Monday, 26 November 2012 04:00

Bennie Briscoe: Tough Enough to be Named "Bad"

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There are certain boxers from my past who, in retrospect, would be champions today.
One such boxer was tough enough to be nicknamed " Bad."

He was Bennie Briscoe (66-24-5-1NC, 53 KO) from Philadelphia and brother you'd better believe he was just that, " Bad."

He was probably the most feared middleweight of his era and it was a tough time just be a middleweight in Philly. If you were bad there, you were bad everywhere.

Briscoe turned pro in 1962 and would win his first fifteen contests. Among his victims were Charley Scott and Percy Manning.
In his return with Manning in 1965, Bennie would suffer his first setback, dropping a decision to man he would eventually face two more times. Later that year, he would also lose to Tito Marshall and Stanley " Kitten " Hayward.

But the tide would soon shift for Briscoe. In 1966 Bennie would halt the highly respected George Benton as the latter did not answer the bell for the 10th round. After his stoppage of Benton, Briscoe was considered by many to be among the middleweight elite.

However, the following year he'd drop two decisions to the great Luis Rodriguez. Sandwiched in between those losses was a draw in Argentina with a fella named Carlos Monzon - a fighter who would eventually become an all-time great. After the bout, Bennie said getting a draw in Argentina is getting a victory in the United States.

In 1968, Benton lost to future light heavyweight titleholder Vincente Rondon but would capture his revenge the following year by knocking out Rondon in their rematch.

In 1970, Bennie began to make his march to a shot at the world's middleweight title. He won eleven straight fights until he was upset by Luis Vinales in 1972. However, he would stop Vinales in a return match. 

Carlos Monzon, left, and Bennie Briscoe share a light moment at their weigh-in


And finally in November 1972, he would meet the reigning middleweight champion of the world, Carlos Monzon. And again, the bout would take place in Monzon's native Argentina. But this time, Carlos clearly deserved the decision. However, the middleweight champion and future all-time great was rocked to his heels by Bennie in the ninth round of that fight.

Monzon would always have a great respect for Briscoe.

Bennie would regroup in 1973. He destroyed Art Hernandez in three rounds and stopped Billy " Dynamite " Douglas of Columbus, Ohio in eight. Billy's son, Buster, would shock the world in 1990 by knocking Mike Tyson in what is considered the greatest upset in boxing history to date.

Bennie closed the year by losing a decision to Rodrigo Valdez.

The fighting middleweight from Philadelphia would put himself right back into the thick of the title picture in 1974 after taking out the dangerous and streaking Tony Mundine of Australia.

Bennie Briscoe, left, exchanges artillery fire with top-level middleweight Tony Mundine

Briscoe v tony mundine

Three months later he would again meet Valdez again for the WBC version of the title that had been taken away from Monzon. However, in a stunning display of punching power the vastly underrated Valdez sent Bennie down and out in round seven.

Five months later Briscoe came back only to lose again, this time via a decision to all time great Emile Griffith.

Following the Griffin lose, Briscoe would go undefeated in his next thirteen bouts, winning nine bouts and drawing four times. During the unbeaten streak, he would beat Eddie Gregory ( a.k.a. Eddie Mustafa Muhammad ). He also draw with the dangerous Eugene " Cyclone " Hart before blasting Hart in one round in their rematch. And Bennie would gain some redemption with Emile Griffith fighting him to a draw in July 1976.

In 1977 after Carlos Monzon had officially retired, Bennie was again matched with Rodrigo Valdez for vacant title. And again Rodrigo had Bennie's number, winning a very close decision over the Philadelphia veteran.

In February 1978, Griffin would drop a decision loss to future champion Vito Antuofermo and his career would tumble into a downward spiral. The once-proud, elite middleweight would lose nine of his last seventeen fights, including a verdict to future champion and eventual all-time great Marvelous Marvin Hagler.


Briscoe, now in his late 30's, had become a proud gatekeeper at this stage of his career and any middleweight who dreamed of becoming the champion had to go through him first. He had become a stepping stone for young, talented fighters like Vinnie Curto.

After his 1982 loss to Jimmy Sykes at the famous Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, hometown boy Bennie Briscoe decided to hang up the gloves.

Bennie Briscoe left a legacy of 96 fights against many of the toughest welterweights and middleweights of his day. He won 66 fights and an amazing 53 of those by knockout.

And unbelievably, he was stopped only once in his career.

George Benton, Carlos Monzon (twice), Rodrigo Valdez (three times), Tony Mundine, Emile Griffith (twice), Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Eugene "Cyclone" Hart, Luis Manuel Rodriguez (twice), Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Vito Antuofermo... His opponents read like a literal 'Who's Who' of boxing in that era.

In 2003, he was named to the The RING's list of 100 Greatest Punchers of All Time.

Briscoe died December 28, 2010 at 67.

If ever a fighter who was never crowned a " world champion " deserved to be elected in to the Hall of Fame, it is 'Bad' Bennie Briscoe.