Most boxers have that one (or two) fights that define their careers. Of course none can top Buster Douglas when it comes to that one fight that was the diamond sparkling in the sand. But others stand out as well. Here is a sampling:
Frenchman Rene Jacquot (that’s him on the right) shocked the boxing world in 1989 when he upset WBC welterweight champion Donald Curry in Grenoble, France. Five months later, John “The Beast” Mugabi brought Rene back down to earth by stopping him in the first round, though the TKO was caused by an injured ankle.
Two-and-half years earlier, in 1986, Curry was stopped in the fifth round by Honeyghan in Atlantic City. The “Ragamuffin Man” had many fine wins during his splendid career, but none was more defining than this. In one fell swoop, he captured the WBC, WBA, and IBF world welterweight titles. It is still talked about today.
Masahiko “Fighting” Harada
The legendary Harada is a Hall of Fame member who finished with a 55-7 mark, yet Johnny Famechon had his number and beat him twice. Conversely, Harrada was the only boxer to beat Eder Jofre (72-2-4) and he did it twice in 1965 and 1966. Aficionados will recognize this as the sine qua non of the Japanese bantamweight‘s career.
“My Tony Alongi will be heavyweight champion within two years.”—Rocky Marciano
Tony Alongi was a heavyweight from Florida who flew under the radar but still managed to compile a 40-2-4 record, going undefeated in his final 15 outings. Trained by legendary trainer Charley Goldman who, of course, had trained Alongi’s long-time idol Rocky Marciano, Alongi became a protégé of Marciano and was well known and appreciated by serious boxing fans. He was a classic stand-up boxer-puncher and he coupled that with outstanding footwork. Using his long reach, he also had a snapping “lightning bolt” left jab. Curiously, the two fights that defined his career weren’t triumphs, but 10-round draws with a young and undefeated Jerry Quarry in 1966.One was at the Garden; the other in LA.
Carlos “Escopeta” (Shotgun) Monzon finished with a record of 87-3-9 with 59 KOs. This powerful and rangy Argentinean killing machine first captured the world middleweight title with a 12th round stoppage over the highly favored Nino Benvenuti in Italy in 1970. Who can forget the perfect right to the jaw that was the coup de grace for poor Nino?
Vinnie Curto (62-10-3) was a slickster who fought out of Boston and Miami and for anyone who knows East Coast boxing, his win over Bad Bennie Briscoe in 1980 was the shining star of his fine boxing career.
Dave Tiberi “lost” to James Toney in 1992 in a fight I had the good fortune to witness live at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. The decision was so bad that Dave, a man of God and a man of honor, walked away from boxing in disgust, leaving the sport with a record of 22-3-3. Many years later, James Toney reportedly admitted that this was a fight he did lose. This will forever be the fight for which Dave Tiberi is remembered.
Steve Collins closed out his career with 15 straight wins, finishing 36-3. Rather than one fight that defined his career, there were four. He decisioned Chris Eubank twice in 1995 and he stopped Nigel Benn twice in 1996 — an absolutely remarkable feat! (For reasons that remain a mystery — at least to me — Collins still has not received that call from the Hall.)
Junior “Poison” Jones
Jones (50-6) had a marvelous career with many notable outings but none more defining than his back-to-back wins over Hall of Famer Marco Antonio Barrera (67-7) in 1996 and 1997.
Mitchell Rose, alias the “Cigarette Man,” closed out a dismal pro career at 2-11-1 (though he was a fine amateur) but one of his wins was a second round stoppage at the Garden against undefeated (15-0) Eric Esch in 1996. Esch, of course, is Butterbean who finished his career 77-10-4. When you think of Mitch Rose, you think of Butterbean.
Zahir Raheem (35-3) won his last six in a row in a career that included a number of regional titles but none more important than his shocking win against Erik Morales (48-2 coming in) in 2005. It defined the slick Z-Man’s career and can never be erased.
A 2012 fight in Thailand pitted Thai flyweight Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (87-4-2) against Rey Megrino, a useful Filipino fighter who entered the contest with a sub-.500 record (17-20-3). Megrino stopped Wonjongkam in the third round, turning his career around. He is currently on a 10-fight undefeated streak, pushing his record to 24-20-4.
Wood, a former professional rugby player, hasn’t fought since February 2014 when he was stopped by fellow Aussie Daniel Geale. However, in December 2010 he shocked Anthony Mundine and just about every boxing fan Down Under by knocking Mundine out in the fifth stanza. While” Chock” avenged the loss the following year, the KO will forever be the jewel that shines in Garth’s otherwise lackluster career.
Maybe you can identify the career sine qua non for other boxers.
Ted Sares, a member of Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame, is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several records in the Grand Master class. He has won the EPF Nationals championship four years in a row.
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