Sometimes “TOO TALL” Is Not Better! Ken Hissner (April 22, 2010) Doghouse Boxing
With the “twin towers” from the Ukraine, WBC champion Vitali Klitschko at 6:7 ½” and his brother IBF/WBO/IBO champion Wladimir being 6’6”, holding down most of the heavyweight titles and former WBA champion from Russia, Nikolai Valuev at 7’0”, it was my goal to find boxers with average to little success that were/are at least 6:8” in height proving the taller you are in boxing is not always so good!
The two tallest professionals were both listed at 7’4”. Gogea Mitu of Romania, who lived in France, had a 2-1 (2) record, boxing three bouts in 1935 in Romania. After scoring a pair of knockouts he was unwisely put in and stopped by 38 year old George Godfrey, 94-19-2, in 4 rounds. He passed away in 1936 at the age of 21 so whether he was going to continue his career or not is unclear.
I remember seeing a picture of “Big” John Rankin, of New Orleans, with one leg over the top rope entering the ring at 7’4”. His lone bout, a winning one by decision, was in November of 1967, over Willie Lee, 10-24-1, in New Orleans. He weighed 300 in that one. He was 26 and turned 70 in January.
I recall seeing pictures of Ewart “Ed” Potgieter, of South Africa, who was 7’2”. He was 11-2-1 (11), with his first seven fights in Africa in 1954-55 all wins. Then in the United Kingdom in 1955, he had three fights there with the last one a draw against James J. Parker, 27-5-3, in 10 rounds. He did not fight in 1956 and landed in the US in 1957 losing his first fight to Jeff Dyer, 15-6-1, in Holyoke, MS., over 10 rounds. He went to Oregon and fought once a month winning his next two fights before losing another 10 rounder in April of 1957 to John Holman, 26-14-1. His top weight was 335. He was 25 when he stopped boxing and is 76 today.
From Tipperary, Ireland, at 7’2”, came Jim Cully, 1-2 (1), losing his first fight by knockout in 3 rounds in 1942 to Chris Cole, in Dublin. He didn’t fight again until 1948 when he scored a knockout in Queens, NY, and thirteen days later was stopped in 3 rounds by Earl Pierce, 0-1, in Buffalo. Cully weighed 262.
Two boxers at 7’1”, are Carl “The Eclipse” Chancellor, from El Paso, TX, with a 4-6-2 (3), record. He turned pro in 1988 winning a decision. After a couple of draws he lost to James Hammum, 1-1, in Nevada by majority decision. In 1994 he unwisely was put in with Ahmed Abdin, 9-0-1, and stopped in the 5th round and was at his highest weight of 440. After a knockout win in 1995, he was inactive until 1998 ending his career being stopped in the 1st round by 6’6” James Gaines, 14-4, in Houston.
Still active is Julius “Towering Inferno” Long, of Detroit, at 7’1”, tipping 300 only once in his 15-14 (13), career. He started in 2001 winning his first five bouts by knockout before running into Leo Nolan, 8-0, losing over 6 rounds by decision. After a knockout win, he was put in with Olympic Gold medalist Audley Harrison, 3-0, and stopped in 2 rounds, in London. After four knockout wins he lost to cruiserweight Rob Calloway (205), in 12 rounds for the World Boxing Foundation Intercontinental title. Next he lost to 6’8” southpaw Tye “Big Sky” Fields, currently 43-2 (39), Missoula, MT, living in Edmonton. Long has lost his last six fights as recent as March 2010. Fields was knocked out by Monte Barrett after reversing his only previous loss to Jeff Ford. After the Barrett loss he moved to Canada where he scored a couple of knockouts ending in 2009.
Out of the same city Muhammad Ali aka Cassius Clay came is Marcellus “More Than A Conqueror” Brown. At 7’0” boxer also has what was Clay’s middle name as a first name. The comparison stops there! Great start at 11-0 with 10 being in the 1st round before getting knocked out himself and losing his next two fights. Turned professional in 1989 and in 1994 was stopped by former champion Trevor Berbick in two. In 1995 Tommy Morrison stopped Brown in three. 1998 it was Lamon Brewster’s time in four. In what may have been his last fight he stopped a three fight losing streak to defeat previously unbeaten Nagy Aguilera, 10-1, by disqualification in two rounds in December of 2008. His final record was 26-17-1 (21) and stopped 13 times.
Another 7’0” giant was Gil Anderson, 2-0 (2), from Richmond, CA. He went from a winning debut in two rounds to stopping Pat Costello, 1-0, in seven rounds in a scheduled eight and retired. This all took place between July 13th and September 21st in 1954.
I had the pleasure of seeing Mike “The Giant” White, a 6’10” boxer fight to a terrific draw with “Big” Joe Thomas at 6:6” in Atlantic City in 1983. Two fights later his claim to fame was stopping James “Buster” Douglas, then 18-1-1, in the 9th round, while winning only one round on one judge’s scorecard up until then. In 1991 he defeated Dick Ryan, 30-1, only to lose in his next fight to future champion Michael Moorer, being dropped in the 1st, 7th and 10th rounds, being saved by the bell. A couple of knockout losses followed and White retired at 26-13-1 (19). The Long Beach, CA, fighter was 36 at the time.
He got his start in the circus accepting all challengers! James J. Beattie, 6:9 ½, from St. Paul, MN, started his career in 1962. “Big Jim” won his first three by knockout before being stopped by Johnny Barrazza, 2-3, in the 5th round. Nine straight wins including a TV bout defeating Dick Wipperman, 26-2-1, at MSG included. He lost to James J. Woody, 5-0. Then he scored five knockouts before being stopped in seven by Woody in a rematch. Nine wins followed including reversing his loss to Barrazza. He was stopped by Al Jones at 6:06’, Buster Mathis, Tommy Fields, 16-15-3, losing to Scott LeDoux, Greg Sorrentino and Leroy Jones in his last three fights in 1979. He ended up 40-10 (33), being stopped seven times.
Another was James “Big Bad” Oyebola, from Nigeria, who did all his fighting out of the UK starting in 1987. This 6’9” giant started out winning a six round decision. Though not a bad record at 18-4-1(16), he was knocked out in all the losses. First time was his fourth fight with Mike Jones, 4-2, then John Westgarth, 10-11-2, and in a return match with a past knockout victim, Scott Welch, turning the tables stopping Oyebola in 1995. In his next and last fight eleven months later Julius Francis did the same.
More famous for being a Dallas Cowboy, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, took time away from the sport without a helmet barely winning a majority decision in his 1979 debut with Abraham Meneses, 5-6, whom he outweighed by over fifty pounds. Meneses had Jones down and out it seemed. Jones somehow managed to pull himself up off the canvas to take the decision. Determined not to quit, he followed up with five knockouts including one in Dallas. His final record was 6-0 (5) fighting in 1979-80. He was listed at 6’9” and was an all pro lineman for the Cowboys.
Ending with “Too Tall” Jones only makes the statement that being too tall in boxing is not always better!
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