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Original Issue


A heavyweight championship boxing quiz to excite the memory and increase the lore of fans and armchair experts

? 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.)

? There have been five foreigners to hold the heavyweight crown. Who are they?

•Bob Fitzsimmons of England (1897-99); Tommy Burns of Canada (1906-08); Max Schmeling of Germany (1930-32); Primo Carnera of Italy (1933-34) and Ingemar Johansson of Sweden (1959-60).

? There have been eight one-round knockouts in heavyweight championship fights. Three titleholders were involved in them. Who were they?

•Joe Louis knocked out five of his challengers in one round (Max Schmeling, John Henry Lewis, Jack Roper, Buddy Baer and Tami Mauriello). Earlier in the century Champion Tommy Burns took care of two aspirants, Bill Squires and Jem Roche, in one round each, knocking out the latter in the record time of 1:28. And in 1953 Rocky Marciano stopped Jersey Joe Walcott in 2:25 of the first round.

? Who was the biggest heavyweight champion?

•Although Jess Willard was the tallest, at 6 feet 6¼ inches, Primo Carnera was the real giant of the ring in every other physical respect. He weighed 267 pounds, had a reach of 85½ inches, a 48-inch chest (with six inches expansion) and a 38-inch waist. He also had the largest biceps (18½ inches), neck (20 inches), calf (20 inches), thigh (30 inches), fist (14¾ inches) and forearm (16 inches). Before he was "discovered" by U.S. promoters Carnera had worked as a strong man in a circus sideshow.

? Many champions have been known by shortened or simplified versions of their real names, as have Joe Louis Barrow (Joe Louis) and Rocco Marchegiano (Rocky Marciano). Who were heavyweight titleholders Noah Brusso, Joseph Paul Zukauskas and Arnold Raymond Cream?

•Tommy Burns, Jack Sharkey and Jersey Joe Walcott—in that order.