This week in boxing history, PBC remembers the first black heavyweight champion, a powerful showing by “The Greatest,” a knockout performance by “USS” Cunningham, a stoppage of the “Bronx Bull” and one of the greatest lightweights of all time.
December 26, 1908 – Jack Johnson stopped Tommy Burns in the 14th round in Sydney, Australia, to become the first black man to win the world heavyweight title.
Burns was favored to defend his crown for the 12th time, but Johnson dominated the fight and mocked the champion throughout before the police stopped the bout with Burns on the verge of getting knocked out.
December 26, 1971 – Muhammad Ali gained a seventh-round knockout of Jurgen Blin in a non-title heavyweight fight in Zurich, Switzerland.
Fighting for the third time after losing to Joe Frazier in the “Fight of the Century,” Ali had difficulty early against Blin but finished off the German with a thundering right cross.
December 29, 2007 – Steve Cunningham defended his IBF cruiserweight title for the first time with a 12th-round TKO of Marco Huck in Bielefeld, Germany.
Steve “USS” Cunningham was ahead on two of the three judges’ scorecards going into the final round, but the champion left nothing to chance as he pummeled Huck throughout the 12th until the German challenger’s corner threw in the towel.
December 31, 1952 – Danny Nardico stopped Jake LaMotta in seven rounds in a light heavyweight non-title bout in Coral Gables, Florida.
LaMotta, the former world middleweight champion, was knocked down for the only time in his career in Round 7, and his corner stopped the bout after the round.
January 1, 1907 – Joe Gans retained his world lightweight title with an eighth-round knockout of Kid Herman in Tonopah, Nevada.
Gans, considered one of the greatest lightweights of all time, cut off the ring against Herman in Round 8 before dropping the Canadian with a devastating right to the head.