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Thread: The One British Heavyweight Heavyweight No Wanted to Face

  1. #1
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    The One British Heavyweight Heavyweight No Wanted to Face

    Throughout the rich history of boxing, Great Britain has produced legendary fighters from Bob Fitzsimmons to Henry Cooper to Lennox Lewis to Prince Naseem Hamed.

    Born in London, England, the last undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Lennox Lewis, made his bones in one of the greatest eras of heavyweight boxing amidst luminaries such as Evader Holyfield, Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Riddick Bowe.

    In the long list of great fighters emerging from the British isles, one name remains noticeably absent.

    In the late '80s and early '90s, a West Midlands heavyweight by the name of Joe "Lethal Weapon" Savage was wreaking havoc on the underground circuit, reportedly knocking seasoned pros unconscious with one punch.

    Capturing the title of World Heavyweight bare-knuckle champion, Savage, a legitimate tough guy, amassed an incredible 42 wins -- all by way of knockout.

    According to reports, "Savage looked the part; shaved head, powerful arms, and numerous tattoos."

    By all accounts, Savage was a throwback to the gritty early-20th century fighters who could fight for 50 plus rounds.

    After dominating the bare-knuckle circuit with savage ease -- including one instance that saw the Lethal Weapon claim a crushing knockout with a completely detached ear (!) -- Savage wanted to transition into professional boxing for one night only to take on the champion.

    Not unlike the talks of Cuban Olympian Teofilo Stevenson fighting Muhammad Ali in the '70s, Savage wanted no tune-ups; his sights were set on George Foreman, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson.

    The promoters arranged a month-long publicity campaign where he would claim that he was the man for the prize 'on sheer strength and brutality'.

    His catchphrase was "I want to kill everyone."

    Increasing the likelihood of a super fight, British promoters dangled pots of gold to unleash the bare-knuckle legend on the boxing world for one unforgettable night.

    "I challenge Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno," a serious Savage said, "in the same night. I'll knock them out."

    This bold challenge only helped fuel the Lethal Weapon's already legendary reputation in the combat community while drumming up interest for a British super showdown between giants.

    Unfortunately, Savage had built a reputation so fearsome current champions were turning him down in terror.

    Lennox Lewis. Razor Ruddock. Frank Bruno. Mike Tyson.

    They all declined.

    None of them wanted that work.

    Except for one.

    Former world heavyweight title challenger "Smokin'" Bert Cooper.

    Cooper, fresh off a humiliating knockout loss to rising prospect Larry Donald, had nothing to lose.

    "F*** it," Cooper said, according to witnesses. "If I die, I die."

    Here's what happened when the World Heavyweight bare-knuckle champion faced a faded former challenger.
    Last edited by The Shadow; 08-06-2014 at 02:38 PM.

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    Re: The One British Heavyweight Heavyweight No Wanted to Face

    I don't think Joe Savage was a legitimate bare-knuckle champion. Savage billed himself as England's champion.

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    Re: The One British Heavyweight Heavyweight No Wanted to Face

    Maybe. But several reports in '93 listed him as the World Heavyweight bare-knuckle champion.

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    Re: The One British Heavyweight Heavyweight No Wanted to Face

    On November 13, I will be seeing Smokin' Bert Cooper in Lodi, NJ, as he gets inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame. I will be there to induct referee Ron Lipton into the NJBHOF.

    I must ask Cooper if he remembers the circumstances around his fight with Joe Savage. The fight took place in Canada, and Cooper had been stopped only a few days aerlier by Larry Donald. Because of the stoppage, Cooper was under a mandatory medical suspension.

    Needing the decent payday which the promoters of the fight had promised him, Cooper needed to produce an MRI & CT Scan of his brain, procedures which would have run him thousands of dollars, especially on last-minute notice. Through grants and let's just say some "manuevering," I was able to get the tests for Cooper, which he passed and turned into the Canadian Commission, clearing the way for him to face "The Lethal Weapon."

    I had never seen Savage, but was told "he's a big white dude who can really punch, especially with his right." Other than that, I heard he was vastly overrated. I seriously doubt Mike Tyson, Razor Ruddock and Frank Bruno turned him down.

    Bert Cooper certainly didn't turn Savage down. Cooper didn't turn anybody down.

    In the first round, "The Lethal Weapon" landed his lethal weapon on the chin of Cooper.

    "I remember feeling that shot bigtime," recalled Cooper. "I knew I couldn't let him unload any more. I got to work."

    As the video shows, Cooper uncorked a left hook on Savage. Three more hooks sent the big man to the floor. He arose on unsteady legs and Cooper went to work. After landing a few decent hooks, a blistering right sent Savage down on his face and O-U-T!

    It'll br great to see Cooper again in November. I must ask what his memories are of facing a Savage who owned a lethal weapon.

    -Randy G

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    Re: The One British Heavyweight Heavyweight No Wanted to Face

    Quote Originally Posted by The Commish View Post
    On November 13, I will be seeing Smokin' Bert Cooper in Lodi, NJ, as he gets inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame. I will be there to induct referee Ron Lipton into the NJBHOF.

    I must ask Cooper if he remembers the circumstances around his fight with Joe Savage. The fight took place in Canada, and Cooper had been stopped only a few days aerlier by Larry Donald. Because of the stoppage, Cooper was under a mandatory medical suspension.

    Needing the decent payday which the promoters of the fight had promised him, Cooper needed to produce an MRI & CT Scan of his brain, procedures which would have run him thousands of dollars, especially on last-minute notice. Through grants and let's just say some "manuevering," I was able to get the tests for Cooper, which he passed and turned into the Canadian Commission, clearing the way for him to face "The Lethal Weapon."

    I had never seen Savage, but was told "he's a big white dude who can really punch, especially with his right." Other than that, I heard he was vastly overrated. I seriously doubt Mike Tyson, Razor Ruddock and Frank Bruno turned him down.

    Bert Cooper certainly didn't turn Savage down. Cooper didn't turn anybody down.

    In the first round, "The Lethal Weapon" landed his lethal weapon on the chin of Cooper.

    "I remember feeling that shot bigtime," recalled Cooper. "I knew I couldn't let him unload any more. I got to work."

    As the video shows, Cooper uncorked a left hook on Savage. Three more hooks sent the big man to the floor. He arose on unsteady legs and Cooper went to work. After landing a few decent hooks, a blistering right sent Savage down on his face and O-U-T!

    It'll br great to see Cooper again in November. I must ask what his memories are of facing a Savage who owned a lethal weapon.

    -Randy G
    Wow! I post a similar piece about how Smoke -- Bert Cooper -- first encounter Savage in China after losing to Mike "Hercules" Weaver. But -- danggit -- my pieces drop somehow. And now superstitions are telling to let it go. But I wrote about bareknuckles/con man Joe "Lethal Weapon" Savage's Asian adventures in the old TSS Universe.

    He was fibbing in the P-Islands in 1993 (or maybe 1994, I cannot recall the exact year) about being the bareknuckles champion of the world and got KTFO by a 5-foot-tall, 90lbs Filipino Aborigine in Asian underworld fight market. Holla!
    Last edited by Radam G; 08-06-2014 at 09:49 PM.

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    Re: The One British Heavyweight Heavyweight No Wanted to Face

    Quote Originally Posted by The Commish View Post
    On November 13, I will be seeing Smokin' Bert Cooper in Lodi, NJ, as he gets inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame. I will be there to induct referee Ron Lipton into the NJBHOF.

    I must ask Cooper if he remembers the circumstances around his fight with Joe Savage. The fight took place in Canada, and Cooper had been stopped only a few days aerlier by Larry Donald. Because of the stoppage, Cooper was under a mandatory medical suspension.

    Needing the decent payday which the promoters of the fight had promised him, Cooper needed to produce an MRI & CT Scan of his brain, procedures which would have run him thousands of dollars, especially on last-minute notice. Through grants and let's just say some "manuevering," I was able to get the tests for Cooper, which he passed and turned into the Canadian Commission, clearing the way for him to face "The Lethal Weapon."

    I had never seen Savage, but was told "he's a big white dude who can really punch, especially with his right." Other than that, I heard he was vastly overrated. I seriously doubt Mike Tyson, Razor Ruddock and Frank Bruno turned him down.

    Bert Cooper certainly didn't turn Savage down. Cooper didn't turn anybody down.

    In the first round, "The Lethal Weapon" landed his lethal weapon on the chin of Cooper.

    "I remember feeling that shot bigtime," recalled Cooper. "I knew I couldn't let him unload any more. I got to work."

    As the video shows, Cooper uncorked a left hook on Savage. Three more hooks sent the big man to the floor. He arose on unsteady legs and Cooper went to work. After landing a few decent hooks, a blistering right sent Savage down on his face and O-U-T!

    It'll br great to see Cooper again in November. I must ask what his memories are of facing a Savage who owned a lethal weapon.

    -Randy G
    Nice!! I love now a story can be posted and you will add another piece of background to it. Amazing.

    And it was a pretty entertaining post, wasn't it? I at least tried my best to make it that way. Thought it was a cool little story that could get a few laughs as well.

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    Re: The One British Heavyweight Heavyweight No Wanted to Face

    Fascinating thread by Shadow and an amazing comment from the Commish whose path seemed to intersect with all things boxing.
    Savage may have been brutal in backroom bare knuckle fights and bar room brawls but he wasn't deserving of the honor of being called a boxer.

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    Re: The One British Heavyweight Heavyweight No Wanted to Face

    Quote Originally Posted by brownsugar View Post
    Fascinating thread by Shadow and an amazing comment from the Commish whose path seemed to intersect with all things boxing.
    Savage may have been brutal in backroom bare knuckle fights and bar room brawls but he wasn't deserving of the honor of being called a boxer.
    Savage couldn't carry a gloved pug's spit bucket. Holla!

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    Re: The One British Heavyweight Heavyweight No Wanted to Face

    I would like to have seen Butterbean vs Savage.

    My pick would have been Butterbean.

    I wonder where Eric Esch is today?

    -Randy G.

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    Re: The One British Heavyweight Heavyweight No Wanted to Face

    Quote Originally Posted by Radam G View Post
    Savage couldn't carry a gloved pug's spit bucket. Holla!
    I agree. Savage was hard but there were harder. He knew his place amongst the real brawlers and bashers in England.

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