Known as the Mayor of North Philadelphia, Benton was one of the best fighters never to fight for a world title. His frustrating career, which began as a 16-year-old in 1949, spanned four decades and ended in 1970 only when a bullet from a street encounter was lodged in his back. Benton compiled a 61-13-1 record, 36 knockouts. He beat Holly Mims, Moses Ward, Bobby Jones, Bobby Boyd, Jesse Smith, Allen Thomas, Johnny Morris, Juarez DeLima and world champions Freddie Little, Joey Giardello and Jimmy Ellis--before they won world titles. The middleweight championship changed hands 22 times during Benton's career, but he never got his chance at the crown. Herman Diamond, who refused to do business with certain mob characters, managed Benton for most of his career. Diamond's stance may have kept George from his title opportunity. By the time veteran Joe Gramby took managerial control in the late 1960s, Benton was an elder statesmen. Benton was trained by Joe Rose. After he retired, Benton became a well-known trainer, working with Joe Frazier, Bennie Briscoe, Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker. Ironically, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY, as a trainer. He was inducted in the PA Boxing Hall of Fame as a boxer. He died in 2011.
Brewer showed world-class determination when he rebounded from three losses in 1994 (two by KO) to earn the IBF world super middlweight title in 1997, knocking out South Africa's Gary Ballard in five rounds in Tampa, FL. He made three defenses before he was shafted, dropping a 12-round split decision in his 1998 title fight in Dusseldorf, Germany, against Sven Ottke. Ottke won the rematch, a much closer fight two years later, also in friendly Germany. Brewer had his ups and downs. He dropped Antwun Echols three times in the second round of their 2001 fight, only to have the referee stop the fight in the next round when Brewer, although staggered, was never off his feet. A pro from 1989 to 2005, Brewer beat Herol Graham, Antoine Byrd, Fernando Zuniga, Scott Pemberton. He lost on points in 2002 in Wales to WBO champ Joe Calzaghe and retired three years later at 40-11, 28 K0s. Brewer was inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008 on May 18, 2008 and into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame on Nov. 13, 2008.
Briscoe boxed from 1962 to 1982 and was one of the most feared fighters of his time. He had a 66-24-6 record (53 knockouts) against the best at 154 and 160 pounds. He twice challenged for the undisputed world middleweight crown, losing 15-round decisions to Carlos Monzon in 1972 in Argentina and to Rodrigo Valdes in 1977 Italy. He was K0d once in 96 fights when Valdes stopped him in seven rounds in Monte Carlo in 1974 for the vacant WBC title in the second of their three-fight series. He defeated Charley Scott, George Benton, Jose Gonzales, Vicente Rondon, Joe Shaw, Eddie "Red Top" Owens, Tom "The Bomb" Bethea, Carlos Marks, Rafael Gutierrez, Art Hernandez, Billy "Dynamite" Douglas, Tony Mundine, Stanley "Kitten" Hayward, Eddie Gregory (Mustafa Muhammad), Eugene "Cyclone" Hart and Tony Chiaverini. He held Monzon to a draw in their first fight in Argentina and Emile Griffith to a draw in their second fight in Monte Carlo. His managers: Pinny Schafer, Jimmy Iselin, Arnold Weiss. Trainers: Yank Durham; Joe Fariello; Quenzell McCall; George Benton; George James. Briscoe was inducted into the PA Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007 and into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2010. When he passed away on Dec. 28, 2010, it marked the end of an era.
Charlie "Choo Choo" Brown
Charlie Brown was the first IBF lightweight champ, winning the title Jan. 30, 1984, by scoring knockdowns in the first and fourth rounds against Melvin Paul, of New Orleans, then surviving a last-round knockdown himself to earn a 15-round split decision at the Sands Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Brown lost the title three months later when he was K0d in 14 rounds by Harry Arroyo, of Youngstown, OH, in the same ring. A pro from 1979 to 1993, Brown had less-than-modest success after losing his title, going 3-2-1 in his next six fights (losses to Cornelius Boza-Edwards and Tyrone Crawley) before finishing his career with 11 losses in a row, eight by knockout. His final record of 26-16-2, 18 K0s, belies his career, which included wins over Ruben Munoz and future IBF junior welterweight champion Gary Hinton. Brown boxed on much too long after his skills eroded and boxing commissions should have red-flagged him long before he retired.
This Hall-of-Fame bantamweight champ became America's first at 118 pounds in 32 years when he won the WBA belt in 1980 with a 14th-round K0 over Puerto Rico's Julian Solis in Miami. Chandler made eight defenses before losing to Richie Sandoval in 1984. Jeff had been suffering from cataracts and retired three mopnths after losing his title with a 33-2-2 record, 18 K0s. He beat Davey Vasquez, Andres Hernandez, Jorge Lujan, Eijiro Murata, Johnny Carter, Gaby Canizales and Oscar Muniz and he made more money than any bantamweight up to that time, appearing on ABC, CBS and NBC in the early 1980s' heyday of network televised fights. Jeff was managed by K.O. Becky O'Neil, first woman to guide a world champion in boxing history, and trained by her husband Willie, a walking encyclopedia of Philadelphia boxing. When Willie finally accepted the job as Jeff's trainer--shortly before Jeff won the title--he put that knowledge to work and honed Chandler into a fine fighting machine.
This tragic junior lightweight tore through the division in the 1970s with a fast, southpaw style and few could touch him. Won his first 34 fights by turning back Top 10 opponents from all over the world. He was a big attraction at The Spectrum but was not afraid to go on the road and he beat Ray Lunny III in San Francisco and Hugo Barraza in the rain in Venezuela. Judges robbed him of the WBC title Nov. 30, 1976 after he clearly dominated champ Alfredo Escalera over 15 rounds at The Spectrum. After the scandalous decision went against him, Everett rebounded with a pair of knockout wins and was negotiating for a rematch with Escalera when he was shot to death by a jealous girlfriend. He was 36-1, 20 KOs, and held both the USBA featherweight and junior lightweight titles. He was ahead of his time, style-wise, but had he been more aggressive in the final rounds of their fight, he would have K0d Escalera and taken it out of the hands of the judges. He was shot to death midway through 1977.
Frank "The Animal" Fletcher
In his brief career, Fletcher became one of television's most charismatic performers in the early 1980s. He won the first ESPN tournament in 1980 at 160 pounds, then he became the darling of NBC-TV. His Saturday afternoon bloodbaths at the Sands Hotel Casino in Atlantic City produced storybook results. His mother, Lucille, waved flags from the stage while the casino played its "Animal, Animal" music. Those scenes were the backdrop for Fletcher's dramatic, heart-pounding wins over Norberto Sabater, Ernie Singelatry, Tony Braxton, Clint Jackson and James "Hard Rock" Green. On his way to challenging world champ Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Fletcher stumbled. He lost to Wilford Scypion in 1983, losing his USBA title and his shot at Hagler. Fletcher was K0d by Juan Roldan later in 1983 and that wiped out his last chance to regain the spotlight. He was K0d by John "The Beast" Mugabi and Curtis Parker and he retired in 1985 with an 18-6-1 mark, 12 K0s.
Jersey City, NJ
This warrior was "The Franchise" in Atlantic City for much of his career. Few remember, however, that several of his early fights were at the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, where he scored a pair of one-round knockouts in 1991 over Luis Melendez and Jose Aguiano. Late in 1992, however, he traded knockdowns with slick King Solomon, of North Philadelphia, and lost a six-round split decision. Gatti returned to the Blue Horizon in 1994, then as the headliner, and he successfully defended his NABF junior lightweight title, knocking out durable Richard Salazar, of Texas, in the 10th round. By the time he developed into a real star, Gatti's Philadelphia days were behind him,though he did manage to fight quite a few from Philadelphia, including two brawls with Ivan Robinson. By the time he retired in 2007, Gatti had earned millions while compiling a 40-9 record, 31 knockouts. He held IBF junior lightweight title and the WBC junior welterweight belt. Gatti was found dead in his hotel room in Brazil on July 11, 2009. He was 37 years old.
Goss opened the door for East Coast featherweights and junior lightweights, but never got a shot at the big prize. Before Goss turned pro in 1969, little guys in the East had to travel West to find decent paydays. First at the Blue Horizon, then at the Arena and The Spectrum in Philadelphia, Goss became an attraction. His 1970 win over Augie Pantellas drew 10,000 fans to The Spectrum. Goss was K0d in his next fight by future world champ Ricardo Arredondo, then won 20 of his next 21 fights. He beat Lloyd Marshall, Jose Luis Lopez, Raul Cruz, Jose Fernandez and Walter Seeley and he was 39-3 when a young lefty named Tyrone Everett knocked him down and outpointed him over 12 rounds in 1974 at The Spectrum. Goss was 4-9-2 after that and retired in 1980 with a 43-12-2 mark, 19 K0s.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler
One of the best middleweights of all-time, Hagler honed his skills on the way up at The Spectrum, where he lost to Bobby "Boogaloo" Watts and Williie "The Worm" Monroe, both times early in 1976. He finally broke though at The Spectrum later that year with a knockout over "Eugene" Cyclone Hart. He avenged the loss to Monroe with a pair of K0s in their second (Hynes Auditorium, Boston) and third (Spectrum) fights, then outpointed Bennie Briscoe in 1978 at The Spectrum. He avenged the loss to Watts with a 1980 knockout in 1980 in Portland, ME, a little more than one year before he won the world title in London by knocking out Alan Minter. As great as he became, Hagler never forgot his Spectrum roots. He was 62-3-2, 52 K0s, when he retired in 1987 after his disputed 12-round decision loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in Las Vegas. His place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame was a mere formality.
This guy could sock! "The best one-punch knockout artist I ever saw in person," said J Russell Peltz, who promoted many of Hart's fights, including most of his first 19, which Hart won by knockout with a whiplash left hook. Hart's 60-second K0 over one-time welterweight and junior middleweight contender Stanley "Kitten" Hayward on May 3, 1971, sold out the 7,000-seat Arena in West Philadelphia, and his 1975 10-round draw with Bennie Briscoe at The Spectrum attracted more than 10,000 to a fight which British-based Boxing News rated the second-best fight in the world that year behind the Ali-Frazier III Thrilla in Manila. Always dangerous, Hart lost major fights to Willie "The Worm" Monroe, Bobby "Boogaloo" Watts, Eddie Gregory (Mustafa Muhammad), Briscoe (in their rematch), Marvin Hagler and Vito Antuofermo. He scored some big wins himself, defeating Don Fullmer, Fate Davis, Matt Donovan (twice), Radames Cabrera, Mario Rosa, Sugar Ray Seales and Melvin Dennis. Hart, who turned pro at 17 in 1969, was 30-9-2, 28 K0s. He is a member of the PA Boxing Hall of Fame.
Stanley Kitten Hayward
What a character! Still is! Flamboyant Hayward was a charmer and a talker, but he could fight. His 1964 knockout of future world welterweight champion Curtis Cokes, in which he got off the deck in round two to stop Cokes two rounds later on the old Friday Night Fights, is regarded as the greatest fight ever at the Blue Horizon. Hayward defeated Percy Manning, Dick Turner, Vince Shomo, Tito Marshall, Bennie Briscoe, Fate Davis, Pete Toro and Emile Griffith and he was ranked among the best at welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight during his career, which ran from 1959 to 1977. He quit in 1971 after Eugene "Cyclone" Hart K0d him in one round, but came back more than two years later and made some noise, beating Li'l Abner and giving Briscoe fits in a losing cause in their long-awaited rematch. Hayward was 32-12-4, 18 K0s. Went to work in City Hall after retirement and he was a hit there, too, until his retirement in 2011.
Brittle hands kept Hines from stardom. He won the IBF world junior middleweight title in 1988, getting off the deck twice in Las Vegas to dominate Matthew Hilton down the stretch for a unanimous 12-round decision. That fight brought back the recurrence of his brittle hands, which were useless three months later when Hines lost the title to Darrin Van Horn in Atlantic City. Cortisone injections temporarily solved the problem, but Hines was fined for it after the Hilton fight. He boxed twice after losing the crown and retired when Brett Lally stopped him in 1990 in Atlantic City. By that time, his enitre body had broken down. On the way up, Hines was beautiful to watch, peppering opponents from his slick, left-handed style. Hines took pop shots at opponents and his steady rat-a-tat punches kept them off balance. He defeated Kevin Howard, Tony Montgomery and Steve Little and boxed a draw with James "Hard Rock" Green. He finished a 25-3-1, 17 K0s.
Southpaw Hinton broke through in 1984 when he outpointed Brett Lally for the vacant USBA junior welterweight title. He was 23-2-1 at the time, having lost to Charlie "Choo Choo" Brown and Curtis Harris. The win over Lally earned Hinton a shot at Aaron Pryor's IBF world title in 1985. Pryor floored Hinton in the 14th round and retained the belt with a 15-round split decision at the Sands Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Two fights later, Hinton won the vacant title Pryor had given up when he gained a 15-round decision over previously unbeaten Reyes Cruz on April 26, 1986 in Lucca, Italy. He lost it in his first defense six months later when Joe Manley, who had held Hinton to a draw the year before, knocked him out in the 10th round in Hartford, CT. Hinton took time off, then came back in 1988 and won his next four fights. But a K0 loss to Saoul Mamby in 1989--five days short of his 33rd birthday--ended Hinton's career at age 33. He was 29-5-2, 11 K0s.
A bronze medalist at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, this aggressive southpaw light-heavyweight champ threw punches from bell to bell. He K0d Mate Parlov in 1978 in Sicily to win the WBC title, then lost it to Matthew Saad Muhammad in 1979. Later that year he won the WBA version at 175 pounds when he broke down Victor Galindez in 11 rounds in New Orleans. He lost that belt to Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and slowed down one year later after losing to Michael Spinks. He returned in 1983 and began another run which led him to his third belt which he earned in 1986 in his hometown by stopping Trinidad's Leslie Stewart in seven rounds. After one defense, he lost the title back to Stewart in the heat in Trinidad. Overall, he was 43-6, 35 KOs, with wins over Gary Summerhays, Eddie "Red Top" Owens, Wayne Magee, Tom "The Bomb" Bethea, Billy "Dynamite" Douglas, Eddie Davis (twice), Johnny Davis, Prince Charles Williams and Jean-Marie Emebe. Johnson's NABF title loss to Saad Muhammad in 1977 at The Spectrum is considered one of the greatest fights in the history of the division and one of the greatest in the storied history of boxing in Philadelphia.
Kates was a talented boxer who "came up" during Philadelphia's last Golden Age in the 1970s, but played second fiddle to the big punchers. He lied about his age and turned pro when he was 16. He was vastly underrated and he did not lose until his 18th fight when Eddie "Red Top" Owens stopped him in seven rounds at The Arena. He won his next 14, avenged the loss to Owens, beat Don Fullmer, Jose Gonzales, Jimmy Dupree, and went to South Africa where he outpointed Pierre Fourie. He was back there May 22, 1976 and was shafted in a WBA title fight with Victor Galindez, who was so badly cut in the third round that the ref stopped the fight--for more than 15 minutes. WBA "officials" ruled it was from a head butt and insisted the fight continue, which it did until the 15th round when Galindez won by knockout. In a rematch in Rome, Galindez won on points. Kates' 1978 fight with Matthew Saad Muhammad (Franklin) at The Spectrum was a thriller. Each man was down before Saad won by K0 in the sixth round. Kates continued and won 10 of his last 12 fights, beating Carlos Marks, Murray Sutherland, Mario Rosa and Jerry Celestine. In 1983, his final year, he fought twice, outpointing Jeff Lampkin and Jerry "The Bull" Martin in a fight that should have taken place years earlier. Kates finished at 43-6, 22 K0s. He was 30 when he quit and he said he had lost his desire. Kates was managed by Joe Gramby and trained by Letty Pettway.
"The Bull" won with strong body work and a rough inside game. His "breakout" win came in his 11th fight late in 1978 when he upset Jerry Celestine, of New Orleans, at The Spectrum. By the end of 1979, Martin had won and defended the NABF crown against Dale Grant and Jesse Burnett, respectively. He spent Memorial Day weekend, 1980, inside Rahway (NJ) Prison, knocking down inmate James Scott twice and earning the 10-round decision on NBC-TV. It all came apart two months later when WBA champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad knocked Martin out in the 10th round of their title fight in McAfee, NJ. Martin got two more title shots. Matthew Saad Muhammad K0d him in 11 rounds for the WBC belt in 1981 in Atlantic City and, after Dwight Braxton Qawi took the title from Saad, he, too, K0d Martin, doing it in six rounds March 21, 1982 in Las Vegas. Martin retired in 1984 at 25-7, 17 K0s.
Willie "The Worm" Monroe
Monroe claimed a 43-0 amateur record, 37 K0s. He turned pro in 1969 and won his first 20 fights, 16 by knockout. After losing to Max Cohen in Paris and to two-time victim Alvin Phillips in New Orleans, Monroe established himself by defeating Don Cobbs, Jose Gonzales, Eugene "Cyclone" Hart, Stanley "Kitten" Hayward and Billy "Dynamite" Douglas. He was out-boxed by Philadelphia rival Bobby "Boogaloo" Watts late in 1974 at The Spectrum. Mounting another win streak, Monroe beat Carlos Marks twice and Marvin Hagler in March, 1976, in his finest performance. But a K0 loss that summer to David Love, of San Diego, finished Monroe as a contender. He went 6-6 in his last 12 fights, beating second-tier middleweights but losing twice to Hagler as well as to Dwight Davison, Curtis Parker and Willie Edwards. He finshed at 40-10-1, 26 K0s, but he should have used more of the firepower he showed early in his career. Monroe was a member of the Cloverlay, Inc. stable, and while it helped to be with heavyweight champ Joe Frazier by getting fights on Frazier's undercards, he never got the attention he deserved. He had size, speed and power and could have gone further. He is a member of the PA Boxing Hall of Fame.
An incredibly troubled childhood--he was kidnapped at the age of 5 and thrown into the Ugandan army--left emotional scars and perhaps kept Ouma from becoming one of the best fighters of his generation. While in the Ugandan Army, he boxed for the national team and defected to the United States while competing here. He relocated to West Palm Beach, FL, and became an outstanding pro, earning victories over Tony Marshall, Verno Phillips, Michael Lerma, Angel Hernandez, Carlos Bojorquez and J.C. Candelo before winning the IBF junior middleweight title in a rematch with Phillips. After one defense against Kofi Jantuah, he lost the belt to Roman Karmazin. Mounting an assault on the middleweight division, Ouma beat Marco Antonio Rubio and Sechew Powell before losing on points to Jermain Taylor late in 2006. His career spiraled down from there, but he did one more title shot before being brutally stopped by Gennady Golovkin in 2011. He is 28-8-1, 17 K0s.
Pantellas had world-class power. He had future world champion Ricardo Arredondo on the floor in the ninth round of their 1971 fight at The Spectrum, but the Mexican star survived and won by K0 in the 10th although Pantellas never went down. Pantellas and Trenton (NJ) rival Sammy Goss helped bring popularity back to featherweights and junior lightweights in the 1970s. Their 1970 showdown drew more than 10,000 fans to The Spectrum. Goss won on points, snapping Pantellas' 19-fight winning streak. After losing on points to Miguel Herrera in 1971 at The Arena, Pantellas retired, then returned six years later after he "found Jesus" and began drawing big crowds again to the 69th Street Forum in Upper Darby, then to The Spectrum where he beat Roman Contreras in a 1978 thriller. A knockout defeat to Hall-of-Famer Bobby Chacon later that year kept Pantellas from the rankings and he retired midway through 1979 after avenging his loss to Goss by winning on points at the 69th Street Forum. He was 28-6, 20 K0s.
The 1977 National AAU champion, Parker was a network television star of the early 1980s. Short for a middleweight at 5-foot-8, Parker worked his way inside--though too often without jabbing--and tried to rough up opponents to the body and head. He won his first 17, defeating Willie "The Worm" Monroe, Elisha Obed and Gary Guiden, then wrecked "Philly Killer" David Love in his NBC-TV debut early in 1980. Parker's ninth-round K0 of Love turned heads but, after squeezing by Mike Colbert in his next NBC appearance, he was outclassed by Detroit's Dwight Davison and never recovered. He lost two terrific fights to Mustafa Hamsho--though the first one could have gone Parker's way--and he also lost to first-line middleweights Wilford Scypion, John "The Beast" Mugabi, Alex Ramos, Michael "The Silk" Olajide, Frank Tate and Michael Nunn. In between, he defeated Tony Braxton and Frank "The Animal" Fletcher. Parker was the first to beat Donald Bowers and Philip Morefield. A pro from 1977 to 1988, Parker finished at 29-9, 21 K0s. He was managed and trained by ex-heavyweight banger Willie Reddish, Sr., along with his son, Willie, Jr.
Dwight Muhammad Qawi
Hall-of-Famer Qawi turned pro at 25 in 1978 and got two breaks in 1980. He went to South Africa and K0d prospect Theunis Kok in 10 rounds in Qawi's eighth fight. Then he won the first ESPN tournament. He broke though in 1981 when he wore down ex-WBA light-heavyweight champion Mike Rossman in seven rounds. Later that year he won the WBC world title, demolishing Matthew Saad Muhammad in 10 rounds. After three defenses, he lost to WBA champ Michael Spinks by 15-round decision in a title unification fight, ending a 16-fight win streak. At cruiserweight, Qawi won the WBA title when he K0d Piet Crous in 11 rounds in 1985. After one defense against Leon Spinks, he lost a 15-round decision to Evander Holyfield in one of the best fights of the 1980s. Holyfield K0d Qawi in a rematch and so did George Foreman. Then he won four in a row before losing a 12-round split decision to Robert Daniels for the vacant WBA cruiserweight belt in 1989. Qawi retired in 1998 at 41-11-1, 25 K0s.
Rossman turned pro at 17 and was much better than given credit for. The "Jewish Bomber" fought a near-perfect fight Sept. 15, 1978, when he stopped Victor Galindez, of Argentina, in 13 rounds in the Louiaiana SuperDome to win the WBA light-heavyweight title. Rossman was 22 and he had prepared for that fight at Deer Lake, PA, site of Muhammad Ali's training camp and it made a difference. An aversion to training was Rossman's weakness and he had problems with his management, part of which was handled by his father. He still managed signature wins over Mike Quarry, Christy Elliott, Ray Anderson, Gary Summerhays and Lonnie Bennett. He lost the title back to Galindez in his second defense and quit in 1981 after a knockout loss to future Hall-of-Famer Dwight (Braxton) Qawi. Rossman returned in 1983 and won four in a row before his lack of dedication forced him to retire permanently with a record of 44-7-3, 27 K0s.
Matthew Saad Muhammad
One of the most exciting fighters to come out of Philadelphia, Saad made his namark in 1977 and 1978 when (as Matthew Franklin) he engaged in wars at The Spectrum with Marvin Johnson, Billy "Dynamite" Douglas, Richie Kates and Yaqui Lopez, winning them all. He won the WBC world title in 1979 in a brutal, bloody rematch with Johnson, stopping Marvin in eight rounds on an ABC-televised card from Indianapolis, IN. He retained the title in another series of epic battles--most of them in Atlantic City--with men like John Conteh, Lopez (again), Murray Sutherland, Vonzell Johnson and Jerry "The Bull" Martin. Most of his thrilling, come-from-behind title defenses were aired on network television, making Saad a network favorite in the early 1980s. Finally, late in 1981, Dwight Muhammad Qawi (then Dwight Braxton) knocked him out in 10 rounds for the title in Atlantic City. Saad went downhill after that, losing 12 of his last 20 fights. He retired in 1992 at 49-16-3, 35 K0s, and died much too young at 59 in 2014.
A classy person and a solid pro, the "Punching Postman" passed away Sept. 11, 2009, as a result of injuries suffered in an Aug. 30 motorcycle accident. Thornton had a distinguished career, highlighted by three attempts at a world title. His 1992 challenge against WBO super middleweight champ Chris Eubank should have gone his way, but Eubank squeezed by on points in Glasgow, Scotland. One year later he lost on points Tulsa, OK, to James Toney in a fight Thornton simply did not do enough to win. He mounted one last drive in 1995, winning the USBA title at 168 with a second-round blowout of Darren Zenner at the Blue Horizon and that netted him his biggest payday when he was stopped in three rounds later that year in Pensacola, FL, by Roy Jones. A popular fighter with a big following, Thornton did not lose until his 19th fight when Doug DeWitt beat him in a 13th-round boxoff for the USBA middleweight title. He was 9-0 from 1990 through mid-1992 with wins over Dave Tiberi, Karama Leota and Merqui Sosa. His final record was 37-7-1, 26 K0s.
The best boxer of the three young Philadelphia middleweights of the 1970s--Eugene "Cyclone" Hart and Willie "The Worm" Monroe were the other two--Watts was the first man to beat Marvin Hagler when he gained a 10-round majority decision in 1976 at The Spectrum. Watts turned pro in 1969 but his career stalled by the end of the year and he traveled to the West Coast where two losses in three fights sent him home. He resumed his career and beat good fighters like Roy Edmonds, Li'l Abner, Ralph Palladin, Willie Warren and Mario Rosa. He defeated Hart and Monroe in 1974 at The Spectrum, but never capitalized, even after beating Hagler. A knockout loss in 1977 to David Love in San Antonio, TX, ruined his title hopes and ended his 13-fight winning streak. One year later, Mustafa Hamsho K0d him in Jersey City, NJ, and his days as a contender were over. Hagler got revenge in 1980 and, after four wins, Watts retired in 1983 after getting K0d by Mark Kaylor in London. His record was 38-7-1, 20 K0s. He is a member of the PA Boxing Hall of Fame.
Prince Charles Williams
Light-heavyweight Prince Charles Williams was discovered while losing a 10-round decision to former two-time world champion Marvin Johnson on an ESPN-televised show in 1984 in Indianapolis. J Russell Peltz, who promoted Johnson, was impressed with Williams' desire and he signed the Mansfield, OH, prospect. Peltz brought in veteran Marty Feldman, of Broomall, PA, to train Williams and Prince Charles did not lose again for more than eight years. He won the USBA crown in 1986 by beating James Salerno and 11 months later he rallied from two knockdowns to stop Bobby Czyz in Las Vegas for the IBF title. Williams made eight successful defenses but hand problems kept him idle for long stretches. When he lost the title to Henry Maske in Germany in 1993, it was his first fight in 17 months. He was stopped in 12 rounds by James Toney in 1994 for the IBF super middleweight championship. Williams retired in 1996 with a 37-7-3 record, 28 K0s.