Ike is the legend that never was.
Ike "The President" Ibeabuchi has developed a cult following since his last fight in 1999. He is the greatest heavyweight champion who never was.
Ibeabuchi's career was derailed by a series of severe mental problems. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is currently serving a long jail sentence in Nevada for battery and attempted sexual assault.
While none of the following is intended to excuse his out-of-ring behavior, we will focus just on his in-ring ability.
Ibeabuchi was a force. He was rock solid, had a freakish activity rate for a heavyweight and literally looked like a brick wall when he stepped into the ring.
His first huge fight came in June of 1997 against lethal power-punching prospect and knockout artist David Tua.
Nobody before had been able to stand in there with Tua and trade power punches. But that's exactly what Ibeabuchi did. Both men sat in the pocket all night exchanging bombs. By the end of the fight, Ibeabuchi had set a heavyweight record for punches thrown, and the two combined for the record in a fight.
Ibeabuchi won a well-deserved decision that night, and three fights later, would go on to blast another undefeated fighter, future heavyweight champion Chris Byrd.
But that's where the train ran off the tracks for Ibeabuchi. It would've been interesting to see how he would've fared against the top heavyweights of his era, including Lennox Lewis and the Klistchko brothers.