Before Spinks, Jones, Jr. & Usyk How Many Failed at Heavyweight title?

By Ken Hissner: There have been many lower-weight champions trying to win the heavyweight title and failed until September of 1985 when light heavyweight champ Michael “Jinx” Spinks defeated heavyweight champ Larry “Easton Assassin” Holmes.

In April 2003, light heavyweight champion Roy Jones, Jr. defeated heavyweight champ John Ruiz for his WBA title. A lot of help came from referee Jay Nady who wouldn’t allow Ruiz to do his usual holding style. Then in September of 2021, cruiserweight champ Oleksandr Usyk defeated heavyweight champ Anthony “AJ” Joshua.

Before Spinks, Jones, Jr., and Usyk won the heavyweight title in May of 1909, former light heavyweight champ Philadelphia Jack O’Brien weighing 162 ½ drew with heavyweight champ Jack “Galveston Giant” Johnson.

In October of 1909, middleweight champ Stanley “The Michigan Assassin” Ketchel scored a knockdown against heavyweight champ Johnson before being knocked out in the twelfth round.

Great lower-weight champs like light heavyweight champ Georges “The Orchid Man” Carpentier in July of 1919 lost to heavyweight champion Jess Willard and again in 1921 lost to heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey.

In September of 1929, light heavyweight champ Tommy “Phantom of Philly” Loughran lost to heavyweight champ Jack “Boston Gob” Sharkey in three rounds. In March of 1934 though the former light heavyweight champ, he lost to heavyweight champ Primo “The Ambling Alp” Carnera weighing 186 to Carnera’s 270.

In June of 1941, light heavyweight champ Billy “Pittsburgh Kid” Conn, after 12 rounds, was ahead on the cards against heavyweight champ Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis by scores of 7-5, 6-6, and 7-4 when he was knocked out by Louis in the thirteenth round.

In June of 1946, due to both Louis and Conn being in the Army, they had their long-delayed rematch, with Louis knocking Conn out in eight rounds.

In September of 1955, light heavyweight champ Archie “The Old Mongoose” Moore dropped heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano in the second round, only to be knocked out in the ninth round. The following year Moore again tried winning the vacant heavyweight title before being knocked out by heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson in five rounds.

In November of 1970, light heavyweight champ Bob Foster was knocked out by heavyweight champ ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier in two rounds. In November of 1972, Foster was knocked out by heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali in eight rounds.

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