Category: Legends of the Ring


Celebrating Legendary Boxers of the Old Era

In our ongoing mini-series, “Celebrating African-American Boxing Legends: Their Impact and Legacy,” we’ve explored the remarkable journey of extraordinary fighters who defied odds, shattered barriers, and left an enduring legacy.

As we continue our journey, we now turn our spotlight to the legendary boxers of the old era, individuals who made a profound impact on both the sport of boxing and the cultural landscape.

In this continuation of our mini-series, we delve deeper into the lives and achievements of iconic boxers who emerged in the earlier decades of boxing history.

These formidable figures, while perhaps not as prominently remembered as their contemporaries, have played a pivotal role in shaping the sport’s evolution. Their tales are a testament to the enduring power of resilience, determination, and skill, providing inspiration for the generations that followed.

12. Larry Holmes: The Easton Assassin

Heavyweight Champion Larry Holmes, prior to the awards ceremony honoring the 10 Outstanding Young Men of the Year.
Larry Holmes (1979) | Source: Based on an image taken from Wikipedia / By TSGT W.D. Boradman

Born on November 3, 1949, Larry Holmes is an American former professional boxer whose career spanned from 1973 to 2002. He achieved the pinnacle of success as the world heavyweight champion from 1978 to 1985. Growing up in Easton, Pennsylvania, Holmes’s connection to his hometown earned him the moniker “The Easton Assassin”.

He’s often hailed as one of the premier heavyweight boxers in history. He left an permanent mark on the sport by holding the WBC heavyweight title from 1978 to 1983, the Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight titles from 1980 to 1985, and the inaugural IBF heavyweight title from 1983 to 1985.

He achieved a remarkable feat by securing victory in his first 48 professional matches. His triumphs included notable wins over boxing legends like Ken Norton, Muhammad Ali, Earnie Shavers, and Tim Witherspoon.

Larry Holmes, Joe Frazier and Michael Spinks posing for the camera
Larry Holmes, Joe Frazier and Michael Spinks | Source: Wikipedia / By John Mathew Smith &
Years Active and Victorious Triumphs

Larry Holmes showcased his exceptional skills and dominance in the ring during his active years from 1973 to 2002. He participated in a total of 75 fights, with an impressive record of 69 victories, 44 of which were won by knockout.

Holmes’s reign as the world heavyweight champion spanned from 1978 to 1985. His left jab, often hailed as one of the best in heavyweight boxing history, was a defining element of his fighting style. His victories and titles underscored his legacy as one of the most accomplished and respected heavyweight boxers of his era.

Video by Joseph Vincent


Celebrating African-American Boxing Legends: Their Impact and Legacy (Part 2)

Step into Cleto Reyes’ captivating mini-series, “Legends of the Ring”. This time we continue celebrating African-American Boxing Legends, their impact and legacy.

Join us on an exciting journey as we explore the incredible influence of legendary African-American boxers who made a lasting impact on the sport and the world beyond.

Continuing our path

In Part 1, we honored the remarkable pioneers who fearlessly broke barriers and paved the way for future champions. Now, in Part 2, we’ll dive deeper into the cultural impact of boxing icons, becoming symbols of strength, unity, and inspiration worldwide.

Explore the incredible journeys of trailblazing fighters who achieved greatness both inside and outside the ring. Each champion’s unstoppable power and magnetic charisma have left a lasting impression on fans worldwide.

Get ready to be inspired by “Celebrating African-American Boxing Legends: Their Impact and Legacy.”

The Cultural Impact of Boxing Icons

In this second installment of our mini-series, we pay homage to some of the most iconic names in the sport’s history. From the unstoppable power of Sonny Liston to the legendary charisma of Muhammad Ali, each champion has left an indelible mark on the hearts of fans worldwide.

Join us as we continue to explore the cultural impact of these legendary fighters, and discover the stories of resilience, determination, and inspiration that have shaped the sport we love.

7. Sugar Ray Robinson: Sweet As Sugar

Based on an image taken from Wikipedia | By ACME

Walker Smith Jr. (May 3, 1921 – April 12, 1989), better known as Sugar Ray Robinson, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1940 to 1965. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. Often hailed as the pound-for-pound greatest boxer of all time, Robinson’s legacy continues to shine.

His achievements included holding the world welterweight title from 1946 to 1951 and claiming the world middleweight title in the same year. After retiring in 1952, Robinson made a triumphant comeback, recapturing the middleweight title in 1955. He became the first boxer to win a divisional world championship five times, accomplishing this by defeating Carmen Basilio in 1958.

Victorious Triumphs and Championship Dominance

Robinson began as a dominant amateur, with an often-cited record of 85–0, including 69 knockouts, 40 in the first round. His professional career took off in 1940 at the age of 19. By 1951, he boasted a professional record of 129–1–2 with 85 knockouts. From 1943 to 1951, Robinson achieved a remarkable 91-fight unbeaten streak, a feat that ranks among the longest in boxing history.

Video by Joseph Vincent


Celebrating African-American Boxing Legends: Their Impact and Legacy (Part 1)

Welcome to Cleto Reyes’ exclusive blog mini-series, “Celebrating African-American Boxing Legends: Their Impact and Legacy.” Join us on a captivating journey as we pay tribute to the remarkable legacy of African-American boxing icons, whose indomitable spirit and achievements have left an indelible mark on the sport and the world beyond.

Boxing, a sport defined by raw power and unwavering determination, has been forever shaped by the extraordinary achievements of these trailblazers. Their stories serve as beacons of inspiration, igniting the dreams of aspiring champions worldwide.

At Cleto Reyes, we take immense pride in honoring the legacy of these boxing icons. Our commitment to crafting top-notch boxing equipment reflects our belief in empowering the next generation of fighters. We invite you to join us in celebrating the enduring legacy of African-American boxing legends, as we are united by the common pursuit of greatness, both in and out of the ring.

Stay tuned for the mini-series, a transformative journey of courage, triumph, and legacy that defines “Celebrating African-American Boxing Legends: Their Impact and Legacy.” Together, let us embrace the indomitable spirit of these champions and forge our own paths to greatness.

Pioneers Who Broke Barriers

In the annals of boxing history, certain names shine brightly as pioneers who defied insurmountable odds, shattered the shackles of discrimination, and blazed an unyielding trail for future generations of African-American boxers. These trailblazers fearlessly stepped into the ring during eras marred by adversity and segregation, wielding their fists not just to win titles but to dismantle racial barriers and pave the way for others.

Their journey to greatness was fraught with challenges, including discriminatory practices that sought to undermine their talents. Nevertheless, they remained steadfast, and through their unwavering commitment to their craft, they proved that boxing prowess knew no color.

From Jack Johnson, whose conquest of the heavyweight crown in 1908 shattered the myth of white invincibility, to Joe Louis, whose reign as heavyweight champion during the tumultuous 1930s and 1940s inspired a nation grappling with racial tension, these pioneering champions stood tall as beacons of hope and change.

Against a backdrop of social unrest and racial discrimination, their ascendancy as champions echoed far beyond the ropes of the boxing ring. Their very presence challenged the status quo, forcing society to confront its biases and acknowledge the prowess and resilience of African-American athletes.

As we celebrate these courageous pioneers in boxing’s hallowed history, we honor their legacy of tenacity and courage. Their battles were not confined to the squared circle; they fought for dignity, respect, and equal opportunities for African-Americans both inside and outside the sport.

Join us in this exploration of the lives and impact of these remarkable athletes, as we pay tribute to the pioneers who left an indelible mark on boxing, challenging stereotypes, and forging paths of success for future generations. Their stories remind us that the true measure of a champion lies not only in the titles they claim but in the barriers they bravely broke and the dreams they ignited in the hearts of others.

1. Jack Johnson – The Galveston Giant

Jack Johnson "The Galveston Giant", doing a boxing pose.
Jack Johnson, African-American boxer and world heavyweight champion, Sydney, c.1908 | Source: Wikipedia / Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

At the turn of the 20th century, John Arthur Johnson, born on March 31, 1878, in Galveston, Texas, emerged as a dominant force in boxing, etching his name into history as the first African-American to claim the heavyweight championship in 1908. His remarkable skills, flamboyant personality, and unyielding confidence in the ring were nothing short of revolutionary, challenging prevailing racial stereotypes.

However, Johnson’s triumphs were met with fierce racial animosity, sparking unjust opposition from white opponents and facing harsh criticism from racist quarters. Undeterred by the adversity he encountered, Johnson’s indomitable spirit and unwavering determination prevailed, making him an enduring symbol of strength and resilience for African-American athletes aspiring for greatness in the face of social barriers.

His remarkable journey, from a humble beginning in Galveston, Texas, to becoming a trailblazer in the sport of boxing, remains a testament to the power of perseverance and the profound impact that pioneers like him had on the sport and society as a whole.

Victorious Triumphs and Championship Dominance

Johnson’s boxing prowess was undeniable, as evidenced by his impressive record of 95 fights, with an astounding 72 victories, including 38 wins by knockout. His technical finesse and unmatched determination allowed him to secure a remarkable title reign that lasted from 1908 to 1915.

Source: | Video by Reznick

Despite his remarkable achievements in the ring, Johnson’s personal life, characterized by openly maintaining relationships with white women, led to his trial under a federal law aimed at curbing prostitution. He ultimately served a one-year prison sentence upon returning to the United States in 1920.

In 2018, in a historic gesture, President of the United States, Donald Trump, granted a posthumous pardon to Johnson, who faced a controversial conviction in 1913 for engaging in a relationship with a white woman. The actor Sylvester Stallone played a pivotal role in bringing attention to the case, leading to Trump’s consideration of the pardon. President Trump acknowledged the historical injustice and racism that clouded Johnson’s conviction, describing the pardon as a justified step to correct a past mistake.

This pardon, made in the presence of actor Sylvester Stallone, who had advocated for it, serves as a powerful reminder of Johnson’s enduring legacy, not only as a legendary boxer but also as a trailblazer who challenged the racial barriers of his time.