Big bluffs in the history of the maximums

Some boxers make it to the upper floors despite low expectations and then shock the world by revealing themselves as champions. Others rouse the public's enthusiasm and declare themselves new champions, only to melt away like snow in the sun. 

We're dealing with them today, with a focus on the top tier: who were the biggest bluffs among the heavyweights? Here are four characters who deceived their fans before collapsing in the litmus test.

Leon Spinks

Photo: pinterest

After his first half-mistake of his professional career, a draw against the not-invincible Scott LeDoux, it was clear that Spinks lacked the stigmata of a champion. When the American, a gold medalist at the Montreal Olympics with a record of 178 wins and seven losses as an amateur, was pitted against our own Alfio Righetti to see who would challenge Muhammad Ali for the title of greatest, many people picked the Italian.

Spinks, on the other hand, won the points and earned the chance to make history: an Ali in total decline agreed to a sword match, and at the end of 15 fiery shots, he was crowned emperor of the maximums. 

The feeling that Spinks was destined to become a new big name in the category, however, did not last long: in the rematch, the old Ali was enough to take the title away from him, and a string of defeats, including one against the Italian Angelo Musone, highlighted the US' inadequacy at certain levels.

Herbie Hide


The "Dancing Destroyer" possessed incredible strength and an unheard-of level of leg speed, qualities that enabled him to return home and earn the world opportunity without encountering any truly convincing opponents along the way. 

Hide was able to gird his waist with the WBO belt due to the relative inconsistency of champion Michael Bennt, who had annihilated Tommy Morrison with the classic Sunday blow, a milestone that elevated him in the eyes of the British press and public opinion to the rank of the great boxer.

However, reality soon set in: when he went to Las Vegas to defend his title against the very strong Riddick Bowe, Hide demonstrated the sensational limits of resistance to the blows, landing seven times in an authentic massacre after a good start. 

Hide was defeated by Vitali Klitschko again as champion, this time against an old Tony Tucker, and his dreams of glory were shattered. Outside of the ring, he has been arrested for a variety of crimes including bankruptcy, driving without insurance, assault, and drug dealing.

Jorge Luis Gonzalez


Gonzalez, a Cuban amateur who won 220 of his 233 fights, including victories over boxers like Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Teofilo Stevenson, and Tyrrell Biggs, left Cuba in 1991 to prove his worth in the pros. He changed coaches several times due to his unwillingness to accept advice and suggestions he didn't feel he needed. He entered the ring unbeaten and with a remarkable record of 22 KOs out of 23 victories.

To reveal the bluff once more, I believe it was Riddick Bowe who exacted revenge for his amateur defeat and the numerous provocations in which the Cuban had been the central figure on the eve of the match. Bowe dominated the entire six-round fight, dominating the length and breadth of the fight. Four defeats in the next six matches doomed the former Caribbean sensation's career, which was not lifted even by ephemeral victories over Alex Stewart and Greg Pag, both in their final stages.

Audley Harrison

Photo: skysports

Harrison, the first British boxer to win an Olympic gold medal in the super heavyweight division, drew a lot of attention at home. The boxer decided to self-promote and signed a million-pound deal with the BBC for the live broadcast of his first ten professional fights.

After 11 wins, Ring Magazine compared Harrison to Lennox Lewis, indicating him as the future ruler of the highs, and in November 2003, after 6 million viewers watched his debut at Wembley on TV. Two years later, when the Englishman lost two consecutive matches on points to Danny Williams and Dominick Guinn-mid-range boxers, the great hallucination vanished. 

Since then, the former Olympic champion has fought to the age of 41 in an attempt to resurrect his career, but has faced several hard knockouts with little success. Among them was the European title he won in 2010 after a dramatic KO at the end of a match that he was dominating against his compatriot Michael Sprott.

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