UnderGround Forums Greatest heavyweight boxer to never win a title?

11 days ago
11/1/03
Posts: 20508
JOB -
graciesrule - 
JOB - 

David Tua for me has to be up there. The guy was a case of the right guy for the wrong time. He beat multiple former or future heavyweight champions in Ruiz, Rahman, Maskaev and Moorer. Excluding the tail-end of his career, he had one of the highest KO percentages in the history of the HW division with a left hook that would make Joe Frazier proud. 

When the time finally came for him to get a title shot, he was unfortunate to have to fight Lennox Lewis for the title. There were much lesser champions in the 90's/early 00's that Tua could have easily beaten to become world champion, but Lewis was a master of his craft and beating him was a tough ask for anyone. Ultimately, he never won a title but had his opponents come at a different time in his career, he could have been a multiple time world champ. 

 

 

 

Ike Ibeabuchi is a very big what if in boxing. Ended his career with a perfect 20-0 record before being arrested. He beat David Tua in a close back and forth war of attrition. The final fight of his career - he beat Chris Byrd from pillar to post, but went to prison shortly after and we never really got to see him against some of the other big players of the time like Tyson, Lewis or Holyfield. I've no doubt that if he stayed out of trouble he could have very well been world champ. 

 

 

 

Jerry Quarry is another case of the right guy in the wrong time. Jerry fought in one of the the strongest heavyweight divisions in history with the likes of Ali, Frazier and Foreman ruling the roost. The guy had relentless pressure with an iron chin. He has wins over Ron Lyle and Earnie Shavers, two of the hardest hitters in boxing along with a win over former champ Floyd Patterson.  He was a little small for the division, regularly fighting at under 200lbs and cut easily. Probably his only downfall. 

 

 

 

Ken Norton - This one might be a confusing choice for most boxing fans. Ken Norton never won a world title. It sounds strange to hear it, but it's true. He held a world title, but never won it. He was awarded a title after Leon Spinks was stripped of WBC belt, having won an eliminator fight with Jimmy Young. But he never beat a champion for one. I can't think of anyone who gave Muhammad Ali more trouble over his career (with perhaps the exception of Joe Frazier) than Ken Norton. He arguably beat Muhammad Ali and gave a prime Larry Holmes hell in their fight losing a split decision that nobody would have argued if it went Norton's way. It could be said he was often fighting the judges more than his opponent. 

 

 

Who else do you think should be on the list? 


Norton beat Ali and broke his jaw so nothing is arguable.

Jimmy Young who was for a time no.1 contender behind Ali

Ernie Shavers

Um, no. He didn't beat Ali for the title. Which is the premise of this thread. He broke Ali's jaw in their first fight, which was not for a world title.

The actual title fight is the one that he arguably beat Ali, but lost on the scorecards.

Jimmy Young with solid wins and performances was a good contender and I considered putting his name up there, but his career was very hit and miss overall with an accumulation of losses. That's why I sided on leaving him out of the list.

Young had some great preformances against Ali and Forman but was a light hitter which is not fan friendly. Up and down career but def could of been a champ.

11 days ago
7/17/17
Posts: 40
jpm995 -

Can't remenber his name but there was a Mexican middleweight i think who was set for a title shot but raped a young girl [may have be consentual] and went to jail,. He got out but was too old to win a title but was still good. He had big power and speed. I think he was a shue in for the title. Googled him, Tony Alaya Jr, was wrong was a forced rape of a school teacher, got 35 years, served 16 then resumed career won 5 in a row then lost to Yuri boy Campos then breaks into an apt, with 2 women who shot him. Before trial he wins another fight wearing an ankle bracelet and gets 10 years probation. Four years later back to jail for drugs and od's at 52. Guy was a monster in the ring.

Yes, Tony was on the road to greatness. Great loss that we never saw him vs Hagler, Hearns, Leonard, etc. Loose cannon though. I remember seeing him spit on a downed opponent once, in a televised fight. Not cool...

 

 Met his brother Mike once in a NYC bar prior to his loss to Danny Lopez. He was super cool and happy to talk boxing. (He was with a buddy and wasn't drinking). Later I met him again at the Felt Forum after he beat Enrique Solis. He remembered me and we had a brief chat. Tony was already in trouble. I told him I wished him and his brother the best, and he kind of shrugged, like.... What are you gonna do? 

11 days ago
7/17/17
Posts: 41
Bobby Lupo -

Andrew Golota should have held 2 belts. He beat Ruiz and Byrd and got jobbed by Don King's judges. 

IF, and it's a huge if, Golota wasn't a mental case, he would have been the best of his generation. He had a brutal jab, huge power, clean fundamentals, and a killer instinct. A non-crazy Golota would have had a decade of dominaton. 

He's the GOAT gym fighter. But he gets panic attacks when the light go on and he has to fight in front of an audience. 

I think Tyson fractured his neck with a right hand in their fight.

11 days ago
7/17/17
Posts: 42
buddie -
boxingman - so many


harry wills
joe jennette
sam mcvey


sam langford
george godfrey

joe chowinski(mispelled

elmer "violent " ray

etc etc


and if nikoali korolev if he could have ever turned pro

Awesome post.  How about Markovic?  He was tall and gave a prime Lennox one hell of a fight.  He was very awkward, herky jerky but tough as nails.  I think he got really sick after the Lewis fight.  Sam Langford might have given Dempsey a fight. But he was only 5'7 and fought as a true lightweight early on. Dempsey wasn't really big (between 160- 178 at his best). But he was a real puncher. 

 

How about Billy Conn? He was as close to toppling Louis as you can get and he would have changed history if he didn't get greedy.   He was a great fighter, but like Bob Foster, he was great below hw. 

Conn to Louis: "if I would have won, I could have held the title for six months, we could have had a rematch and made a lot of money".

Louis: "You couldn't hold the title for fifteen rounds, what makes you think you'd hold it for six months?"

 

 (Or something like that).

10 days ago
1/12/05
Posts: 62833

Quarry was an absolute savage. Imagine Canelo fighting in the greatest era in HW boxing against the top dogs. That's Jerry fucking Quarry. 

10 days ago
1/22/05
Posts: 22624
Bobby Lupo -

Andrew Golota should have held 2 belts. He beat Ruiz and Byrd and got jobbed by Don King's judges. 

IF, and it's a huge if, Golota wasn't a mental case, he would have been the best of his generation. He had a brutal jab, huge power, clean fundamentals, and a killer instinct. A non-crazy Golota would have had a decade of dominaton. 

He's the GOAT gym fighter. But he gets panic attacks when the light go on and he has to fight in front of an audience. 

Good choice. He gave Riddick Bowe a run for his money, and if he had of had his head in the game he could have beaten him. But I am hesitant to put him up there because his failings are on him, whereas someone like Tua who beat multiple future or former world champs just didn't succeed because he fought the right guys at the wrong time. 

It's easy for me to say though, having panic attacks and shit in a fight isn't something you really have control over.

10 days ago
1/22/05
Posts: 22627
Ty for the blue whoever that was! <3
10 days ago
1/12/05
Posts: 62835

I think the Ike-Tua fight broke both guys. Tua was elite coming into that fight, just crushing guys like Tyson (I'd favor Tua over 90s Tyson) and then The President pulled a Buster Douglas on him. It was supposed to be a showcase fight for HBO, the Tua people declined Corrie Sanders and Larry Donald as opponents and picked Ike because they thought he'd be easier to deal with that a bander like Sanders or a slickster like Donald. The announcers had never heard of Ike. Great fight. I can't believe they walked out of there. I had it as a draw, but Ike was more impressive. 

Tua never fully regained his status after that fight. He beat some tough/top-ish guys, but he never seemed like THE guy. Lennox would have beaten just about any HW who ever lived that night, and every boxing fan who imagined Tua struggling with a tall, rangy fighter saw it play out and Tua fare worse than expected when he started coasting and accepting his fate. 

Tua's still better than most on this list because he actually did the business in the ring and we don't have to extrapolate what would have happened if wasn't crazy or drug addicted or a drunk like a bunch of others on this list. 

Gerry Cooney crushed a lot of tough fighters from a tough era: Norton, Young, Lyle, but is remembered for his Holmes loss, which was a better showing than Tua's Lennox performance, but a futile effort. Fans forget that Cooney was a 6'6" HW with all time top 10 power and he could box. 

So, how would Cooney-Tua play out? I think I like Cooney in that matchup due to size/skill plus his ability to bang back with Tua. 

10 days ago
1/10/13
Posts: 7091
Bobby Lupo -

I think the Ike-Tua fight broke both guys. Tua was elite coming into that fight, just crushing guys like Tyson (I'd favor Tua over 90s Tyson) and then The President pulled a Buster Douglas on him. It was supposed to be a showcase fight for HBO, the Tua people declined Corrie Sanders and Larry Donald as opponents and picked Ike because they thought he'd be easier to deal with that a bander like Sanders or a slickster like Donald. The announcers had never heard of Ike. Great fight. I can't believe they walked out of there. I had it as a draw, but Ike was more impressive. 

Tua never fully regained his status after that fight. He beat some tough/top-ish guys, but he never seemed like THE guy. Lennox would have beaten just about any HW who ever lived that night, and every boxing fan who imagined Tua struggling with a tall, rangy fighter saw it play out and Tua fare worse than expected when he started coasting and accepting his fate. 

Tua's still better than most on this list because he actually did the business in the ring and we don't have to extrapolate what would have happened if wasn't crazy or drug addicted or a drunk like a bunch of others on this list. 

Gerry Cooney crushed a lot of tough fighters from a tough era: Norton, Young, Lyle, but is remembered for his Holmes loss, which was a better showing than Tua's Lennox performance, but a futile effort. Fans forget that Cooney was a 6'6" HW with all time top 10 power and he could box. 

So, how would Cooney-Tua play out? I think I like Cooney in that matchup due to size/skill plus his ability to bang back with Tua. 

 Tua got exposed by Ike, Oleg and Hasim with boxing skills. He was slow of foot which hurt him trying to close distances. If he could land though......  Ike ate some serious bombs from Tua, I was in awe. I forget if it was after the 10th or 11th round Tua was badly rocked at the bell and staggered to his corner. I dont know if the TV caught it or not. By far the greatest heavyweight fight I've witnessed in person.

10 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 3132
newbie2013 - 

 

This guy would of had a shot.


Yes he would
10 days ago
1/12/05
Posts: 62836
boxing wiz - 
Bobby Lupo -

I think the Ike-Tua fight broke both guys. Tua was elite coming into that fight, just crushing guys like Tyson (I'd favor Tua over 90s Tyson) and then The President pulled a Buster Douglas on him. It was supposed to be a showcase fight for HBO, the Tua people declined Corrie Sanders and Larry Donald as opponents and picked Ike because they thought he'd be easier to deal with that a bander like Sanders or a slickster like Donald. The announcers had never heard of Ike. Great fight. I can't believe they walked out of there. I had it as a draw, but Ike was more impressive. 

Tua never fully regained his status after that fight. He beat some tough/top-ish guys, but he never seemed like THE guy. Lennox would have beaten just about any HW who ever lived that night, and every boxing fan who imagined Tua struggling with a tall, rangy fighter saw it play out and Tua fare worse than expected when he started coasting and accepting his fate. 

Tua's still better than most on this list because he actually did the business in the ring and we don't have to extrapolate what would have happened if wasn't crazy or drug addicted or a drunk like a bunch of others on this list. 

Gerry Cooney crushed a lot of tough fighters from a tough era: Norton, Young, Lyle, but is remembered for his Holmes loss, which was a better showing than Tua's Lennox performance, but a futile effort. Fans forget that Cooney was a 6'6" HW with all time top 10 power and he could box. 

So, how would Cooney-Tua play out? I think I like Cooney in that matchup due to size/skill plus his ability to bang back with Tua. 

 Tua got exposed by Ike, Oleg and Hasim with boxing skills. He was slow of foot which hurt him trying to close distances. If he could land though......  Ike ate some serious bombs from Tua, I was in awe. I forget if it was after the 10th or 11th round Tua was badly rocked at the bell and staggered to his corner. I dont know if the TV caught it or not. By far the greatest heavyweight fight I've witnessed in person.


I remember him looking dead in his corner between rounds late in the fight, like unable to hold his arms up. And then he came out and Ike jumped all over him. DIdn't that happen in the Tua-Rahman fight too? I'm getting old. 

10 days ago
1/10/13
Posts: 7093
Bobby Lupo -
boxing wiz - 
Bobby Lupo -

I think the Ike-Tua fight broke both guys. Tua was elite coming into that fight, just crushing guys like Tyson (I'd favor Tua over 90s Tyson) and then The President pulled a Buster Douglas on him. It was supposed to be a showcase fight for HBO, the Tua people declined Corrie Sanders and Larry Donald as opponents and picked Ike because they thought he'd be easier to deal with that a bander like Sanders or a slickster like Donald. The announcers had never heard of Ike. Great fight. I can't believe they walked out of there. I had it as a draw, but Ike was more impressive. 

Tua never fully regained his status after that fight. He beat some tough/top-ish guys, but he never seemed like THE guy. Lennox would have beaten just about any HW who ever lived that night, and every boxing fan who imagined Tua struggling with a tall, rangy fighter saw it play out and Tua fare worse than expected when he started coasting and accepting his fate. 

Tua's still better than most on this list because he actually did the business in the ring and we don't have to extrapolate what would have happened if wasn't crazy or drug addicted or a drunk like a bunch of others on this list. 

Gerry Cooney crushed a lot of tough fighters from a tough era: Norton, Young, Lyle, but is remembered for his Holmes loss, which was a better showing than Tua's Lennox performance, but a futile effort. Fans forget that Cooney was a 6'6" HW with all time top 10 power and he could box. 

So, how would Cooney-Tua play out? I think I like Cooney in that matchup due to size/skill plus his ability to bang back with Tua. 

 Tua got exposed by Ike, Oleg and Hasim with boxing skills. He was slow of foot which hurt him trying to close distances. If he could land though......  Ike ate some serious bombs from Tua, I was in awe. I forget if it was after the 10th or 11th round Tua was badly rocked at the bell and staggered to his corner. I dont know if the TV caught it or not. By far the greatest heavyweight fight I've witnessed in person.


I remember him looking dead in his corner between rounds late in the fight, like unable to hold his arms up. And then he came out and Ike jumped all over him. DIdn't that happen in the Tua-Rahman fight too? I'm getting old. 

He came back from being way behind to KO Rahman, as well as Oleg znd David Izon(ritei). Don't forget Chris Byrd embarrassed him badly by decision. I think Byrd might have even hurt him to the body at one point. Tua was a monster puncher, but was very limited. He lacked the speed and footwork that Tyson had which gave him the openings to use his power. Tua too often was unable to unload his power. He was a monster, but had some serious flaws.

10 days ago
3/12/15
Posts: 3602

Ken Norton was world champ but he never won a world title fight

Shavers

Young

Quarry

A lot of top guys in the 70s would’ve easily been world champs under today’s multi letter belt system 

10 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 15104
boxing wiz -
Bobby Lupo -
boxing wiz - 
Bobby Lupo -

I think the Ike-Tua fight broke both guys. Tua was elite coming into that fight, just crushing guys like Tyson (I'd favor Tua over 90s Tyson) and then The President pulled a Buster Douglas on him. It was supposed to be a showcase fight for HBO, the Tua people declined Corrie Sanders and Larry Donald as opponents and picked Ike because they thought he'd be easier to deal with that a bander like Sanders or a slickster like Donald. The announcers had never heard of Ike. Great fight. I can't believe they walked out of there. I had it as a draw, but Ike was more impressive. 

Tua never fully regained his status after that fight. He beat some tough/top-ish guys, but he never seemed like THE guy. Lennox would have beaten just about any HW who ever lived that night, and every boxing fan who imagined Tua struggling with a tall, rangy fighter saw it play out and Tua fare worse than expected when he started coasting and accepting his fate. 

Tua's still better than most on this list because he actually did the business in the ring and we don't have to extrapolate what would have happened if wasn't crazy or drug addicted or a drunk like a bunch of others on this list. 

Gerry Cooney crushed a lot of tough fighters from a tough era: Norton, Young, Lyle, but is remembered for his Holmes loss, which was a better showing than Tua's Lennox performance, but a futile effort. Fans forget that Cooney was a 6'6" HW with all time top 10 power and he could box. 

So, how would Cooney-Tua play out? I think I like Cooney in that matchup due to size/skill plus his ability to bang back with Tua. 

 Tua got exposed by Ike, Oleg and Hasim with boxing skills. He was slow of foot which hurt him trying to close distances. If he could land though......  Ike ate some serious bombs from Tua, I was in awe. I forget if it was after the 10th or 11th round Tua was badly rocked at the bell and staggered to his corner. I dont know if the TV caught it or not. By far the greatest heavyweight fight I've witnessed in person.


I remember him looking dead in his corner between rounds late in the fight, like unable to hold his arms up. And then he came out and Ike jumped all over him. DIdn't that happen in the Tua-Rahman fight too? I'm getting old. 

He came back from being way behind to KO Rahman, as well as Oleg znd David Izon(ritei). Don't forget Chris Byrd embarrassed him badly by decision. I think Byrd might have even hurt him to the body at one point. Tua was a monster puncher, but was very limited. He lacked the speed and footwork that Tyson had which gave him the openings to use his power. Tua too often was unable to unload his power. He was a monster, but had some serious flaws.

I was disappointed in the effort Tua gave against Lennox.  The fight favored Lewis in almost every way but Tua appeared resigned to losing.  He was not in his best shape or even close and his game plan was subpar.  Lennox had questions about his chin at the time and Tua was a monster hitter. he didn't do much to try to crouch and work inside.  Again, it was a tall order but he didn't give his best effort imo. I really wish we could have seen Tua and Tyson fight.  

10 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 15105

Btw great thread 

10 days ago
1/12/05
Posts: 62838

Maskaev was a beastly puncher and fought some wars, but if he spent more time in the gym and less time in the liquor store on Kings Highway, he could have gone further. 

I believe that Corrie Sanders could have beaten Vitali if he gave half a fuck about boxing. Not many guys could take his power and he seemed to hit dudes when they didn't know it was coming. But he was the champ, so it doesn't count. 

10 days ago
1/10/13
Posts: 7102

Michael Moorer and John Ruiz were both World Champions, and combined couldn't last 60 seconds with Tua. Somethings just don't seem right

9 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 15108
boxing wiz -

Michael Moorer and John Ruiz were both World Champions, and combined couldn't last 60 seconds with Tua. Somethings just don't seem right

Well you know boxing so you know that more than any other sport boxing performance is highly dependent on where a fighter is mentally.  Styles make fights. Ruiz "improved" a lot after the Tua fight and went from being a decent boxer puncher to a tactically ugly, bump, hold and make-a-fight-ugly awkward and frustrating fighter. He didn't win many fans but he beat a lot of talented people that way because no one had a good answer for it for a while.  

Moorer had a sulking idgaf demeanor much of his career and you can't afford to be anything but on point especially early against a puncher like Tua. He could have given a much better account of himself if he applied himself.  He was such a talented fighter.  Very technically brilliant among modern  hws if you ask me.  

9 days ago
1/1/01
Posts: 26762

george chuvalo. one of the hardest hitters outside foreman and also canadian champion and world challenger. 

9 days ago
1/10/13
Posts: 7106
buddie -
boxing wiz -

Michael Moorer and John Ruiz were both World Champions, and combined couldn't last 60 seconds with Tua. Somethings just don't seem right

Well you know boxing so you know that more than any other sport boxing performance is highly dependent on where a fighter is mentally.  Styles make fights. Ruiz "improved" a lot after the Tua fight and went from being a decent boxer puncher to a tactically ugly, bump, hold and make-a-fight-ugly awkward and frustrating fighter. He didn't win many fans but he beat a lot of talented people that way because no one had a good answer for it for a while.  

Moorer had a sulking idgaf demeanor much of his career and you can't afford to be anything but on point especially early against a puncher like Tua. He could have given a much better account of himself if he applied himself.  He was such a talented fighter.  Very technically brilliant among modern  hws if you ask me.  

 You're spot on, Ruiz became a dirty grinding brawler. His strategy was to smother the skills guys and not allow them to use skills. I hated him and his garbage trainer. 

 Moorer was a very good technical boxer. He definately was a headcase. I was in Reno when he fought Mike Evans just before he fought Holyfield the first time. I didnt think he'd have a prayer to win the belt. He just seemed like he was going through the motions. I was ringside in Sac when he cameback from the Foreman loss against Melvin Foster, and he agai n looked mentally out of it. His talent was incredible, but his chin and focus were really poor.