[Criteria: Fighter theoretically enters weight category of choice]
LIGHT-HEAVYWEIGHTS 175 lbs: p1 Bob Foster p1 Ezzard Charles p2 Archie Moore p3 Michael Spinks p4 Virgil Hill p4 Billy Conn p5 Harold Johnson p5 Joey Maxim p5 Tommy Laughran p6 Jimmy Bivins
[8.9] BOB FOSTER 65-45(46)-8-1 [Heavyweight & Light-Heavyweight]: Ringside: Top Ten Heavyweights TV - The Ring online -
39,899. Bob is taking on the one man who never takes a backward step in the ring. The one man who takes everything that is dished out and then bombs you out of there. No-one, not even Bob Foster, can be called a punching favourite over Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Ringside: Top Ten Heavyweights I, prefight commentary re 1970 v Joe Frazier
124,539. Bob Foster passed away on November 21 2015, at the age of 77.
Albuquerque, New Mexico native, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990, is regarded as one of the greatest light-heavyweights of all time and one of the hardest punchers boxing has ever witnessed.
Foster, a rangy 6-foot-3 boxer-puncher, was a wrecking machine of a light-heavyweight champion. He made a then-division record 14 defenses in his six-year reign of terror, scoring 10 stoppages (often of the chilling KO variety).
At 175-pounds he was untouchable. His loses were against heavyweights when he looked to challenge himself on the way up and later when he fought the legendary pair of Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, both of whom he enjoyed moments against.
‘We were all friends, this is all business,’ Foster told RingTV.com last summer prior to his passing. ‘There was no big money in my division. I could make a $100,000 but them guys were making $300,000 … I told Ali and Frazier, Give me a chance to make that big money’ and they did.’
At light-heavyweight he toiled in obscurity, too good for his own good, unable to get a title shot until 1968, when he finally got his opportunity facing Dick Tiger. He describes it as his proudest moment and best performance in boxing.
‘I had been trying for years to get a shot at the title, nobody would fight me,’ he said. ‘I got some people I knew in Washington who had a construction company to put money up for me to fight Tiger. They put up $100,000 for Tiger. I didn’t make no money off that fight, my purse was $60,000 and I had to give it back to the guys who put the money up for me to fight Tiger.’
Foster became the only man to knock out Tiger, demolishing the Nigerian in the fourth round. During his championship tenure he knocked out the respected trio of, Vicente Rondon (TKO 2), Mike Quarry (KO 4) and Chris Finnegan (KO 14) in The Ring's 1972 Fight of the Year.
He attributes much of his success to his jab.
‘I had the best jab in the business,’ he proudly boasted. ‘My trainer used to put one-pound weights in my hands when I done my roadwork. I’d do three, four miles and I just kept that left jab pumping with that weight in my hand. Today my left shoulder is bigger than my right shoulder. I had a lot of power, if I didn’t knock you out I’d bust you open within 15 rounds.’
Foster (56-8-1, 46 knockouts) retired after drawing with Jorge Victor Ahumada in his final title defense in 1974. He made a comeback a year later but retired for good after losing in 1978.
When assessing the light heavyweight division today he admits Sergey Kovalev may have given him some trouble before quipping: ‘If I was 50 years younger, I’d have knocked out Roy Jones, [Bernard] Hopkins, [Adonis] Stevenson and Kovalev!’ (Laughs)
After his boxing career Foster became a deputy sheriff in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. Foster was survived by his wife and four children. He also had 10 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren. The Ring online article ‘Best I Faced: Bob Foster’
34) Dick Tiger KO4: US fight commentary TV -
124,547. v Dick Tiger 24th May 1968 WBA WBC Light Heavyweight New York: [r1] … He’s got eight inches in reach on Tiger … Tiger’s good counter-punch there … Tiger is carrying the round … Tiger putting on another surge … [r3] … The first time Foster has thrown the right hand tonight … A solid right hand and a hook … Foster using the one-two … [r4] … That jab is starting to work on Tiger … Tiger is down! Tiger down! … Bob Foster is the new light heavyweight champion of the world! US fight commentary
38) Frank dePaula TKO1: US Fight Commentary TV -
124,548. v Frank dePaula 22 January 1969 WBA WBC Light Heavyweight New York: [r1] … Foster down! Are they counting that a knockdown? … He [Foster] rips that right hand to the jaw … A left hook and dePaula was hurt … mandatory eight count … Foster is setting up dePaula now … dePaula down again … There it is. It’s all over. US fight commentary
39) Andy Kendall TKO4:
124,551. v Andy Kendall 24th May 1969 WBA WBA Light Heavyweight Massachusetts: [r1] … Kendall will be trying to come in close … There’s that left … Good two rights, three rights, by Foster … again the right … Finally the bell: 3:45! … [r2] … Foster has a ten inch reach on Kendall … That left beating in there steadily … He did get in a left to Foster’s jaw then … and Bob is right back with the lefts … [r3] … The right went into that eye, again the left … He got in a good right to Foster’s upper mid section … Good comeback by Kendall … [r4] … The left immediately by Foster …Foster got him with that left and sent him reeling … Pounding away at him … Beaten he goes to the floor … The fight is being stopped. US fight commentary
52) Vincente Rondon KO2: US Fight Commentary TV -
124,549. Vincente Rondon 7 April 1972 WBA WBC Light Heavyweight Miami Beach Florida: [r1] … That’s a jolting left jab … There’s dynamite in those Foster punches … Foster continues to press … A crushing right followed by a left and Rondon is down … ripping punches and Rondon goes down … US fight commentary
53) Mike Quarry KO4: UK Fight Commentary TV -
124,550. Mike Quarry 27 June 1972 WBA WBC Light Heavyweight Nevada: [r1] … That left hand of Foster’s is getting in … Left hook … and a right … solid left … Tremendous left hand by Foster and another … [r2] … Foster’s first in again … Foster pounding away … Foster cool and dangerous … That remorseless left hand of Foster’s … [r3] … Two nice jabs by Quarry … A corker of a right hand by Foster … Uppercut again … [r4] … Almost all his punches are telling … punishing Quarry .. Oh what a right cross … The bell cannot save him. UK fight commentary
54) Chris Finnegan KO14: UK Fight Commentary TV -
39,900. v Chris Finnegan 26th September 1972 London [Light Heavyweight & Ring Magazine Fight of the Year]: [r1] ... The hardest that Finnegan has ever faced – southpaw style, he leads with the right. Look at this extraordinary reach of Foster – six feet three and a half inches ... [r8] ... A tremendous performance by Finnegan ... Foster is piling it on … [r10] ... This will be remembered in Britain as a great performance by Chris Finnegan ... Ooops! Left hand – left and a right ... Now this is the first real crisis for Chris ... The bright lights are really flashing now for Finnegan. That right hand is getting through too often ... [r11] ... The danger signals flash early on in the Eleventh for Finnegan ... Look at the bounce in Foster now ... The taunting of the victim ... [r13] ... Two shattering punches there from Foster ... [r14] ... And he goes – and this is probably the finish ... And what a great champion – Bob Foster. Harry Carpenter, UK fight commentary
[8.9] EZZARD CHARLES 119-93(52)-25-1: [Heavyweight & Light Heavyweight] Ring magazine online - Ringside: Top Ten Heavyweights TV - Bert Randolph Sugar -
124,540. Arguably the best light heavyweight of all-time. Was born in Georgia but raised in Cincinnati. Took up boxing as a teenager and went undefeated in 42 amateur bouts. Won Chicago Golden Gloves and the national AAU middleweight championship before turning pro as a middleweight in March 1940, tallying a third-round KO of Melody Johnson in Middletown, Ohio. A terrific boxer with outstanding footwork and a hard punch, he moved up to light heavyweight because he was unable to secure a title shot at 160 pounds. Despite impressive victories over Archie Moore, Charley Burley and Joey Maxim at 175 pounds, he was also unable to get a crack at the light heavyweight title. Although slightly undersized, he began fighting heavyweights in 1946 and continued to score solid victories. In February 1949, he knocked out San Baroudi in Chicago. When Baroudi died of a head injury afterward, Charles was deeply affected and almost gave up boxing …