Seven World Champions Who Retired Undefeated!
By Ken Hissner: Walking away from boxing when you are undefeated and the world champion is not common, but seven of them did it.
Three came back only to taste defeat in James J ‘The Boilermaker’ Jeffries and Muhammad ‘The Greatest’ Ali. Jeffries was forced back after gaining over 100 pounds when embarrassed by his pastor in a service to come back for the white race and defeat the black champion Jack ‘The Galveston Giant’ Johnson.
Jeffries was 19-0-2 when he retired in 1904. He returned in 1910 only to lose to Johnson, 49-5-10, by stoppage in the tenth round in Reno, Nevada, before over 16,528 fans.
Ali, 29-0, had his license taken away by the New York Commission due to refusing to enter the military. His last fight was with Zora Folley, 74-7-4, who he knocked out in seven rounds at Madison Square Garden, New York, in March of 1967.
Upon Ali’s return in October of 1970, stopping Jerry Quarry, 37-4-4, in three rounds in Atlanta, Georgia, he had one motive that in regaining his title from ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier. He then stopped Argentina’s Oscar ‘Ringo’ Bonavena, 46-6-1, in the fifteenth and final round at Madison Square Garden.
In March of 1972, Ali lost to Frazier, 26-0, by decision being knocked down in the final round. In his next fight, he won the vacant NABF title stopping Jimmy Ellis, 30-6, in twelve rounds at the Houston Astrodome. He would go on to win the world title back three times.
The third was WBA and IBF World Light Welterweight champion Aaron ’Hawk’ Pryor, 39-1, with 35 knockouts out of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Pryor retired in October of 1983. In March of 1984, he ended his short retirement. In June of 1985, he won a split decision over Gary Hinton, 23-2-1, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In August of 1987, he was stopped by Bobby Joe Young, 29-6-1, in Sunrise, Florida.
The latest to retire was 5-division world champion Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, Jr., 50-0, after stopping MMA fighter Ireland’s Conor ‘Notorious’ McGregor, who was making his debut in ten rounds in August of 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mayweather passed the sixty-two-year 49-0 record of world heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano who last fought in September of 1955.
Marciano came off the canvas to knockout light heavyweight champion Archie ‘Old Mongoose’ Moore, 149-19-8, who still holds the record for the most career knockouts at 132.
Marciano went back into training for a comeback when Sweden’s Ingemar ‘Ingo’Johansson knocked out world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson in June of 1959, wanting to bring the title back to America. He realized he didn’t have it anymore at camp and didn’t return to the ring.
WBO, WBA, WBC, and IBF Super Middleweight champion Joe ‘Pride of Wales’ Calzaghe from Wales retired after his win over former 4-division world champion Roy Jones, Jr., 52-4, at November of 2008 at Madison Square Garden. He injured his left hand and, due to hand problems, never returning to the ring finishing with a 46-0 record. He made twenty-one defenses.
WBO Middleweight world champion Dmitry ‘The Grandmaster’ Pirog, 20-0, with 15 knockouts, from Russia, retired in May of 2012, defeating WBA interim champion Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida, 24-7-2, in Moscow.
Pirog would be elected into the Russian Parliament in 2017, never to return to the ring. He won the vacant WBO World Middleweight title by stopping Danny ‘Miracle Man’ Jacobs, 20-0, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was only one of two times he fought out of Russia. He made two defenses.
2-division world champion Edwin Valero, 27-0 with 27 knockouts from Merida, Venezuela. He held the WBA Super Featherweight and the WBC Lightweight world titles.
Valero last fought in February of 2010, stopping future world champion Antonio DeMarco, 23-1-1, in the Arena Monterrey, in Mexico.
Valero was arrested in March for allegedly assaulting his wife. On April 18th, he was again arrested after his wife had been found dead. On April 19, 2010, Valero was found hanging in his cell by another inmate.
In August of 2006, he won the WBA World Super Feather title, stopping Vicente Mosquera, 24-1-1, in Panama City. After four defenses, he won the vacant WBC World Light title by stopping Antonio Pitalua, 47-3, in April of 2009, at the Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas. He made two defenses.
IBF and WBA Super Middleweight World champion Sven ‘Phantom’ Ottke, 34-0, with 6 knockouts out of Karlsruhe, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany was another. He retired immediately after defending his title, defeating Sweden’s Armand Krajnc, 29-2, in Sachsen-Anhalt, Magdeburg, Bordelandhalle, Germany in 2004.
Ottke was a 1988 Olympian at the Seoul Games, again in 1992 at the Barcelona Games, and a third time at the Atlanta Games in 1996.
Ottke made twenty-one title defenses, including controversial decision wins over Charles ‘Hatchet’ Brewer twice, Thomas Tate, Glen Johnson, Byron Mitchell, Mads Larsen, and Robin Reid.
Ottke was scheduled for a comeback on May 24, 2008, in a cruiserweight fight against former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Dariusz Michalczewski who pulled out of the fight.
2-division world champion Ricardo ‘Finto’ Lopez, 51-0-1 with 38 knockouts from Mexico City, Mexico, last fought in September of 2001, knocking out Zolani Petelo, 17-2-2, at Madison Square Garden defending his IBF World Light Fly title.
In November of 2002, he announced his retirement in Mexico City, Mexico. He had 24 title defenses. In March of 1998, he had a technical draw with Nicaragua’s Rosendo Alvarez, 24-0, in Mexico City, Mexico.
In the rematch, he won a split decision over Alvarez at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Lopez won the WBC Minimumweight title in October of 1990. In August of 1997, he added the WBO title, and in November 1998, the WBA title.
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