Canada's 10 Most Exciting Boxers in Modern History
This presentation shall be prefaced by freely admitting the subjective and unscientific nature inherent in rankings and the ambiguous definition of "exciting."
Nonetheless, there are many exciting Canadian boxers that have been a source of pride to the Great White North; lamentably, they are generally unheralded by mainstream media. Here is a little something to recognize their tremendous national achievements.
This list will reflect today's generation (past 30 years) as it would be painfully pretentious for anyone living in today's era to purport how much the fighting spirit of greats such as Tommy Burns and Larry Gains impacted them, despite their amazing accomplishments. This is a tribute with no specific order—lest one interpret it as a slight.
The two-time Canadian amateur champion (33-5 amateur record) has transitioned smoothly into the professional game.
Since his pro debut in 2006, Adonis has long provided fans with what they crave, dramatic knockouts. Sixteen of his 19 pro wins have come courtesy of his devastating power. With only one loss and a steady ascent up the 168 pound ladder, Adonis is now in title contention.
With title fights looming, the Quebecer is on the verge of becoming an international star. Fans should get behind the powerful pugilist as he prepares to enter the pinnacle of his career.
Billy Irwin fought fast and hard and consistently produced electrifying performances. "The Kid's" age caught up with him in 2005, as he retired after he lost to WBA world champion Juan Diaz.
Irwin was a very fan-friendly fighter in the lightweight division. He won Canadian and Commonwealth titles and also challenged for the IBF title. The pride of Niagara Falls always challenged the division's brightest. His body shots were feared throughout the world and his impressive record of 42-6 with 30 knockouts speak well to his ability to enthrall audiences.
David Lemieux is recovering nicely from a slight slip in career progression as he brilliantly returned to his winning ways after dropping two consecutive bouts.
His record is an outstanding 27-2 with all but one of his wins coming via stoppage: 26-of-27 equates to a 96 knockout percentage. At 23, there are plenty more thrilling bouts left in the French-Canadian and many more foes yet to hit the canvass.
Hilton is another of the many great products of the Montreal boxing scene. He historically defeated the Puerto Rican icon, Wilfred Benitez en route to winning 28 consecutive fights.
He retired at 32-3 with 24 knockouts. The culmination of his illustrious career is highlighted with his winning and defending of the light middleweight world title.
His contests were dramatic with high punch outputs, filled with his famous ripping left hooks that kept the fans gleefully delighted. Not only were his fights exciting, each minute of every pressure-filled round was thrilling. The hard-hitting Hilton earned his way on to this list for his in-the-ring performances and undeniable accolades as a pugilist.
Otis Grant was a source of profound national pride when he went up in weight to challenge one of the greatest athletes in human history, Roy Jones. "Magic" performed more than admirably and even produced some of the most competitive rounds of Roy's career at that time.
Fans love a winner, and win is what Grant did 38 times (38-3-1) and the slick southpaw did so in electrifying fashion displaying his boxing brilliance. Grant's talent won him many titles in his career including: NABF, WBO, Canadian, WBC International and is undoubtedly one of Canada's greatest all-time athletes.
Logan McGuinness is a name worth knowing and definitely a fighter worth watching.
Canada's hottest rising pugilist has produced an anthology of epic triumphs over the past five years. The undefeated star has won NABA titles in both the lightweight and super featherweight divisions.
The champ is next fighting in Montreal on Dec. 14 against a very game Dominican in what is certain to be another thrilling chapter in Logan's young but storied career.
His wins over Daniel Ruiz and Meacher Major are hidden classics to most sports fans that are comparable to any Fight of the Year nomination. "Cotton," once given the opportunity, will make a new fan out of any viewer and is the catalyst for a boxing revival in Ontario.
In a rare instance of mainstream media support, Donny Lalonde became Canada's golden boy as he prepared to face the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard; he did not disappoint. Despite getting stopped in the ninth, Donny gave the nation a roller coaster of emotions.
Lalonde dropped Ray in the forth with a cracking right hand and looked as if he could have finished him then. He retired with 50 pro fights and a more than respectable record of 44-5-1. The boxing world remembers him fondly for his chin, heart, pressure and golden locks.
This dynamic, 38 (29 knockouts)-5-1, heavyweight was a throwback to boxing's glory days for his creed.
While today's generation does not believe in the best fighting the best, "Razor" took on everybody. Tommy Morrison, Tyson twice, Lennox Lewis et al. He challenged the best and went out on his shield when he lost. Win or lose, he gave his all and no one ever felt cheated by enjoying the privilege of watching a Donovan Ruddock fight.
Lewis was a polarizing figure often criticized for his return to his birthplace of the United Kingdom after winning the gold medal for Canada in 1988. Regardless, he is a Canadian and was a very exciting fighter. His stellar record of 44 wins against only two losses—both of which he avenged—speaks to his laudable legacy.
Lewis retired as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and earned that distinction in impressive fashion—via 32 knockouts. He is, in fact, one of the most dominant heavyweight champions of all time in an era rich with talent in the most prestigious division.
Raised in Montreal's mean streets, Arturo Gatti transcends conventional concepts of heart and grit.
The legendary "Thunder" has inspired millions with his physical expression of what incredible feats human will is capable of conjuring. Gatti has earned international recognition for his boxing performances and makes one that much prouder to say they too are Canadian.
He will be remembered for more than his four Fight of the Year awards but for what he proved about human resiliency. The next time you doubt yourself and your abilities watch the ninth round of Gatti-Ward 1. Thank you and RIP.
Each and every one of these athletes deserves to be commended for their contribution to the Canadian identity and for being a source of pride to the nation and to humanity.
They demonstrate the strength and infinite power of the human spirit. Many are either forgotten or under appreciated for their achievements. Regardless, their accomplishments are forever enshrined with honour for posterity.
Hopefully, future generations of boxers will be credited with the support and recognition they deserve. Please share your favourite memories of these legends and add those whom I have omitted.