Greatest boxing sons
By Gav Duthie: A couple of weeks back Conor Benn the son of Nigel Benn headlined an event and prior to that we witnessed the debut of Campbell Hatton, son of legendary Mancunian Ricky. Other than making this writer feel old and after hearing Prince Naseem Hamed’s offsprings debut is around the corner it made me wonder what the most successful father/son combinations were. Generally the boys who follow in their fathers footsteps don’t do well, the apple falls far from the tree. Boxing is a sport that attracts the underprivileged, working class and even below. Boxing is a way out, a chance at a better future and sometimes its just to get out of trouble with the law. Being the son of a famous boxer means you haven’t been brought up that way. Even though many boxers end up penniless after their career has ended the sons still grow up knowing how good they were, what they achieved and what they meant to people. Its difficult to recreate that hunger, drive and determination that is needed to succeed and very few have. Here are my top 15 and where they rank as boxings greatest sons.
There are literally hundreds of sons who have attempted to follow in their fathers footsteps. I’m sure I’ve missed some out and this list is completely subjective.
The father needs to have been a world champion. This rules out the likes of Floyd Mayweather Snr and Jnr or Michael Hunter and Jnr. Honourable mentions go to Laila Ali who reigned supreme in the womens game as her father Muhammad also did and Tracy Harris Patterson who was the adopted son of Floyd Patterson but was already a promising prospect when Floyd took him in.
15. Elijah McCall 12-3-1 (11) and Oliver McCall
Young Elijah looked quite promising in the early days. He definitely had power but ironically couldn’t take a punch given that his Dad had one of the best chins in boxing history. Elijah and fathers careers actually crossed paths and funnily enough Oliver even avenged a defeat of his sons against Marcin Rekowski by outpointing the Polish fighter. Elijah was also notably stopped by a young Andy Ruiz Jnr.
14. Steve Collins Jnr 14-4-1 (4) and Steve Collins
Steve just retired in 2020 after back to back defeats. He was initially involved in Rugby at a good level but switched to follow in his fathers footsteps who was famous for beating Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank. Young Steve has joined the management side of MTK Global after 3 failed attempts at the Irish Light heavyweight title.
13. Ronald Hearns 28-6 (22) and Tommy Hearns
Big shoes to fill being the son of Tommy ‘The Hitman’ Hearns. Ronald looked good early on. He was fast and relatively powerful. He didn’t really have much defence though or a chin. A 1st round knockout loss to Erislandy Lara in 2012 all but ended any promise to his career although he did have a few more fights after. He was also stopped by former WBA champion Felix Sturm.
12. George Foreman the 3rd 16-0 (15) and George Foreman
Even in 2021 as this was written George the 3rd is only 38 years old but hasn’t boxed since 2012. The Foreman brand is so strong that he never really needed to box. He is part of the management side of the business. Ironically all George’s kids are named George. The 3rd probably boxed just to prove something to himself. His record is impressive but he never really fought anyone and retired after one of many low key wins.
11. Hasim Rahman Jnr 10-0 (5) and Hasim Rahman
The 29 year old has just really started his pro career and boxed as late as February 2021. He really hasn’t fought anyone of note but good things are expected of him.
10. Julius Jackson 20-2 (16) and Julian Jackson
Son of the arguably the hardest puncher of all time Julius was looking good. He seemed to have good power as well and scored a good victory against Jonathon Nelson in 2014 which brought attention to himself. He was annihilated in his next fight however against Jose Uzcetagai. Then even in his comeback fight that should have been simple he was stopped again. He finished on a win after but has not boxed since 2017.
9. Hector Camacho Jnr 59-7-1 (33) and Hector Camacho
Jnr was 33-0 when he lost his first fight against talented Argentine Omas Weiss. Despite a great looking record his only real accomplishment was winning the NABA title. He never fought for a world title although he did beat a former champion in Phillip Holiday. Camacho Snr was only 15 when his son was born. Jnr is now 42 and last boxed in 2019.
8. Marvis Frazier 19-2 (8) and Joe Frazier
Other than being Smokin Joe’s son Marvis is only really known for getting destroyed by Larry Holmes in 1 round and Mike Tyson inside 30 seconds. Thats a bit unfair though. Fighting Holmes was ridiculous considering it was only his 11th pro fight. In between his losses to these legends he defeated James ‘Quick’ Tillis, ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith and Jose Ribalta. Poor matchmaking was probably to blame rather than lack of skill but he really didn’t look like he wanted to fight Tyson that night. He finished after a few more sins following that crushing defeat.
7. Wilfredo Vazquez Jnr 25-7-1 (20) and Wilfredo Vazquez
The first on the list to emulate his father and win a world title. He defeated Marvin Sonsona and made two good defences until he was defeated by top Mexican fighter Jorge Arce. His father has a more notable win over Orlando Canizales and also regained a world title but the two’s accomplishments are closer than most could boast.
6. Conor Benn 18-0 (12) and Nigel Benn
Nigel said before his sons fight last week against Sammy Vargas that “I couldn’t box, Conor can”. Nigel achieved a lot with his warrior mentality and if Conor can match that as well as add to his boxing ability he may be able to surpass him. Nigel had some great wins against Gerald McClennan and Ivan Barkley and it will be interesting to see how the 24 year old Conor develops over the next few years.
5. Chris Eubank Jnr 29-2 (22) and Chris Eubank Snr
Chris Eubank Jnr has won the IBO world title but no major ones as of yet. His career has been scrutinised from the very beginning so considering that he has done very well. His only world title attempt was a defeat to George Groves but he will likely get another one soon. His style is similar to his fathers and is well ranked at both middleweight and super middle where his Dad WBO titles in each.
4. Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr 52-5-1 (34) and Julio Cesar Chavez Snr
Jnr has become a bit of a boxing meme due to lack of focus, poor training and inactivity. At the beginning of his career though he fought constantly. He had 47 fights in less than 10 years before his first loss to Sergio Martinez. Since then though he has blown through big pay checks, been up and down in weight and struggled to live up to expectations and his fathers reputation. He has only lost 5 times but back to back defeats suggest he may not return. His best win was probably his stoppage over Irishman Andy Lee in one of his successful WBC world title defences.
3. Tim Tszyu 18-0 (15) and Kostya Tszyu
Dennis Hogan said after his loss, “The hype is real”. Most of the media weren’t convinced but after his one sided victory against compatriot Jeff Horn many took notice. He is ranked number 1 for Brian Castano’s WBO title but the Argentine is scheduled to face Jermell Charlo for all 4 belts in July. This may mean his title shot could take a little longer.
2. Guty Espadas Jnr 45-8 (28) and Guty Espadas Snr
Jnr arguably passed the achievements of his father who was a Flyweight champion. Jnr was the WBC featherweight champion and gave Erik Morales all he could handle in their first fight. Jnr finished in 2010 after a very successful career.
1. Cory Spinks 39-8 (11) and Leon Spinks
Its funny because Leon was a larger than life character whilst Cory’s career went a bit under the radar. Because Leon was an Olympic gold medalist and defeated Muhammad Ali he has always been a big name. His career spiralled out of control however following his rematch defeat to Ali. He enjoyed the high life a bit too much and ended with a career of 26-17. In 2003/4 Cory was one of the biggest talents in boxing after derailing the Ricardo Mayorga freight train with a clinical defensive boxing display before going on to defeat Zab Judah. Cory Spinks was a 3-time world champion overall and takes my spot as the best boxing son from a world title winning father.
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