Eight of the Greatest Middleweight Champions!

By Ken Hissner - 11/12/2023 - Comments

Starting with the eight greatest middleweights of all-time is ‘Ruby’ Bob Fitzsimmons, who was born in the UK but moved to New Zealand at age 10.

Fitzsimmons won the world middleweight title in 1891, stopping Jack ‘The Nonpareil’ Dempsey, 50-1-10, in 13 rounds in New Orleans, LA. In 1896, he stopped Peter Maher, 99-4-4, in the first round for the heavyweight title.

In March 1897, he stopped future champion James J. Corbett, 10-0-3. In June of 1899, he lost to James J. Jeffries, 10-0-2. In November 1903, he defeated George Gardner, 37-4-3, for the light heavyweight title. His final record was 61-8-4 with 57 stoppages.

Stanley ‘The Michigan Assassin’ Ketchel, 42-3-3, won the middleweight title in June of 1908, defeating Billy Papke, 22-0-5, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He would lose the rematch but regain the title in their third meeting.

In October 1909, Ketchel dropped heavyweight champion Jack ‘The Galveston Giant’ Johnson, 45-5-9, only to lose in the twelfth round. He ended with a 49-5-3 with a 46 stoppage record.

Mickey ‘Toy Bulldog’ Walker, from Elizabeth, NJ, in June of 1924 won the world welterweight title defeating Lew Tendler, 119-10, in Philadelphia, PA.

In December of 1926, Walker defeated middleweight champion Tiger Flowers, 118-16-5, who had defeated Harry ‘Pittsburgh Windmill’ Greb, 263-17-18, for the title.

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Walker lost a split decision to light heavyweight champion Tommy ‘Phantom of Philly’ Loughran, 89-15-7. He ended with a 93-19-4 with 59 stoppage record.

“Sugar” Ray Robinson, from Harlem, New York, 73-1-1, won the NBA World Welterweight title at Madison Square Garden, New York, defeating Tommy Bell, 39-10-3, in December of 1946. In July 1949, he defeated Cuban ‘Kid’Gavilan, 53-6-2, in Philadelphia.

In February 1951, Robinson, 121-1-2, won the world middleweight title, stopping Jake ‘Bronx Bull’ LaMotta, 78-14-3, at Chicago Stadium in Illinois. In July 1951, he lost to Randy Turpin, 40-2-1, in London, UK. In the rematch, Robinson, 129-2-2, re-gained the title two months later, stopping Turpin at the Polo Grounds, New York.

In June of 1952, Robinson was well ahead of light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim, 78-18-4, when he lost after 13 rounds due to heat prostration. He ended his career with a 174-19-6 with 109 stoppages record. Considered by most to be pound-for-pound the greatest boxer of all time! He even beat whom I consider No. 2, who was past his prime at the time in Henry “Homicide Hank” Armstrong.

Next is Argentina’s Carlos Monzon, who was an unknown until he beat Nino Benvenutti, 82-4-1, for the title in November of 1970. He had fifteen title defenses before his career was ended, being sent to prison. Argentina has more draw decisions than anywhere in the world, and Monzon had nine of them, including one with ‘Bad’ Bennie Briscoe, and it took about five years before they had a rematch.

Monzon’s unification wins over WBC champion Rodrigo Valdes, 57-4-2, were his final two fights. He ended with an 87-3-9 with a 59 stoppage record.

Another is “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, who won the title in September of 1980, stopping Alan Minter, 38-6, for the title. He reversed losses to both Philly boxers Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts and Willie “The Worm” Monroe. I witnessed his loss to Monroe, and it was a good decision. Monroe made the mistake of giving him a rematch and was defeated twice.

Hagler had twelve defenses before losing in his final fight to “Sugar” Ray Leonard, 33-1. I was one of a few who thought Leonard won. He ended up at 63-3-2 with 52 stoppages.

The most recent middleweight champ was Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin from Kazakhstan, who recently gave up his two titles is another. He was a Silver Medalist in the Olympics. He won the interim WBA title in October of 2010, stopping Milton ‘El Misil’ Nunez, 21-1-1, and added the world WBA title in his next fight by stopping Nilson Tapia, 14-2-1.

In Golovkin’s fourth defense, he stopped Grzegorz Proksa, 28-1, and had ten defenses before adding the WBC interim title, stopping Marco Antonio Rubio, 59-6-1.

In October 2015, Golovkin added the IBF title defeating David Lemieux, 34-2. He had twenty-three straight stoppages before defeating Danny Jacobs, 32-1. In his next fight, he had a disputed draw with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 49-1-1, then lost in the two rematches. His current record is 42-2-1 with 37 stoppages, and his career is up in the air.

Finally, after being champion at Super Welterweight, Alvarez won the Middleweight and is the current Super Middleweight champion. After defeating Golovkin for the title in their rematch, and moved up to Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight winning titles.

Alvarez’s loss came to Dmitrii Bivol, 19-0, in May of 2022, trying to win the light heavyweight title again. Then, he added three more defenses, and as the current Super Middleweight champion, his record is 62-2-2 with 39 stoppages.

There you have it: Fitzsimmons, Ketchell, Walker, Robinson, Monzon, Hagler, Golovkin, and Alvarez all middleweight champions.