When Is Too Tall Not an Asset in Boxing?
By: Ken Hissner
There have been approximately eight men who were 7’0” or taller that put the gloves on in the professional ranks. Only one ever made it and that was the 7’0” former WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev, 50-2 (34), of Russia who retired in 2009.
There are two still active in Marselles “More Than A Conqueror” Brown, 33-18-1 (25), of Louisville, KY, who is 48 years old and has won his last six fights all in Mexico. He retired in 2008 and came back in 2014 with Roy Jones, Jr. training him. He won and lost in North Carolina and then moved his game to Mexico.
Among Brown’s losses to major opponents were Trevor Berbick, Tommy Morrison, Lamont Brewster, Derrick Jefferson. The Jefferson bout ended in the second round due to accidental clash of heads. He won his first eleven bouts by knockout with all but one in the first round.
The other is 7’0” Julius “Towering Inferno” Long, 18-20 (14), formerly out of Michigan now living in Auckland, NZ. He is promoted by Pacific Promotions Mark Eriksen, of Australia. He’s been in with Audley Harrison, Rob Calloway, Tye Fields, Samuel Peter, Odlainer Solis, Alexander Ustinov, Ray Austin, Mariusz Wach, Lucas Browne, Jonathan Banks and Kevin Johnson.
Long is scheduled on May 7th in Australia to fight 41 year old Solomon Haumono, 24-3-2 (21), of Australia in a defense of his the interim WBA Oceania title. He won it in his last bout defeating Bowie Tupou, 26-4, in Australia. He’s been 3-3 since moving to Auckland in 2013.
Others over 7’0” who have tried boxing are “Big” John Rankin, 1-0, of New Orleans, La., at 7’4”, and Ewart Potgieter, 11-2-1, RSA, at 7’2”, who won his first nine bouts by knockout. He came to the US in 1957 and had four fights in four months going 2-2 before retiring.
Thomas Payne, 2-2, of Napa, CA, at 7’2” had all four bouts ending in knockout from 1984-85. He played for the U of Kentucky and the Atlanta Hawks. He will probably spend the rest of his life in prison. Gil Anderson, 2-0 (2), of Richmond, CA, had both fights in 1954, and was 7’0”. Another was Gogea “Giant of Marsani” Mitu, 2-0-1 (2), from Marsani, Romania, at 7’4” who fought in 1935-36.
Remember Ed “Too Tall” Jones, 6-0 (5) at 6’10”, fought in 1979 and 1980? He was a former Dallas Cowboy. He was a high school basketball All-American who chose football when he went to Tennessee State. He had to come off the canvas in his first bout but went onto win the 6 rounder.
Manute Bol, at 7’6” had a celebrity boxing exhibition with professional football player William “Refrigerator” Perry, in 2002 on the Fox Network. He did quite well keeping Perry from doing anything.
Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain at 7’1” was rumored to fight champions Floyd Patterson and Muhammad Ali but never did. Ali went up to him and whispered in his ear “timber” and that was the last time Chamberlain considered boxing.