This week in boxing history, PBC revisits title defenses by two heavyweight greats, a controversial light heavyweight title bout, a dramatic knockout in our 2015 Fight of the Year and the only boxer to hold world titles in three weight divisions simultaneously.
August 14, 1903 – James J. Jeffries stopped James J. Corbett in Round 10 (of 20) to retain his world heavyweight championship at Mechanic's Pavilion in San Francisco.
Jeffries, a 2-to-1 betting favorite, defended his title for the sixth time overall and for the second time against Corbett, who was knocked out by Jeffries in Round 23 of their first meeting in May 1900. In the rematch, Jeffries dominated the former world champion over the first nine rounds and floored him twice in Round 10 before Corbett’s corner signaled referee Eddie Graney to stop the fight.
Huck sent the Polish southpaw to the canvas in an action-packed Round 6 as he attempted to make a division-record 14th title defense, but Glowacki rallied to drop the German champion in the 11th before nearly sending him through the ropes moments later in a thrilling finish to PBC’s Fight of the Year.
August 15, 1966 – Jose Torres beat Eddie Cotton by 15-round unanimous decision to retain his WBA and WBC light heavyweight titles before a crowd of 4,300 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
After Torres was declared the winner of The Ring’s Fight of the Year by scores of 70-67, 68-67 and 69-67, the crowd booed the decision. The 40-year-old Cotton, a 7-to-2 betting underdog, filed a protest after the bout because the 14th round ended 20 seconds early, but his request was denied by both the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the WBC.
August 17, 1938 – Henry Armstrong defeated Lou Ambers by 15-round split decision to win the world lightweight championship at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
After winning the featherweight championship in October 1937 and the welterweight crown in May 1938, Armstrong dropped Ambers in the fifth and sixth rounds before holding off a late charge to become the only boxer ever to hold world titles in three weight divisions simultaneously. While Armstrong won this matchup of future Hall of Famers, which The Ring named the No. 12 Greatest Title Fight of All Time in 1996, Ambers won their August 1939 rematch by unanimous decision to regain the lightweight championship.
August 18, 1958 – Floyd Patterson stopped Roy Harris in Round 12 (of 15) to retain his world heavyweight championship before a crowd of 21,680 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles.
Patterson, a 5-to-1 betting favorite in his third title defense, was floored by the challenger in Round 2. The 23-year-old champion then roared back to knock down the Texan once in the seventh, twice in the eighth and again in the 12th before Harris’ corner stopped the fight in between rounds.