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RCM HISTORICAL BOXING
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Correspondent
Harry Greb has been gone for 86 years. Despite that, his name has survived the test of boxing time. Born Edward Henry Greb in 1894, died in 1926, the 32 year old middleweight Greb was a boxer of greatness who died before his time. Greb died, ironically, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a top boxing venue today, while undergoing surgery to repair damage to his nose and respiratory tract caused by several automobile accidents and during his ring career. Greb never woke up form the anesthesia and died in tragedy in an era where modern medical science was not yet perfected. Already blind in one eye and retired, Greb’s death still seemed senseless.
Greb’s career record was 106 wins, eight losses and three draws. His total bouts rises to 260 wins in 300 fights when you include newspaper decisions. Considered the greatest middleweight in ring history at 160 pounds, he won 34 or 37 professional bouts in 1917, still the all-time record of activity-and Greb was immaculately prepared for all of those bouts.
Rare Ring Footage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pf_P8ki-Y4
Greb won the world middleweight championship in August 1923 with a 15 round decision over Johnny Wilson at the Polo Grounds in New York City. He also held the American Light Heavyweight title, berating reigning World Light Heavyweight champion Battling Levinsky an incredible five times! The only man to have beaten future World Heavyweight champion Gene Tunney, Greb fought in seven middleweight world championship bouts in the years which followed, making his final appearance at Madison Square Garden in August 1926, losing a 15 rounder to southpaw Tiger Flowers in a world title rematch.
Not much of Greg’s personal life is known, but he is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Pittsburgh next to his 22 year old wife Mildred, who sadly predeceased him in 1923.
Greb was survived by a daughter, Dorothy, who as a full grown married woman named Wohlforth with a boy and girl of her own, accepted Harry’s Hallof Fame plaque.
Today’s top middleweights, such as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Sergio Gabriel Martinez, Gennady Golovkin, Kelly Pavlik, and Peter Quillin, and older school middleweights like Jake LaMotta, Iran Barkley, Thomas Hitman Hearns, Alan Minter, Vito Antuofermo, and Nino Benvenuti, probably would not have fared well against Greb, given his vast experience and knowledge in the middleweight division.
Emile Griffith might have gone the distance with Greb. Harry Greb against the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr. (in his prime), Rodrigo Valdez, Sugar Ray Leonard (in his prime), Hector Macho Camacho Sr. (in his prime), Stanley Ketchel, Les Darcy, Sugar Ray Robinson, Marcel Cerdan, Gerald McClellan, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Julian Jackson and Carlos Monzon would have been much better matchups as these were talented middleweight champions experienced in the art of defense, rapid hand speed, and give and take in power exchanges. Like his lonely forgotten tombstone, Harry Greb’s name has withstood the test of boxing time.