The middleweight division marks roughly the halfway point between the smallest and largest combatants in boxing. Middleweights are still large enough to seem like full-grown men, yet small enough to still be quick. And it’s a division with a boatload of history behind it.
For some reason the middleweight division is also home to an inordinate amount of controversial and tragic characters. It’s as if so many of these medium-sized men were doomed to make history in the wrong ways.
Despite clearly carving a niche among the greatest fighters the sport has ever seen, Harry Greb was known for his between-fight reveling. Greb was a boxing god in the 1920s, a decade when boxing surely became religion. In 1926 Greb met an early end following what should have been a routine surgery. It rocked boxing to its core.
The following year, Greb’s conqueror Tiger Flowers similarly died following a routine surgery. Dubbed “The Georgia Deacon,” Flowers was a deeply religious character and at 34 was gearing up to make a final stab at a world title. But he’s not where this apparent curse began.
Decades earlier a fighter called Charles “Kid” McCoy held the middleweight title and became known for various antics and tricks, even if some of his reputation was puffed up. What he got into after his career ended, however, wasn’t hyperbole. In 1924 McCoy was convicted of murder, robbery and more before taking his own life in 1940.
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