Monday, May 26, 2014
RIP Matthew Saad Muhammad!
One of the many reasons why I love boxing passed away on Sunday. This man was one of the many reasons why boxing was so much fun in the 1980's.
Legendary Philadelphia, PA light heavyweight, former world champion and International Boxing Hall of Famer Matthew Saad Muhammad died Sunday of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclorosis or Lou Gehrig's Disease. He was 59.
Mr. Muhammad, who started boxing under the name Matthew Franklin, fought from 1974-1992. During the late 70's and early 80's, he was part of a HUGE renaissance in the light heavyweight division along with boxers like Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Mike Rossman, Marvin Johnson, Yaqui Lopez and James Scott, just to name a few. Matthew Saad Muhammad defined the term "all-action fighter" during that time period as he threw punches seemingly from the moment he came out of the dressing room.
Mr. Muhammad won the WBC Light Heavyweight title on April 22, 1979 at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, IN scoring an eighth-round TKO over Marvin Johnson. The Ring voted the final round of that contest the Round of the Year.
The fourth defense of his title -- a 14th round TKO over Yaqui Lopez on July 13, 1980 at the Great Gorge Playboy Club in McAfee, NJ -- was voted the Bout of the Year by The Ring.
In all, Mr. Muhammad would defend his title nine times before losing it to the Baltimore-born Dwight Muhammad Qawi via 10th round TKO on December 19, 1981 in Atlantic City, NJ. Qawi won the rematch on August 7, 1982 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA.
So why is Matthew Saad Muhammad getting space here? Well, one, he was one of my all-time favorite boxers. Two, he fought five times in the Beltway region, including the last three bouts of his career.
Mr. Muhammad's seventh pro fight took place at the Alexandria Roller Rink in Alexandria, VA on October 22, 1974 where he won a second-round TKO over DC boxer "Smokey" Joe Middleton. This was the second bout between these two men. Muhammad stopped Middleton in the fifth round exactly five months earlier.
On February 13, 1976, Muhammad won a 10-round unanimous decision over Cleveland, OH's Harold Carter at the Painters Mill Theatre in Baltimore, MD.
By the time Mr. Muhammad returned to the Beltway in 1991, he was well past his prime. On October 5 of that year, he lost a eight-round majority decision to Michael Green who had a 2-1 record at that time.
Just 24 days later, he would face 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist and Beltway Boxing legend Andrew Maynard at the Washington Convention Center in DC and lose by third-round TKO. This was on the undercard of the infamous Riddick Bowe-Elijah Tillery contest.
Mr. Muhammad's final bout would be on March 21, 1992 at the Colonial Theatre in Fredericksburg, VA where he would lose by second-round TKO to Jason Waller.
Matthew Saad Muhammad (49-16-3, 35 KO's) had a very hard life early on and his punching style made things very difficult for his opponents. He also made boxing very easy to enjoy.