The Finest Boxers America Has Produced

Americans love their boxing, a sport which, once deemed somewhat old hat, is now making a comeback, according to research. A 2021 poll that surveyed 2,000 adults found boxing has become the US’s fourth favorite sport. Thirty-three per cent of the respondents stated they were fans of the noble art form. Even more surprisingly, the poll found boxing ranks ahead of mixed martial arts (MMA).

Lots of Americans actively practice boxing. Research from consumer and market data company Statista shows that in 2021, 6.7 million Americans older than six years old had practiced boxing at least once. In terms of places where boxing is popular, Massachusetts, New York and California all have a special love of the sport.

The US has produced some amazing boxers. Below is a look at some of the best pugilists to come out of America’s boxing gyms.

Muhammad Ali

Born in the American South as Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali started boxing when he was 12 years old. He proclaimed himself “The Greatest.” Very few would dispute that today, but at the time of his claims, his boxing skills didn’t seem to live up to them because of his unconventional style. He’d hold his hands low, he’d back away from punches and show little knockout power.

But Ali shook up the boxing world when he defeated the fearsome Sonny Liston in 1964 for the heavyweight championship of the world. For the next three years, he dominated boxing and beat opponents such as Floyd Patterson, Henry Cooper and Ernie Terrell. However, his refusal to sign up to serve for military service at the height of the Vietnam War saw him stripped of his title and criminally indicted.

Ali returned to boxing in October 1970. In 1971, he challenged heavyweight champion Joe Frazier and lost. He’d then win 10 fights in a row before losing to Ken Norton, a loss he'd put behind him with a rematch against Joe Frazier, which he won. In 1974, Ali fought George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle,” where he regained the heavyweight title. By the time he clashed with Joe Frazier for a third in “The Thriller in Manila,” in 1975, Ali was becoming a shadow of the tremendous boxer he once was.

Mike Tyson

If ever you were to put money on a boxer winning while they were in their prime, it would have been “Iron” Mike Tyson. Incidentally, if you happen to be in Colorado and want to bet on a fight, ESPNBet are one of the latest sportsbooks available in Colorado offering a range of sports bets including boxing odds and bets.

Mike Tyson was born in Brooklyn, New York. When he was 20 years old, he become the youngest heavyweight boxing champion in history. As an amateur, he’d chalked up a record of 24-3 before turning professional.

Tyson’s opponents often struggled to cope with his speed and aggressiveness in the ring. By August 1987, he held the WBC, WBA and IBFF heavyweight belts. He defended his title successfully 10 times before losing to James “Buster” Douglas in February 1990, but would come back from the loss with four straight victories before being serving time in prison until 1995. In 1996, he regained two belts with straightforward victories over Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon. Evander Holyfield proved less easy to conquer and dished out Tyson’s second loss of his professional career to him. In the 1997 rematch, Tyson was disqualified and lost his boxing license for biting Holyfield. His next few years were marred with difficulties and spells of trouble with the law. In 2002, he’d lose to Lennox Lewis.

Sugar Ray Robinson

The late Sugar Ray Robinson, born Walker Robinson Jr, was a six-times world boxing champion who held the belt once as a welterweight and five times as a middleweight. Many authorities consider him the best fighter in history.

Robinson went undefeated for 89 amateur fights. As a pro, he won 40 consecutive fights before Jake LaMotta, who Robinson would face six times, ended this winning streak. After 15 grueling rounds against Tommy Bell, Robinson won the welterweight title by decision, but in 1951 he’d give up this title following his 13th round knockout of Jake LaMotta, which earned him the middleweight title. The same year he’d both lose the title against the Englishman Randy Turpin and regain it from him. The following year, he’d miss out narrowly on the light-heavyweight title in a close contest and retire but, in 1954, return to capture the middleweight title. In 1957, he’d lose it and regain it from Gene Fullmer but lose it to Carmen Basilio the same year. In 1958, he’d win the title back but, in 1960, lose it to Paul Pender. He also lost the rematch.

Sugar Ray continued boxing until he was 45. His outstanding career yielded 109 knockouts and only 19 defeats in 201 professional fights. Most of his losses came after he had turned 40.

The US has produced some fantastic boxers. Other notable fighters to have come out of the nation’s boxing gyms include Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Lenoard and Rocky Marciano.

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