Grit, determination and unshakeable will came together into one helluva fighter
Joe Gans, also known as the Old Master, was a Black American professional boxer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters in the history of the lightweight division. Born on November 25, 1874, in Baltimore, Maryland, Gans was the first Black American to win a world boxing championship and the first to win a lightweight boxing title. Gans’ achievements not only set new records but also gave Black Americans hope in the early twentieth century.
Despite facing the blatant systemic racism that permeated every aspect of society in the U.S. at the time, Gans emerged victorious and became a lasting symbol of resilience and perseverance. He was known for his skill, speed, and agility in the ring, and his legacy continues to inspire and influence boxers and fans around the world. Gans’ contributions to the sport of boxing and to the Black community are a testament to his strength and determination, and his story serves as a reminder of the power of perseverance.
Other Notable Lightweights
Sam Langford, another Black fighter from turn of the century U.S., is widely regarded as the greatest fighter p4p of all time. Even with a fatal chronic disease, Gans was a dominator at lightweight and fought men in multiple divisions. But even so, his record didn’t surpass Langford’s, who was just as treacherous to lightweights as he was to heavyweights.
Pernell Whitaker was another incredibly talented Black American lightweight fighter. He became the undisputed lightweight champion and lineal welterweight championship, as well as capturing other titles at junior welterweight and junior middleweight. Whitaker was a slick southpaw with devastating knockout power he was somehow able to carry through four different weight classes at a time when every division was overflowing with talent. Whitaker took very little punishment throughout his star-studded career and silenced many world champions, earning himself illustrious training positions post-retirement.
The Next Great Lightweight
Although the chances of anyone reaching the pinnacles set forth by Joe Gans, Sam Langford, Pernell Whitaker and others is astronomically low, the next elite lightweight with the potential to be a special fighter is undoubtedly Devin Haney. He’s currently the undisputed champion of the lightweights, holding all the world championship belts in boxing’s glamour division. Haney is so skilled that few other lightweights would dare risk a match with him, even though a win over him would prove invaluable to their career. But it wouldn’t be easy.
Haney is a throwback fighter; in an era with so many belts that many of the biggest names in the sport might never face each other, Haney captured all the belts at 135 lbs. Although some sources attempted to obfuscate the skill, preparation and determination it takes to accomplish such a feat in the talent-laden lightweight division these days, such parlor tricks have now been revealed. Haney is set to fight the Ukrainian former champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko 17(11)-2-0.
It’s too soon to tell whether Haney’s career will be as impressive as the legendary lightweights of boxing history, but he’s sure off to a good start.
Do you think Devin Haney will carry his power with him to higher weight divisions? Let us know in the comments.
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