematch win over Davila was tainted when sugar water was confiscated from his corner. Despite concrete evidence of tampering, the WBC allowed Lora to keep his belt. Lora’s quality of opposition was fairly strong as shown in wins over Zaragoza, Davila, Lucio Lopez, Enrqiue Sanchez and Wilfredo Vazquez. Lora lost his belt to the vastly taller Perez and was stopped in a two-round shootout with Gaby Canizales for the vacant WBO belt. He made another attempt at the WBO strap against Rafael Del Valle, but after a comprehensive loss Lora retired at 32.

Rafael Marquez

Career: 1995-2013

Historical World Championships: Jr. Featherweight (2007)

Hailed from: Mexico City, Mexico

Record: 41-9-0 (37 KO) BoxRec Record

Notable Outcomes: Genaro Garcia KO by 2; Mark Johnson SD10, TKO8; Tim Austin TKO8; Mauricio Pastrana UD12, TKO8; Pete Frissina TKO2; Heriberto Ruiz KO3; Ricardo Vargas UD12; Silence Mabuza TKO4, RTD9; Israel Vazquez RTD7, TKO by 6, L12; Juan Manuel Lopez RTD by 8; Toskiaki Nishioka L12

Title Belts Held: IBF bantamweight, WBC super bantamweight

Rafael Marquez learned his craft at the feet of legendary trainer Arturo “Cuyo” Hernandez. He turned professional at age twenty, losing a tough pro debut to the veteran Rabanales, and joined older brother Juan Manuel under the guidance of Ignacio Beristain. A technician out for blood, Marquez combined heavy hands with a vulnerable chin and became a crowd favorite in no time. After twenty-eight fights, he stepped up in class to meet ultra-talented Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson in October 2001. He took an unconvincing split decision win but stopped him four months later. In February 2003, he stopped undefeated Tim Austin and became The Ring’s #1 bantamweight for the next four years. Even so, it was and will forever be the four-fight series with Israel Vazquez at Jr. featherweight that places Marquez among history’s great Mexican warriors. When the smoke cleared, they stood as equals. “He had it all,” Marquez said about Vazquez. Twice, however, Marquez had more.

Sergio Martinez

Career: 1997-2014

Historical World Championships: Middleweight (2010-14)

Hailed from: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Record: 51-3-2 (28 KO) BoxRec Record

Notable Outcomes: Alex Bunema RTD8; Kermit Cintron D12; Paul Williams L12, KO2; Kelly Pavlik UD12; Sergiy Dzinziruk TKO8; Matthew Macklin RTD11; Julio Cesar Chavez Jr UD12; Martin Murray UD12; Miguel Cotto RTD by 10

Title Belts Held: WBC super welterweight, WBO middleweight, WBC middleweight

A southpaw with a background in soccer and cycling, Sergio Martinez’s style reflected his athleticism on the field and the road. He relied on his legs, circling his opponents, darting in and out, and carried surprising power. Despite matinee-idol good looks and a late start in the ring, “Maravilla” was a proud and fearless fighter who competed at the highest level in the Jr. middleweight and middleweight divisions. Five months after dropping a decision to Paul Williams in December 2009, he was given a shot at Kelly Pavlik’s middleweight crown. His speed of hand and foot proved too much for Pavlik and Martinez took the decision and became the first Argentinian middleweight king since Carlos Monzon. He immediately avenged his loss to Paul Williams in what would become The Ring’s Knockout of the Year (2010) and successfully defended the crown six times before age, a chronic knee injury, and Miguel Cotto ended his reign.

Henry Maske Career: 1990-2007

Historical World Championships: None Hailed From: Treuenbrietzen, Brandenburg, Germany (birth place) Record: 31-1 (11 KO) Boxrec Record Notable Outcomes: Charles Williams UD12; Ernesto Magdaleno TKO9; Egerton Marcus UD12; Graciano Rocchigianni UD12, UD12; Virgil Hill L12

Title Belts Held: IBF light heavyweight

In many ways, Maske was the beginning of the modern, vibrant German fight market. A masterful southpaw boxer with range and quick, educated hands, Maske was one of the best amateurs in the world in his time. A 1986 World Silver Medalist, 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist, and 1989 World Champion at Middleweight, Maske turned professional as a Light Heavyweight and made his career there. Defeating Charles Williams for the IBF crown in 1993, Maske made ten successful defenses, including a stoppage of former three-division titlist Iran Barkley and two fantastic battles with national rival Graciano Rocchigiani. Maske’s run came to a surprising close in 1996 when Virgil Hill beat him by split decision in Maske’s lone unification bout. Maske would stay out of the ring until 2007 when he returned for one night only to avenge the Hill defeat by unanimous decision.

Dariusz Michalczewski

Career: 1991-2005

Historical World Championships: Light Heavyweight (1997-2003)

Hailed From: Gdansk, Poland

Record: 48-2 (38 KO) Boxrec Record

Notable Outcomes: Leonzeer Barber UD12; Virgil Hill UD12; Montell Griffin TKO4; Graciano Rocchigianni RTD9; Julio Gonzalez L12; Fabrice Tiozzo L12

Title Belts Held: WBO light heavyweight, WBO cruiserweight, WBA light heavyweight, IBF light heavyweight

Fighting largely out of Germany, Michalczewski would win his first 48 professional contests, winning three major belts and a claim to the lineal throne at Light Heavyweight along with a belt at Cruiserweight. His 23 consecutive defenses of the WBO belt at 175 lbs., won from Kronk product Leeonzer Barber in 1994, are a division record. 14 defenses of his claim to the lineal title, traced to his defeat of Virgil Hill in a unification contest in 1997, ties the record of Bob Foster at Light Heavyweight…for those who saw Michalczewski as the rightful lineal king. Michalczewski was shorn of the WBA and IBF belts he won from Hill in large part because of boxing politics. Those belts would ultimately end up with Roy Jones Jr. The two never fought, leaving an enduring source of debate about the statistical accomplishments of Michalczewski and what might have been.

Sung-Kil Moon

Career: 1987-1993

Historical World Championships: Jr. Bantamweight (1990-93)

Hailed from: Seoul, South Korea

Record: 20-2-0 (15 KO) Boxrec record

Notable Outcomes: Khaokor Galaxy TW6; Khaokor Galaxy L12; Nana Konadu TW9, TKO4; Gilberto Roman RTD8; Greg Richardson MD12; Jose Luis Bueno L12

Title Belts Held: WBA bantamweight, WBC super flyweight

The twenty-two bouts on Sung-Kil Moon’s record invite a closer look. A stiff-punching pressure fighter, Moon was one of several outstanding prospects emerging from South Korea in the 1980s and 90s. He was a highly decorated amateur and a 1984 Olympian who never faced a professional with a losing record. Heads were turned early when he handed Khaokor Galaxy his first loss for a Bantamweight title in only his seventh professional bout (Galaxy returned the favor in their rematch), and he went on to cram additional accomplishments into an abbreviated career. On January 20, 1990, he took the Jr. Bantamweight throne with a technical decision over Nana Yaw Konadu and defended it nine times with victories over future world champion Gilberto Roman, Konadu in a rematch, and former world champion Hilario Zapata. He lost a split decision and the throne to Jose Luis Bueno in 1993 and retired from the ring at age 30.

Michael Moorer Career: 1988-2008

Historical World Championships: Heavyweight (1994) Hailed From: Monessen, Pennsylvania Record: 52-4-1 (40 KO) Boxrec Record Notable Outcomes: Frankie Swindell TKO6; Freddy Delgado TKO1; Leslie Stewart TKO8; Mike Sedillo TKO6; Evander Holyfield MD12; George Foreman KO by 10; Evander Holyfield RTD by 8

Title Belts Held: WBO light heavyweight, WBO heavyweight, WBA heavyweight, IBF heavyweight

The first southpaw to win the legitimate Heavyweight crown, Moorer began his career as a lethal Light Heavyweight. Capturing the vacant WBO crown in only his 12th fight with a knockout of Ramzi Hassan, Moorer defended nine times before making the leap to Heavyweight. In total, he’d win his first 26 by knockout before going the distance with Mike “The Giant” White, just missing another knockout in the closing seconds. Crowd pleasing wars with Alex Stewart and Bert Cooper (for the vacant WBO crown) led to a more cerebral Moorer defeating Holyfield for the World Heavyweight Championship. Moorer lost the crown in his first defense, knocked out with one memorable punch by George Foreman, rebounding to win a vacant IBF title against Axel Schultz. He was stopped in a 1997 unification rematch with a then third-time WBA champion in Holyfield. Moorer would return from a three-year layoff in 2000, his best late win coming in a fantastic battle with Jirov.

Orzubek Nazarov

Career: 1990-1998

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Kant, Kyrgyzstan

Record: 26-1-0 (19) Boxrec record

Notable Outcomes: Dingaan Thobela UD12, UD12; Joey Gamache KO2; Leavander Johnson TKO7; Jean Baptiste Mendy L12

Title Belts Held: WBA lightweight

Orzubek Nazarov was one of the best amateurs produced by the Soviet system in the 1980s. His manager encouraged him to fight out of Japan as a professional to take advantage of his Asiatic features and early in his career he won both the Japanese and the Oriental/Pacific lightweight championships. A stand-up southpaw with power in both hands, Nazarov would break down opponents as impersonally as a machine. By the end of 1993, he cracked the top-ten of The Ring and soon journeyed to the U.S in pursuit of larger purses. He never shared the ring with celebrity lightweights Oscar De La Hoya or Shane Mosley due to managerial issues, a near miss as the unintended victim of a Russian mob hit, and eye injuries. In 1998, Nazarov suffered a retinal tear that several surgeries failed to correct. Nearly half-blind, he quietly retired and became a successful businessman.

Sven Ottke Career: 1997-2004

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Berlin, Germany Record: 34-0 (6 KO) Boxrec record Notable Outcomes: Charles Brewer SD12, SD12; Giovanni Nardiello KO3; Thomas Tate TW11, UD12; James Butler UD12; Byron Mitchell SD12; Mads Larsen MD12

Title Belts Held: IBF super middleweight, WBA super middleweight

Immensely popular in his native Germany, Ottke had a style for the purists to admire. Using quick combinations and deft head movement, Ottke was a master of space who befuddled more dangerous opponents en route to 21 defenses of the IBF belt. Ottke never fought outside of Germany and this has cast a shadow on a few of his professional bouts. Decisions in his favor over Mads Larsen, both wins over Charles Brewer, and a late career win over Robin Reid, were marred by questionable officiating. To his credit, wins over Glen Johnson, Silvio Branco, and a unification win against Byron Mitchell were hard fought and well earned. In perhaps his most surprising performance, Ottke was behind on the scorecards to Anthony Mundine but managed to summon a single shot to save his title.

Vinny Pazienza

Career: 1983-2004

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Cranston, Rhode Island

Record: 50-10-0 (30 KO) Boxrec record

Notable Outcomes: Greg Haugen UD 15, L15, UD10; Roger Mayweather L12; Hector Camacho L12; Loreto Garza DQ by 11; Gilbert Dele TKO12; Roy Jones TKO by 6; Dana Rosenblatt TKO4; Herol Graham L12

Title Belts Held: IBF lightweight, WBA light middleweight

The charismatic Vinny Pazienza, now known as Vinny Paz, was inspired to become a fighter after watching the film Rocky (1976). With a hyper-aggressive style that belied his surname (“Pazienza” means “patience” in Italian) and earned him his nickname (“The Pazmanian Devil”), Pazienza won legions of fans on the east coast. In 1987-88, he split two bouts with archrival Greg Haugen for a Lightweight title but after a loss against Roger Mayweather, Kevin Rooney took over as his trainer and revitalized Pazienza’s career with a new and improved style. Pazienza moved to Jr. Middleweight to defeat Dele for the WBA title but, after sustaining a fractured neck in a car accident in 1991, Pazienza was told that he might never walk again, never mind fight again. His miraculous (and victorious) return to the ring at Foxwoods Casino on December 15, 1992, defeating Luis Santana, is still talked about by his fans around New England.

Gilberto Roman

Career: 1981-1990

Historical World Championships: Jr. Bantamweight (1986-87; 88-89)

Hailed from: Mexico City, Mexico

Record: 54-6-1 (35 KO) Boxrec Record

Notable Outcomes: Jiro Watanabe UD12; Santos Laciar D12, TKO by 13, UD12; Sugar Baby Rojas UD12; Juan Carazo UD12; Nana Konadu L12; Sung Kil Moon RTD by 8

Title Belts Held: WBC super flyweight

At 5-foot-3 Roman possessed freakishly long arms and a fantastic sense of distance that allowed him to strike opponents as well as avoid punches by the smallest margins. Though he was a KO artist early (he scored 32 of his 35 KOs before winning his first belt), Roman became an expert ring scientist thanks to trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain. Once he won the WBC super flyweight title from long reigning Jiro Watanabe, Roman was a fighting champion as he registered six defenses in 10 months. Severe cuts against Santos Laciar ended his first reign but two fights and 11 months later he regained the belt from Laciar's conqueror Sugar Baby Rojas. His second reign lasted 16 months and five defenses but his hard living eventually caught up with him as he lost the belt to Nana Konadu as well as his final fight against defending champ Sung Kil Moon.

Gianfranco Rosi

Career: 1979-2006

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Perouse, Umbria, Italy

Record: 62-6-1 (18 KO), one no-decision Boxrec Record

Notable Outcomes: Lupe Aquino UD12; Duane Thomas TKO7; Donald Curry RTD by 9; Darrin Van Horn UD12, UD12; Glenn Wolfe UD12; Gilbert Dele SD12, SD12; Vincent Pettway Tech. Draw 6, KO by 4; Verno Phillips ND12

Title Belts Held: WBC junior middleweight, IBF junior middleweight

Rosi's herky-jerky, hit-and-run style baffled opponents unable to draw a bead or find their rhythm. Rosi won 32 of his first 33 before losing his European welterweight title to Lloyd Honeyghan. After rolling off nine straight he upset Lupe Aquino to win the WBC junior middleweight title. He impressively stopped Duane Thomas in his first defense but then suffered five knockdowns in losing to a slightly-faded Donald Curry. Three fights later Rosi won the IBF strap from Darrin Van Horn and this time he reigned for five years and 11 defenses. Vincent Pettway stopped Rosi in four to end that reign and had it not been for a failed post-fight drug test following his win over WBO king Verno Phillips he would have been a three-time champ at 38. After losing to Phillips in the rematch he retired for six years, then went 4-1 in a comeback that ended at age 49.

Samuel Serrano Career: 1969-1997

Historical World Championships: Jr. Lightweight (1976-80; 81-83) Hailed from: Toa Alto, Puerto Rico Record: 50-5-1 (17 KO) Boxrec record Notable Outcomes: Victor Echegaray W10; Ben Villaflor D15, UD15; Leonel Hernandez UD15, UD15; Apollo Yoshio UD15; Julio Valdez UD15; Yasutsune Uehara KO by 6, UD15; Roger Mayweather TKO by 8

Title Belts Held: WBA junior lightweight

Serrano was a long-armed boxer who used lateral movement and knowledge of the darker arts to enjoy a lengthy stay as WBA junior lightweight champion, one that was made longer since he never unified against Alexis Arguello or Alfredo Escalera. Twelve defenses over two reigns were among the most prolific in the division’s history and he wasn’t afraid to defend on the road as he fought in Chile, Venezuela, Japan, South Africa and the United States. Serrano fought then-champion Ben Villaflor to a disputed draw in the titlist’s adopted hometown of Honolulu, spawning a return match in Serrano’s home area of San Juan, where he won by unanimous decision. Serrano amassed nine defenses over the next three-and-a-half years against a string of mostly nondescript mandatory challengers and was on his way to another easy win when Uehara starched him with a single right in the sixth. A more cautious Serrano regained the belt via decision eight months later and notched three more defenses before Roger Mayweather ended his reign.

Ratanapol Sor Vorapin Career: 1990-2009

Historical World Championships: None Hailed From: Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand Record: 59-8-1 (48 KO) Boxrec Record Notable Outcomes: Manny Melchor SD12; Nico Thomas KO 7; Zolani Petelo TKO by 4; Will Grigsby L12; Ricardo Lopez KO by 3 Title Belts Held: IBF minimumweight

His oft-forgotten reign at 105 lbs. came in parallel to Ricardo Lopez. Sor Vorapin held the one title at the weight Lopez never did as they amassed similar statistics. Across two reigns broken up only by a failure to make weight in his 14th attempted defense, Sor Vorapin made 19 total defenses, seventeen by knockout, before being stopped by Zolani Petelo. Perhaps his most impressive defense came early in his first reign, stopping a then-undefeated Ala Villamor. Sor Vorapin fell short in two tries at 108 lb. titles, losing a decision to Will Grigsby and in a long overdue showdown with Lopez in 2000. Fighting on the undercard of Felix Trinidad-Fernando Vargas, Lopez won in three. Sor Vorapin would be inactive until a four-year comeback began in 2005. He would never fight for a title again.

Antonio Tarver

Career: 1997-2015

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Orlando, FL

Record: 31-6-1 (22 KO) BoxRec Record

Notable Outcomes: Eric Harding L12, TKO5; Chris Johnson KO10; Reggie Johnson SD12; Montell Griffin UD12; Roy Jones L12, TKO by 2, UD12; Glen Johnson L12, UD12; Bernard Hopkins L12; Clinton Woods UD12; Chad Dawson L12, L12; Danny Green RTD9; Lateef Kayode ND12

Title Belts Held: WBC light heavyweight, IBF light heavyweight, WBA light heavyweight

Antonio Tarver’s future candidacy for the Hall of Fame was assured the moment he shocked the world and knocked out Roy Jones Jr. It came only minutes after he delivered one of the sport’s most memorable quips when he said, “You got any excuses tonight Roy?” after the referee’s instructions. A lanky, technically sound counterpuncher with shocking power in his left hand, Tarver won gold medals at the World Amateur Championships, U.S. Nationals, and the Pan-American Games in the same year (1995) before winning a bronze medal in the 1996 Olympics. As a professional, his complicated style was rarely solved twice. Over the first nine years of his career, he lost only three times, to Eric Harding, Jones, and Glen Johnson, and avenged all three of them. Later he lost to Bernard Hopkins and twice to Chad Dawson before campaigning at cruiserweight and heavyweight, but by then his legacy was long-since assured.

Meldrick Taylor

Career: 1984-2002

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Record: 38-8-1 (20 KO) Boxrec record

Notable Outcomes: Howard Davis D10; Buddy McGirt TKO12; John Wesley Meekins RTD7; Julio Cesar Chavez TKO by 12; Aaron Davis UD12; Glenwood Brown UD12; Terry Norris TKO by 4; Crisanto Espana TKO by 8

Title Belts Held: IBF light welterweight, WBA welterweight

At 17, Meldrick Taylor was heralded as the most promising gold-medalist to emerge from the legendary 1984 American Olympic boxing team. A super-fast boxer from a North Philadelphia ghetto, he fought like a brawler despite his talents. Taylor was on the brink of glory when he faced Julio Cesar Chavez in a March 1990 Junior Welterweight unification classic. He outworked the Mexican legend and was ahead on the scorecards when Chavez knocked him down in the twelfth. He rose, was given the mandatory eight-count, but failed to respond to the referee’s questions. The fight was stopped with two seconds left. Taylor recovered with a WBA title win at welterweight over Aaron Davis but was never the same. An ill-advised foray at Jr. Middleweight saw him stopped by Terry Norris and his career became a cause for concern. Nevertheless, his unforgettable performance against Chavez in The Ring’s “Fight of the Decade” points toward greatness.

James Toney

Career: 1988-2017

Historical World Championships: Middleweight (1991-93)

Hailed from: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Record: 77-10-3 (47 KO) BoxRec Record

Notable Outcomes: Michael Nunn TKO11; Reggie Johnson SD12; Mike McCallum D12, MD12, UD12; Iran Barkley RTD9; Tony Thornton UD12; Tim Littles TKO4; Charles Williams KO12; Roy Jones L12; Montell Griffin L12, L12; Drake Thadzi L12; Vasily Jirov UD12; Evander Holyfield TKO9; John Ruiz ND12; Hasim Rahman D12; Sam Peter L12, L12

Title Belts Held: IBF middleweight, IBF super middleweight, IBF cruiserweight

There are few modern fighters that old heads admit could’ve been champion during boxing’s Golden Era. Toney is one of them. He was 23 when he exploded on the scene after his left hook exploded off Michael Nunn’s chin. Nunn was the middleweight champion of the world, undefeated, and standing secure at #3 on The Ring’s P4P list. Toney was tired and behind on the cards. Seconds after landing that life-changing punch, the crown was Toney’s. His reign didn't shine, though his first match with Mike McCallum is a fascinating study of top-level technicians. Even so, McCallum wasn't his toughest opponent - the scale was. His weight ballooned between fights, forcing him to invade every division above middleweight. Perhaps we’re lucky for it, because victories over Iran Barkley and Charles Williams at super middleweight, Vassiliy Jirov at cruiserweight, and Evander Holyfield at heavyweight prove that this shoulder-rolling counter-punching genius was as capable as it gets.

Fernando Vargas

Career: 1997-2007

Historical World Championships: None

Hailed from: Oxnard, California

Record: 26-5-0 (22 KO) Boxrec record

Notable Outcomes: Yori Boy Campas RTD7; Winky Wright MD12; Ike Quartey UD12; Felix Trinidad TKO by 12; Wilfredo Rivera TKO6; Shibata Flores KO7; Oscar De La Hoya TKO by 11; Javier Castillejo UD10 Shane Mosley TKO by 10, TKO by 6

Title Belts Held: IBF light middleweight, WBA light middleweight

“El Feroz” Fernando Vargas was a decorated amateur and at 16, the youngest competitor to win the U.S. Championships in the 132 lb. weight class. A 1996 Olympian, he began his professional career with 17 consecutive knockout wins, including two over veterans Yuri Boy Campas and Raul Marquez. Vargas proved he was more than simply a puncher when he won decisions over Winky Wright, Ike Quartey, and Javier Castillejo and proved his courage by facing all-comers including Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, and Shane Mosley. His unification losses at 154 lbs. to Trinidad and De La Hoya are recalled as classics. Despite testing positive for steroid use after the De La Hoya loss in 2002, and a career-closing decision loss to Ricardo Mayorga in 2007, Vargas is remembered as the quintessential fighter’s fighter.

Israel Vazquez

Career: 1995-2010

Historical World Championships: Jr. Featherweight (2005-07; 07-09)

Hailed from: Mexico City, Mexico

Record: 44-5 (32 KO) BoxRec Record

Notable Outcomes: Oscar Larios TKO by 12, TKO3; Jose Luis Valbuena TKO12; Art Simonyan TKO5; Jhonny Gonzalez TKO10; Rafael Marquez RTD by 7, TKO6, SD12

Title Belts Held: IBF Jr. featherweight, WBC super bantamweight

In a decade where four Jr. featherweight fights won Fight of the Year, Vazquez won two of them and could easily have been in a few more. Supremely conditioned, resilient, and courageous, Vazquez carried serious power in both hands and never shorted the fans. Vazquez’s second fight with Oscar Larios, off the floor knockout of Jhonny Gonzalez, and first three battles with Rafael Marquez put him into the sort of rare warrior class of men like Basilio and Chacon. He won three titles at 122 lbs. and recognition as history’s king twice over. His second and third fights with Marquez were named Ring Fight of the Year and the third also won BWAA honors. In his two defining rivalries, Vazquez was 2-1 with two stoppages over Larios and 2-2 against Marquez.

Wilfredo Vazquez

Career: 1981-2002

Historical World Championships: Featherweight (1996-98)

Hailed from: Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Record: 56-9-2 (41 KO) Boxrec record

Notable Outcomes: Chan Young Park TKO10; Khaokor Galaxy L12; Raul Perez L10, TKO3; Fernie Morales SD12; Israel Contreras KO by 1; Luis Mendoza UD12; Yuichi Kasai TKO1; Jae Won Choi TKO2; Orlando Canizales SD12; Antonio Cermeno L12; Eloy Rojas TKO11; Naseem Hamed TKO by 7

Title Belts Held: WBA bantamweight, WBA super bantamweight, WBA featherweight

Vazquez began learning the fundamentals of the sweet science two weeks after his father died. To honor his memory, 18-year-old Vazquez wanted to win a title like his father’s hero Wilfredo Gomez. After 17 amateur fights he turned pro with a four-round decision loss but quickly developed into a two-fisted bomber. He lost his first title shot and then came up short in a shootout to Avelar but rebounded and won his first title at bantamweight with a knockout. His reign was underwhelming. He fought to a draw with Muguruma and lost to Galaxy, but soon hit his stride as a 122-pounder. He avenged a previous loss to Perez by bombing him out in three rounds and piled up nine defenses. Presumed to be past his prime when he lost the belt to Cermeno at age 35, Vasquez confounded experts when he stopped lineal and WBA featherweight champ Eloy Rojas in come-from-behind fashion the following year. He notched four defenses of the belt before relinquishing it to fight Naseem Hamed instead of taking a rematch with Cermeno. Vasquez gave a credible effort before Hamed stopped him in seven. He retired at age 42 after winning his last four fights.

*Notable Outcomes are primarily compiled from a review of applicable Ring Magazine and Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ratings for wins and losses against champions or ranked contenders during the years when nominees were viably rated in their weight classes.

Biographies compiled by:

Lee Groves,

Cliff Rold,

Springs Toledo,


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