? Until the last decade of the 19th century, boxing matches were fought without gloves. Who was the last bare knuckle heavyweight champion?
? John L. Sullivan of Roxbury, Mass. He gained the American heavyweight title when he knocked out Paddy Ryan in nine rounds on February 7, 1882. He defended his title against Jake Kilrain on July 8, 1889 in he last bare knuckle championship fight, mocking out Kilrain after 75 rounds.
? Who was the first fighter to win the heavyweight championship with gloves?
? James J. Corbett, who knocked out John L. Sullivan in 21 rounds on September 7, 1892. It was the first championship in which gloves (five ounces) were used.
? Only four heavyweight champions had undefeated records when they challenged for the title. Who were they?
? John L. Sullivan, James J. Jeffries, Rocky Marciano and Ingemar Johansson. Jeffries took the title from Bob Fitzsimmons in 1889, defended it successfully six times, finally retired in 1905 from lack of opposition. Marciano knocked out Jersey Joe Walcott for the championship in 1952 and retired undefeated in 1956, having defended his title six times. Johansson, European heavyweight champion, held the world title for less than a year. On June 26, 1959 he won the championship by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the third round. In a rematch on June 20, 1960 Johansson was knocked out by Patterson in the fifth round, the latter becoming the first heavyweight champion to regain his title. Johansson's second and last attempt to beat Patterson (March 13, 1961) ended in a sixth-round knockout.
? Besides Jeffries and Marciano, only two other heavyweight champions have retired undefeated. Who are they?
? Gene Tunney and Joe Louis. Tunney, who won the world heavyweight title from Jack Dempsey in 1926 and successfully defended it the following year in the celebrated "Long Count" battle, retired from the ring in July, 1928 after his second defense of the title. Louis held the crown for a record 11 years 8 months. He won the title on June 22, 1937 when he knocked out James J. Braddock, and he retired on March 1, 1949, having successfully defended his title 25 times.
? Has any heavyweight champion ever refused to continue during a title fight?
?Yes. Jess Willard's seconds threw in the towel after the third round of his bloody bout with Jack Dempsey on July 4, 1919. ( Willard had become champion in 1915, but had defended the title only once, in 1916, in a fight that ended in no decision.)