Glynn Evans trawls through the annals to locate 10 champions who’ve fallen foul of the dreaded jinx over the last 30 years.
1) ‘Macho’ Camacho Survives ‘Life and Death’
New York, USA, June 1986
Skirt wearing, disco dancing showman Hector Camacho was perceived as heir apparent to Sugar Ray Leonard as boxing’s poster boy when he pranced into a Puerto Rican civil war with Edwin Rosario at Madison Square Garden.
But monster left hooks from challenger ‘El Chapo’ left him wobbling like a weeble in rounds five and eleven. Battered and bloodied, Camacho refused to fall down and somehow fouled and fiddled his way to a split decision and retention of his WBC lightweight belt. Nevertheless, his menacing ‘Macho Man’ persona had forever been exposed as a myth.
2) ‘Body Snatcher’ Blunted
Atlantic City, USA, December 1991
Jamaica’s future Hall of Famer Mike McCallum was a long standing WBA Super-Welter and Middleweight champion - bettered just once in 43 – and brought a rep as a murderous body puncher into his IBF middleweight challenge with James ‘Lights Out’ Toney at the Convention Hall.
But the master craftsman was deemed fortunate to return with a draw after the angry, smack talking Michigan man left him ‘staggering like a drunk on roller skates’ (Boxing News) in the final round of a riveting, high quality affair.
3) ‘Real Deal’ Rumbled
Las Vegas, November 1992
In one of the all-time great heavyweight fights, Evander Holyfield displayed other-worldly courage whilst conceding 30lbs and his unified titles to a young buck from Brownsville, Brooklyn named Riddick ‘Big Daddy’ Bowe, at the Thomas and Mack.
‘Commander ‘Vander’ absorbed an almighty shellacking throughout but stoically remained vertical prior to handing over his belts on a unanimous decision.
4) Darkest Night for Scottish Boxing
Glasgow, October 1995
Twenty-five year old municipal gardener James Murray paid the ultimate sacrifice in his quest to secure the British bantamweight title at the Hospitality Inn. He surrendered his life.
Ahead on all cards against defending champ Drew Docherty, the Newmains southpaw appeared to succumb to fatigue and collapsed 34 seconds from home – a fatal blood clot on his brain. Rioting fans shamed the sport by hurling chairs and bottles as he lay prostrate.
5) Up Hill for Virgil
Oberhausen, Germany, June 1997
Olympic silver medallist Virgil Hill had lost just one of 44 and had triumphed in 22 prior world light-heavyweight fights when he ventured to the Fatherland seeking to add Darius Michaelczewski’s WBO strap to the WBA and IBF belts he already possessed.
Alas, at 33, he no longer had the strength or industry to repel the Pole and dropped a clear cut decision after enduring 12 painful rounds.
6) Carl Crumbles to Kirakosyan
Barnsley, July 2007
Hammer hooking British 130lb king Carl Johanneson had won eight straight and was fresh off a 12 round slaughter of future two-weight world champion Ricky Burns when he attempted to avenge a one round loss to European champ Leva Kirakosyan.
However, the brutally powerful Armenian carved him up again, bouncing him off the canvas four times before the carnage was compassionately halted in round four.
7) ‘Oakey Kokey’ Falls Down!
Portsmouth, June 2008
Turbo charged local traveller Tony Oakey had designs on assuming permanent custody of the Lord Lonsdale Belt when he defended his British light-heavyweight title against the talented but temperamental Dean Francis at the Mountbatten Centre.
Oakey’s two fisted blizzards place him ahead on two official cards after eight rounds but a single left hook from the Basingstoke enigma brought an instant and spectacular conclusion to a memorable fight.
8) Hatton Minor Shafted
Stoke, November 2009
Matthew Hatton’s ambitions of mimicking elder brother Ricky as a world welter champion – of sorts – were unceremoniously drowned by three blind mice masquerading as judges at the Fenton Manor Sports Complex.
The ‘Magic’ man appeared to have clearly outworked defending IBO boss Lovemore Ndou, a South African fighting out of Australia, in a drab 12 rounder but the officials recorded a draw and ‘The Black Panther’ retained.
9) Webb Tangled by Spidery Man
Gillingham, May 2011
Chislehurst’s Sam Webb had conceded just once – on cuts – in 18, entering this homecoming second defence of his domestic light-middle title.
Though felled in the fifth, one judge had Webb ahead and two called the fight even entering the last round but he’d emptied his tank and 6ft 3in Droylsden challenger Prince Arron landed enough raking right hands to persuade the champ’s corner to raise the white flag 1:47 into the finale.
10) Williams Wilts to ‘Wobbly’!
London, January 2012
Streatham cruiser Leon Williams was a hot tip to retain his British crown ahead of his maiden defence against late sub Shane McPhilbin at a sweltering York Hall and everything appeared going to script when he scored a first round knockdown and bossed the next ten.
However, the nine fight novice from Bulwell, who entered to the beats of ‘Mr Blobby’, somehow summoned the spirit to topple Williams twice in the final session and relieve him of his crown with just 70 seconds left on the clock.