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How Did Heavyweight Boxing Become The Muddle It Is? Time For A Quiz
July 01, 1985
Since 1978, the last year something like sanity prevailed in heavyweight boxing, guys named Muhammad, Leon, Ken, Larry, John, Mike, Monte, Michael, Gerrie, Tim, Greg, Tony and Pinklon have all been champions. Confusing? You better believe it. If you weren't counting, there have been 13 champions in those seven years. If you count back 13 champions from '78, you will arrive at James J. Braddock, who won his title 50 years ago. It's even more unsettling to note that since 1885, when John L. Sullivan became the first modern champion, only 38 men have claimed boxing's most-prized title, and more than a third of them have done so since 1978. Something definitely is amiss, that's clear. What isn't always clear is what's going on. To better your understanding of the present and recent past, we offer the following exam.
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July 01, 1985

How Did Heavyweight Boxing Become The Muddle It Is? Time For A Quiz

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After Weaver KO'd Coetzee, Arum said, "Weaver is the greatest heavyweight I have ever seen."

Meanwhile, as greatests were coming and going, Holmes was well into a run of 17 successful WBC defenses.

In 1981, Pat O'Grady of Oklahoma City founded the World Athletic Association, and after his 6' 5" son-in-law Monte Masters knocked out Larry Simmons in May of 1982, yet another world champion was crowned, "It was embarrassing," said O'Grady, who had once said of Masters, "He couldn't beat me."

Masters solved O'Grady's crisis of conscience. He soon lost a nontitle fight to Roger Braxton, and his father-in-law lifted his title. Undaunted, Masters regained his crown by knocking out Tony Fulilangi seven months later in a WAA-sanctioned title bout. But again he lost a nontitle fight, and again O'Grady stripped him. The WAA hasn't had another heavyweight title fight since, which is cause for rejoicing.

Back in the relatively real world, in December 1982 Weaver lost his title to Michael Dokes, who in turn was knocked out by Coetzee (remember him?) in September 1983. Two months later, in his last WBC defense, Holmes knocked out Marvis Frazier.

"You have to fight Greg Page, our number one contender," the WBC then told Holmes.

"For $2.5 million," said King, acting as promoter.

"I want more," said Holmes.

"No," said King.

"Goodby, WBC," said Holmes, who was immediately recognized as champion by the newly formed International Boxing Federation headed up by Bob Lee, former boxing commissioner of New Jersey.

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