He has been an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame since 2001 and is also a writer, researcher and punch-counter for CompuBox, Inc. Gene Fullmer, American boxer (born July 21, 1931, West Jordan, Utah—died April 27, 2015, Taylorsville, Utah), battered his way into the world middleweight championship twice (1957, 1959–62), besting Sugar Ray Robinson to win the crown the first time. Fullmer was 83. And, of course, we got in and had a few exchanges which we come out about even, but when we were at a distance at all, he’d go to throw a punch and I’d just barely move out of the way and then I’d stick him and stick him and stick him. Fernandez staged an inspired surge in the final rounds but Fullmer’s early lead was enough for him to retain his title. The Utah native and devout Mormon turned pro in 1951 and six years later met the legendary Robinson at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). But just before the midway point in round five, Robinson nailed Fullmer coming in with what is now known as “The Perfect Punch,” – a hair-trigger hook to the jaw that sent the champion stumbling backward before hitting the floor. Fullmer lost the title in 1962 to Dick Tiger of Nigeria. Fullmer was born July 21, 1931 in West Jordan, Utah and began boxing after his father, Tuff, brought Gene and his younger brothers, Don and Jay, to a gym run by longtime Utah politician and boxing manager Marv Jenson. In 1959, Fullmer regained the vacated title by beating Carmen Basilio. In between matches in the 1950s, he worked for his father in a Utah copper mine. Fullmer started his professional career in 1951 and won his first 11 fights by knockout. Fullmer began his professional career in 1951 and won his first 29 fights, 19 by knockout. Fullmer remained active in retirement as he coached young fighters, refereed a handful of fights between 1967 and 1990 (most notably the Bob Foster-Al Bolden fight in Sept. 1976) and made frequent appearances at the IBHOF’s Induction Weekend. In 1960, he received the Edward J. Neil Award for Fighter of the Year. Lee Groves is a boxing writer and historian based in Friendly, W.Va. The actress also starred in “Erin Brokovich,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “Mystic Pizza.”, Sister Ardeth Platte, nun who served time for protesting nuclear weapons, dies at 84. The controversy prompted a fourth meeting and, this time, Fullmer nearly scored a knockout in the third round before pounding out a 15-round unanimous decision. Dean, who helped San Francisco win two Super Bowls, was 68. … He was always a gentleman and never spoke ill of any of his opponents.”. Rhonda Fleming, an actress and singer who starred opposite such leading men as Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster and Ronald Reagan, has died at 97. Check your inbox or spam folder to confirm your subscription. The closeness of the rematch led to a third fight, this time in Tiger’s native Nigeria for the WBA and now the WBC belt. His brutally physical ring style powered Fullmer to a 55-6-3 (24) record during a 12-year-career that saw him defeat Sugar Ray Robinson (twice), Carmen Basilio (twice), Paul Pender, Gil Turner (twice), Rocky Castellani, Ralph “Tiger” Jones (twice), Charles Humez, Chico Vejar, Ellsworth “Spider” Webb (twice), Florentino Fernandez and Benny “Kid” Paret while closing out his career by going 0-2-1 against fellow Hall-of-Famer Dick Tiger. Get all the day's most vital news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning. Instead, Fullmer scored a knockdown in the seventh round, leaving a cut over Robinson’s left eye. He is the author of “Tales from the Vault: A Celebration of 100 Boxing Closet Classics.” To order, please visit Amazon.com or email the author at [email protected] to arrange for autographed copies. Fullmer had a brawling style of boxing and was known for his near imperviousness to his opponents’ attacks.

Assistant Editor, Encyclopaedia Britannica.

He made seven successful defenses of the title, including a 1960 rematch with Basilio and two fights against Robinson, one of which ended in a draw and the other in a unanimous decision. Fullmer began his professional career in 1951 and won his first 29 fights, 19 by knockout. A member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Fullmer died Monday in Taylorsville, Utah. The effects of the blow were too much for Fullmer to recover from and referee Frank Sikora counted 10 over Fullmer for what would be the only time in his career. At 96, Roberta McCain became the Republican senator’s secret weapon on the campaign trail. “Even in training camp, I trained to slug. He is only one of two men ever to defeat Robinson twice in championship fights (Pender was the other) and his first fight with Basilio was named THE RING’s “Fight of the Year” in 1959. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. His manager during many years of his career was his mentor, Marv Jenson, who encouraged many youth in West Jordan, Utah, to enter boxing as amateurs. “I want him to be remembered as a gentleman and someone who loved the sport, but he loved people, too,” his nephew said. She has a B.A. Golden Age actress and singer Rhonda Fleming has died at 97. Fullmer met Robinson for the middleweight title on Jan. 2, 1957 at Madison Square Garden, stopping the iron-chinned Basilio in 14 rounds, Fullmer stopped Basilio again, this time in 12 rounds. Your destination for the best boxing news, videos and live streams! His stocky, powerful opponent was declared the victor in a sizable upset and claimed the middleweight title. All rights reserved. But once the action began, it became clear that Fullmer’s unorthodox swarming was the antidote to Sugar Ray’s peerless technique. Gene Fullmer, right, delivers a blow to Sugar Ray Robinson in 1961. By the final round, Robinson’s face was streaked with blood. Following a third-round KO over Moses Ward in a tune-up, Fullmer met Robinson for the middleweight title on Jan. 2, 1957 at Madison Square Garden. Fullmer went on to avenge that loss twice over by winning a unanimous decision in his very next fight, then a split nod six fights later. with a double major in Spanish and in theatre arts from Ripon College.

“I was careless,” Fullmer later told reporters. He is a full member of the BWAA, from which he has won 13 writing awards, including 10 in the last five years and two first-place awards since 2011. I never knew what happened after that.”. Conchata Ferrell, the insult-slinging Berta of ‘Two and a Half Men,’ dies at 77, “Two and a Half Men” star Conchata Ferrell has died at 77. Gene died later that day. At 25, he was considered a decent challenger but was not favored to win the match against the stylish, 36-year-old “Prince of Harlem.”. Fullmer was a rough-hewn battler, a mauler and a brawler. This time Fullmer was a robust 3 1/2-to-1 favorite and, through the first four rounds, he showed why as his ruggedness carried the action. Named the Boxing Writers Assn.