By possibly boxings biggest fan
A greatest boxing list really isn’t that straightforward let’s be honest there’s to many variables to consider.
Every boxing list is a subjective view a personal opinion based on an individual eyewitnesses account or a historical interpretation of what we as fans have seen in the ring or have researched.
Can a list be wrong? Definitely not, can it be debatable definitely yes , can it be a biased view 100% yes but that’s not a bad thing if it has a positive impact and fuels a passion to research and study the sport of boxing and in time question and if needed change our opinions.
Let me start by saying this is a highly personal list for me so I don’t expect others to agree, it’s not a P4P list it’s simply Five points of reference in a boxing sence that crafted my view of the boxings landscape and how it influenced my life and my place within it as a fan .
1#. Born in 1978 and at the tender age of 8 the explosion of Michael Gerard Tyson as the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title at 20 years, four months and 22 days old sparked a passion In me that never diminished .
Like any child growing up in the 80s with an interest in boxing Tyson was the catalyst to follow the sport he was explosive dynamic and the baddest man on the planet , Tyson won his first 19 professional fights by knockout
,12 in the first round, world titles would follow first the WBC
title in 1986 after stopping Trevor Berbick
in the second round, soon after the WBA
titles would be claimed with victorys against James Smith
and Tony Tucker
in 1987 making Tyson the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, and the only heavyweight to successively unify .
Tyson lit the boxing flame for me and with every fight my interest grew and so encouraged me to lose myself in boxing completely and even later in his career when he imploded I never looked back in anger but was thankful for what iron Mike introduced me to.
#2. after the simplistic brutality of Tyson my eyes were opened to a whole new world of boxers and my mind a willing sponge ready to learn about the sweet science and no boxing journey can be started or ended without falling head over heels for the beautiful Muhammad Ali .
Having never been lucky enough to withness “the greatest” at the time didn’t stop me from finding out about the Louisville lip and learning Ali wasn’t only a great boxer but a true fighter inside and outside of the ring an activist, philanthropist, and boxings greatest philosopher a man with a physical and moral granite chin.
3#. the story of Johnny Lee Tapia resonates very strongly with me , Mi Vida Loca,
At Only 45 Tapia died of heart failure, the irony of which was never lost on me or anyone who watched him fight because a failure of heart inside the ring never happened with tapia . A champion boxer who I always considered a boxing kindred spirit.
4#. the little man from the Philippines, ang pambansang kamao ( the nations fist) Emmanuel dapidran Pacquiao the fighter of the decade and the first and only 8 division world champion, as well as the 1st to win lineal championships in 4 different weights was for me a pleasure to watch win lose or draw the expected could soon become the unexpected when Pac was in the ring as witnessed in December 2012 when Juan Manuel Márquez landed a peach of a punch ….ouch
5#. London calling, as a London boy born and bred I couldn’t have a list without including Our ‘Enry ,
As a boxer Henry hit the boxing heights as British, Commonwealth, and European heavyweight champion several times throughout his career but Henry’s greatest achievement in the ring was being the first boxer to win three Lonsdale Belts and nearly so nearly pulling it off against the greatest, Henry Cooper one of the greatest names in British boxing history and the reason why I choose to name my own son Henry,
It’s not a perfect boxing list but it’s my boxing Wonderwall.
authors note , the above is a collection of conversations and memoirs I had with Andy cloke a true boxing fan who educated me in the sweet science like nobody else.
in loving memory ,
Andrew cloke 1978- 2018