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Sunday, 8 April 2012

08/04/12 Behind Bars

Floyd Mayweather, another name on the list of Boxing stars that have been sentenced to serve their time behind bars. I wanted to put together a list of Boxers that shared the same fate as the current WBC Welterweight Champion and did their time, it’s surprising when looking at this list as you stubble across former Champions and legends of the sport. From as little as a few weeks right up to several years, every ounce of time given to their cells has either, stopped, aided or become the foundation of their success in the sport.

Bernard Hopkins

One of the most famous stories in World Boxing was that of 47 year old Champion Bernard Hopkins. When at the tender age of 17, Hopkins had been caught up in crime for a while and had to learn to survive on the streets he was brought up on and surrounded by. North Philadelphia is where Hopkins was convicted and charged with nine felonies, including armed robbery, and he was sentenced to 18 years in Gaterford Prison. It was during his time behind bars that he witnessed Various attacks, rapes and even murder, but it was also where he found his passion for Boxing. After 5 years Hopkins was released with the warden telling Hopkins he would see him again, to which Hopkins famously replied “I ain’t ever coming back here.”

Sonny Liston

The Original ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ and in my opinion the scariest and most ferocious man ever to step foot in the ring. Arrested 19 times for various crimes, from Armed robbery to various assaults on police officers. Liston lead his own gang and was often referred to by police officers as the ‘yellow shirt bandit’. It was in 1950 where Liston served 2 years in prison and would find peace with the sport of Boxing, being placed in numerous sparring sessions, one fighter asked if he could leave the ring before Liston killed him. After being released on parole it was straight after that Liston left Philadelphia and went on to take the Boxing world by storm with famous encounters against the likes of Ali and Patterson and became World Champion.

Diego Corrales

One of the best Lightweight Boxers of any era and most famous for his classic encounter with Jose Castillo in 2005 and many regard one of the best fights they have ever seen. It was straight after his loss to pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather that Corrales had been sentenced to 14 months in prison after being charged with abusing his pregnant wife. But it was in 2007, exactly 2 years after writing his name in record books with his fight against Castillo that it all came to a very abrupt end, Corrales was killed in a motorcycle accident but still remembered for his dominance in the ring.

Mike Tyson

So much can be said and written about Mike Tyson but ultimately it was his life outside the ring that would eventually catch up with the former World Heavyweight Champion. Sentenced to 6 years in prison after being convicted of raping an 18 year old Beauty pageant contestant and finally released after 3 years, Tyson would Continue to battle his way back in to the mix of great Heavyweights, most famously against Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. The bad man image seemed to eventually overall the unquestionable skill and technique Tyson had in the ring, and even now writers prefer to talk about what happened outside the ring in Tyson’s personal life and less about what he had achieved in the ring.

Jack Johnson

The first black Heavyweight Champion and a man way ahead of anyone in his division. A Boxing legend that will always have his name firmly stamped in the record books, but Johnson was a man who was permanently trying to escape the clutches of the law. A life of drugs, alcohol and poverty left Johnson turning himself in after being convicted of violating the halt of interstate trafficking of prostitutes.
Regardless to Johnson’s wreck less lifestyle he will always be remembered as the man that paved the way for future World Champions.

Other Mentions

James Kirkland, imprisioned in 2003 and 2009 for armed robbery and possession of a fire arm, now one of Boxing’s hot young prospects and working his way towards a World title.

Dwight Qawi, Convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 5 years in Rahway state prison where he learned to Box. Qawi would eventually go on to win titles at Lightheavy and Crusierweight and would have an epic battle against Evander Holyfield that will never be forgotten.

Pernell Whitaker, in 1998 entered rehab after testing positive for Cocaine and in 2002 found guilty of possession of Cocaine, Whitaker is now using his incredible Boxing ability as a trainer.

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