On Boxing & Martial Arts: Quick, name the heavyweight champion | NevadaAppeal.com

On Boxing & Martial Arts: Quick, name the heavyweight champion

Victor Bruno
For the Nevada Appeal

I was truly disappointed when Manny Pacquiao said he couldn’t get any bigger. I would love to have him as our boxing heavyweight champion.

Which brings me to the question I have been asking people lately; that is, who’s the heavyweight champion of the world? Some people get testy when I ask them, like they are suppose to know, but they don’t. Well who do you say it is?

Tell you the truth, I had to look at Ring Magazine’s ranking to find out, I really wasn’t sure. A little side note Ring Magazine has been around for about 100 years, it’s rankings of boxers are the ones you need to know, if a boxer is the Ring Magazine champ, he is the real champ. WBA, WBO, WBC, and IBF to name a few (better known as the alphabet boys) are all corrupt.

Well to live in the time when no one knows who the heavyweight champion of the world is, is kind of sad. The first known heavyweight champion was one James Figg, who was British, the birth place of boxing, as we know it today, he held the crown from 1719 until his death in 1740.

The title changed hands many times in 1882 it became the possession of an American, The Boston Strong Boy, the great John L. Sullivan, who held the title for 10 years. The great Mr. Sullivan lost the title to Gentleman Jim Corbett, another Irishman born is San Francisco in the first bout fought under the Marquess of Queensberry rules. Gentleman Jim – who’s decent lifestyle, brought a better sort of audience to the fights – lost the title to Bob Fitzsimmons in 1897 in Carson City.

A plaque sits in front of the Sheriff’s office on Musser St., where the fight was held. Also Sullivan, Corbett and Fitzsim-mons have exhibitions at Pipers Opera House in Virginia City.

There was no doubt who the heavyweight champion was when in 1908 Jack Johnson became the first black heavyweight champion, knocking out Tommy Burns. Former heavyweight champion Jim Jefferies came out of retirement to dethrone Johnson in one of the greatest of all boxing matches ever fought, that took place in Reno on July 4, 1910, with Johnson knocking out Jefferies. Johnson lost it to the great Jack Dempsey who lost it to Gene Tunney.

Since this is a boxing article and not a book, let me throw a few names at you, Rocky Marciano 49-0 (43KOs), The Brown Bomber Joe Louis who held the title from 1937-1949 (unbelievable). Smokin’ Joe Frazier, The Louisville Lip Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, ever heard of Iron Mike Tyson? These guys are more popular than most American Presidents.

OK, so who holds the title today? Ring magazine has Wladimir Klitschko as heavyweight champion and Vitali Klitschko as No. 1 contender.

Will they box each other?

No. They are brothers.

The Klitschko’s are big, strong robotic boxers that are as exciting as a heart attack and have the personality of Nikita Khrushchev. Will the days of a colorful, exciting heavyweight champion come back? Lets hope so.

• Victor Bruno is athletic director of Bruno’s Boxing Club in Carson City.