A few of boxing’s triple digit winners
It takes a lot of guts to climb into a boxing ring. Once you are in there, it’s no walk in the park to beat the opponent in front of you. So, to do it a hundred times is certainly no easy feat. If a modern-day champion fights 3 times he is having a busy year, if a contender on the rise is busy, he might see the ring 4 or 5 times in a year. And, with club shows not nearly as plentiful, the days of fighting a couple times a month, (or week), seem a thing of the past.
So, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few of our more recent, modern era, 100+ win fighters. Racking up 100 fights is a chore but putting together 100 wins is a real accomplishment.
Buck Smith – Oklahoma’s busiest club fighter in the late-80’s, and through the 90’s, went by the nickname “Tombstone” and ran up an incredible 182-20-2 (121 KO’s) record over 22 years in the ring. He, and manager Sean Gibbons, admittedly went on the ‘stay busy’ program as it kept him in the ring and even small club show purses paid better than gym fights. The record is obviously inflated with a lot of wins over opponent level fighters. But, make no mistake, Buck traded leather with some outstanding fighters in his time facing the likes of world champions Julio Caesar Chavez, Mark Breland, Antonio Margarito, and Buddy McGirt. He also faced world title challengers Harold Brazier, Shannon Taylor, and Jose Flores, along with USBA champ Kevin Pompey and British champion Kirkland Laing.
Speaking of Laing, when Buck sauntered into England to face the favored hometown hero, he was losing the fight on points by a wide margin when he laid out Laing with a vicious left hook to score a 7th round KO. When speaking of his vaunted left hook, manager Gibbons said that, “If Buck caught you with his left, it was lights out baby, that guy could lay anybody out with that hammer”. Gibbons also added that, “Of all the guys I have worked with over the years, Buck was the guy I was sorry didn’t get a world title shot as I do believe in the right fight, he could have been a world champion. This is a guy who had no sparring, he trained himself, in his garage. I don’t care what champion he was facing, if he landed that left, you probably weren’t getting up, his left hand was all world class. Buck used to get his fair share of jeers over his inflated record, but it kept him busy and sharp. And, like I said, his left was all-world class”.
Marty Jakubowski – Whiting, Indian’s best boxer also ran up Buck Smith-ish numbers going 119-7 (34 KO’s) over 18 years in the ring. Turning pro as a teenager, under the direction of manager Pete Susens, “The Dart” would go on the anyone, anywhere program to stay busy as he honed his game which would see him develop into a very slick, world class boxer. Outstanding rings smarts, a great jab, excellent speed and a good chin, would allow him to go rounds with anyone in the sport. By the time he retired, Jakubowski would have a resume that included European champion Dennis Holbaek Pedersen, Mexican legend Julio Caesar Chavez (twice) and world title fights against Miguel Angel Gonzalez in Connecticut for the WBC world lightweight title, Artur Grigorian in Germany for the WBO world lightweight title and Khalid Rahilou in Casablanca, Morocco for the WBA world super lightweight title. An impressive, decision win in Philadelphia in 1994, over Philadelphia tough guy Anthony Boyle, saw Jakubowski capture the USBA lightweight title. Since retiring, Jakubowski worked for the city of Whiting for years and now currently runs the Knucklehead Boxing and Family Fitness in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
Harold Brazier – South Bend, Indiana’s Brazier entered the pro game with limited experience and learned on the job by working hard and fighting everyone he could. This anyone/anywhere attitude would allow him to rack up a 105-18-1 (65 KO’s) record over 22 years in the ring. While Brazier learned at the club level, Brazier would work his way into one of the top contenders among junior welterweights in the world. By the time he wrapped up his career, Brazier would face off against world champions Vince Philips, Pernell Whitaker, Livingstone Bramble, Juan Martin Coggi, Roger Mayweather, Meldrick Taylor and Lloyd Honeyghan. He would also face world class contenders Micky Ward, Robin Blake, John Wesley Meekins and then hot prospect Billy Collins Jr., among others. A popular ESPN TV fighter, Brazier picked up the NABF super lightweight title in 1987 against Meekins, lost a razor thin SD to champion Roger Mayweather in 1988 for the WBC world super lightweight title, travelled to Italy to challenge champion Coggi for the WBA super lightweight title in 1989 and beat Kevin Pompey to grab the USBA welterweight title in 1994. Brazier, as gentlemanly and quiet out of the ring as he was focused and fierce in it, was a successful car dealer in his hometown of South Bend throughout his impressive career and still resides there with his wife, children and grandchildren.
Luis Ramon Campos – “Yori Boy” would rack up 107 wins in 127 fights over (107-17-3, 82 KO’s) an incredible 31 years in the ring facing some of boxing’s top contenders. He capped off his highlight reel with a world title win in 1997 capturing the IBF world super welterweight title. Campos turned pro at age 16 in 1987 and would fight until 2018. He would go undefeated in his first 57 fights before losing in his first title try to Felix Trinidad for the IBF welterweight title in September of 1994. He would then put together 8 more wins before losing to Jose Luis Lopez for the WBO welterweight title in October of 1996. However, 5 fights later, he would beat champion Raul Marquez to win the IBF world super welterweight title in December of 1997. He would defend that title 3 times before losing to hot, young contender Fernando Vargas (then 17-0) in December of 1988. He would then go 7-1 over his next 8 fights that included bouts with Oba Carr and a come-backing Tony Ayala Jr., before losing to Daniel Santos in a bid for the WBO world super welterweight title in March of 2002. Then, 2 fights later, in May of 2003, he was stopped in the 7th round against red hot superstar Oscar De La Hoya in an attempt to take his WBA and WBC super welterweight titles. While Campos wouldn’t contest for a major world title after that fight, he did win several smaller regional titles, stepping into the ring 41 more times. In his last 16-years in the ring he faced many top contenders including Ireland’s Matthew Macklin and John Duddy, former world champion Hector Camacho and his son Hector Jr., among others. The final numbers are impressive – 31 years, 107 wins, 82 knockouts, 127 bouts total, 1 world title, 3 world title defenses, 3 more world title shots, 9 world title fights in total. Impressive stuff.
Julio Caesar Chavez – Considered one of the best boxers ever and is arguably the best Mexican fighter ever. At 107-6-2, with 86 KO’s, his numbers are outstanding. And, when you see his level of competition, and the string of victories over top, rugged and highly talented contenders and champions, it is quite the impressive resume to say the least.
Chavez would turn pro 41 years ago as an 18-year-old and set a busy pace fighting over 40 times in his first 4 years as a pro. In his 44th bout he captured the WBC super featherweight title, in September of 1984. He would then defend it 9 times over his next 12 bouts. Then, in November of ’87, he stopped rugged Edwin Rosario to capture the WBA lightweight title. He would make one defense of that title over his next 4 fights before beating legend Jose Luis Ramirez to capture the WBC lightweight title as well. At 62-0, he would stop Roger Mayweather to capture the WBC junior welterweight belt. He would defend that 2 times, over his next 5 fights, before adding the IBF junior welter belt in a thrilling knockout of Meldrick Taylor with 2 seconds left in the bout, in March of 1990. Then between 1990 and 1993, he would fight 17 times making 8 title defences in the process. In September of 1993, he had a disputed draw for the WBC welterweight title with Pernell Whitaker in Texas. Two fights later he defended his light welterweight title before losing it to Frankie Randall in January of 1994, for his first loss in 91 bouts. However, in May of that year he would regain the title. He would then go on to make 4 defenses in his next 6 bouts, rejecting the challenges of former world champions Hector Camacho and Greg Haugen, among others, before losing the title to rising superstar Oscar De La Hoya in June of 1996, in his 99th bout. He would then fight 11 times over the next 4 years but came up short in 3 title fights in that time drawing with Miguel Angel Gonzalez (for the WBC light welter belt) and losing in bids to De La Hoya in a rematch (for the WBC welter title) and Kostya Tzsyu (for the WBC light welterweight title). Between the fall of 2001 and the fall of 2005, he would fight 5 times, going 4-1, including wins over former world champions Frankie Randall and Ivan Robinson.
Chavez would retire after his last bout in the autumn of 2005, after his 115th bout, to wrap up his legendary career. Chavez passed along his love of boxing to his 2 sons, Omar and Julio Jr. Omar was a top-rated junior middleweight from 2006-2019 and Julio Jr. won the WBC middleweight title in 2011 and made 3 successful title defenses before losing it to Sergio Martinez in 2012. Julio Caesar Chavez still resides in Mexico where he is revered as boxing royalty.