by Ken Hissner
Philadelphia was once known as a fighting city. Today, they have but one world champion in Danny “Swift” Garcia, 32-0 (18) who on January 23rd of this year won the vacant WBC welterweight title. Garcia was ranked No. 2 and former 2-division champion Robert “Ghost” Guerrero was ranked No. 6. What happened to No. 1, 3, 4 and 5?
With Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman’s postponement it is now scheduled for June 25th for Thurman’s WBA title while neither fighter was interested in fighting for the WBC vacant title. Porter the former IBF champion hasn’t fought since June of 2015. He passed up any elimination fight for this title. No. 1 was Amir King Kahn” Kahn who holds the WBC Silver title and is the former WBA Super world and IBF champion in the super lightweight division. He lost those titles in December of 2011 to Lamont Peterson by split decision. In his next fight July 2012 he lost to Garcia for the WBA super and WBC titles. All three judges had it even 28-28 after three rounds. In a real slugging match Garcia won by technical knockout in the 4th round having Kahn on the canvas twice. Kahn was never able to get a rematch. Though No. 1 in the WBC welterweight division Garcia’s management said they would not fight Kahn so he moved all the way up to middleweight to take on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for his WBC title May 7th.
While defending the two titles five times Garcia ran into Mauricio Herrera in Puerto Rico and won a disputed majority decision. It was Garcia’s last title defense as a super lightweight. He would then go onto win three fights in the welterweight division. First he defeated lightweight (132 in his last fight) Rod Salka. Then won by a disputed majority decision over IBF super lightweight champion Peterson with neither super lightweight titles on the line. Peterson was No. 5 welterweight when Garcia fought for vacant welterweight title after defeating Olympic Gold medalist Felix Diaz, 17-0.
Now the WBC is expected of having an elimination tourney with No. 2 Peterson fighting No. 3 Berto while No. 8 Sammy Vasquez is fighting No. 11 Cesar Miguel Barrionuevo of Argentina which may not be in stone. Don’t get me wrong Garcia can fight and may be better at 147 but has led a “charmed life” since winning his first world title. After winning over Peterson Garcia stopped former WBA World welterweight champion Paul “Magic Man” Malignaggi who like Guerrero was on the decline.
Looking at Philadelphia fighters who were the last to lose in world title fights from flyweight to heavyweight I found the following and don’t be afraid to correct me when I’m wrong since I did this on “memory” for over three hours.
Heavyweight Bryant “Bye-Bye” Jennings lost to Wladimir Klitschko by decision in April of 2015 for his three titles. In his next fight Jennings was stopped by Luis Ortiz for the interim WBA title in December of 2015. Most recent Philadelphia fighter to fight in a losing cause was Steve “USS” Cunningham who was seeking winning his third cruiserweight title but was defeated by Krzysztof Glowacki by decision for the WBO title April 16th. Cunningham last held the IBF title in October of 2011 until he lost to Yoan Pablo Hernandez then moved to heavyweight after losing the rematch to Hernandez going 4-3-1 in his eight fights before returning to cruiserweight.
At light heavyweight holding the WBA Super and IBF titles Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins lost a lopsided decision to Sergey Kovalev in November of 2014 for his two titles. At super middleweight the former champion Charles “The Hatchet” Brewer lost to Mario Veit for the interim WBO title in June of 2004. At middleweight “King” Gabe Rosado lost to Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillan for his WBO title in October of 2013. At super welterweight we have to go all the way back to March of 2002 when David Reid lost his title to Felix “Tito” Trinidad.
At welterweight Mike “MJ” Jones seemed like a sure winner fighting for the vacant IBF title before losing to former super lightweight champion Randall Bailey getting stopped in 11 rounds in June of 2012. At super lightweight “Hammerin” Hank Lundy was stopped by WBO champion Terence Crawford in five rounds in February of 2016. At lightweight we go all the way back to Charley “Choo Choo” Brown who lost his IBF title by stoppage in 14 rounds to Harry Arroyo in April of 1984.
At super featherweight Tyrone Everett lost what I call the worst decision I have ever witnessed and in person to WBC champion Alfredo “El Sasero” Escalera in of all places Philadelphia by split decision. At the beginning of April of 2016 Eric “Outlaw” Hunter was easily defeated by IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby after having the champion on the canvas in the second round.
At featherweight Rogers Mtagwa lost to Yuriorkis Gamboa for his WBA belt being stopped in the second round. At super bantamweight Teon “The Technician” Kennedy was halted in 5 rounds by champion Guillermo Rigondeaux for the WBA title in June of 2012. Going back to April of 1984 then WBA bantamweight champion “Joltin” Jeff Chandler lost his title to Richie Sandoval. It was Chandler’s first loss and last fight. If you think we’ve gone back sometime how about September of 1935 when Midget Wolgast lost to Small Montana for the NYSAC World flyweight title.